Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Change is here: BigLaw slashes salaries and offers new associates "apprenticeships" to supplement inadequate law school training

This is a very positive and inevitable move.  You don't really need to be Peter Lynch to know that paying new law grads $160K to start is not a sustainable business model.  In light of that, Washington D.C.'s Howrey has decided to significantly cut the pay of new associates to $100K and will place them in an "apprenticeship program" for their first two years at the firm.

As the firm memo, obtained by Above the Law, states:

Participants in Howrey's Tier 1 Program will spend only one-third of their time during the first year on client billable work to permit them to devote the remainder of their time to pro bono representations and a wide range of training programs, including the firm's signature professional development experience - the Howrey Academies. In Year One, associates will work with Howrey's full-time, in-house writing instructor, be assigned to trial teams, and take advantage of other programs offered by Howrey's award-winning professional development team. They will dedicate approximately one-third of their time to pro bono and public interest matters, which will afford them the opportunity to develop the advocacy skills and in court experience that are central to Howrey's practice. The emphasis on training will continue into Year Two, with client secondments, judicial externships, and other advanced development opportunities added to the curriculum. Billable hours in the second year will be capped at roughly half of total hours.

Read the rest of ATL's coverage of this groundbreaking story here.

ABA and law deans take note:  The market is demanding, nay, issuing a blood-curdling scream, that employers must supplement the skills training of new grads because law schools aren't presently doing an adequate job.  

Legal writing profs - opportunity is knocking. 

I am the scholarship dude.


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