Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NALP reports that entry level hiring at law firms is flat

More specifically, on-campus recruiting by law firms hasn't shown much growth since the Great Recession began several years ago.  And on-campus recruiting this past fall remained flat compared to the year before.  Click on the link for a summary of the NALP's just released Perspectives on Fall 2012 Law Student Recruiting or you can download a pdf copy here.  The following is an excerpt from the press release:

For the fourth year in a row, law firms continued to exercise limited entry-level hiring. The legal sector saw a very small net gain in overall jobs in 2012, and overall lawyer headcount remains far off of pre-recession highs. Against that background, recruiting volumes by U.S. law firms on the campuses of U.S. law schools were mostly flat during the late summer and early fall of 2012 compared with recruiting activity the year before. These are among the key findings reported in NALP’s just-released Perspectives on Fall 2012 Law Student Recruiting, an annual report based on NALP surveys on selected aspects of fall recruitment activity and the experiences of both legal employers and law schools.

As reported by both law schools and law firms surveyed by NALP, there were pockets of growth and pockets of declining volumes, with a majority of stakeholders reporting no change from the previous year. There were variations by region and by city, but overall law firms continued to exhibit caution in recruiting new associates. Over the last three years law firms have certainly increased their entry-level hiring activity compared with the crash in entry-level hiring reflected by the data from 2008 and 2009. Rather than exhibiting the slow and steady recovery that might be hoped for, however, some firms seemed to put the brakes on in 2012, and both the median and average number of offers made to 2Ls (members of the Class of 2014) for summer associate positions in 2013 fell, as did the percent of interviews resulting in offers, after two years of gains that followed 2009 nadirs.

Law firms continue to bring in small summer classes, with median and average class size barely increasing from recession-era lows. Offer rates coming out of summer programs remained high, but fell by more than a point from the previous summer, and, perhaps not surprisingly, acceptance rates for those offers set another record for an historic high. For the fourth year in a row, few firms ventured back into the 3L market, and thus, students with offers from their summer program found few competing offers on the table.



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