Saturday, August 13, 2011

Unraveling of law firm recruiting

The WSJ reports on the continuing unraveling of recruiting by large law firms, which reports how much of the critical hiring for positions beginning in September, 2013 is going on right now: Law Schools Push Recruiters

"Thousands of interviews for jobs at law firms are taking place now as top law schools, under mounting pressure to help indebted students snag jobs, increasingly push major law firms to recruit in August, months earlier than in previous years.
"Law firms follow an unusual tradition of recruiting the lawyers they eventually plan to hire two years in advance. For example, they are interviewing second-year law students now for summer associate positions that start in May or June 2012. At the end of the 2012 summer, the firms expect, they will then invite almost all the summer hires to work full-time as junior lawyers, likely starting in September 2013.
"By forcing the big firms to recruit in August, rather than as late as the end of October, as in previous years, law schools are hoping to give their students an edge in the competition. "There was a race to the front of the line by law schools," said Keith Wetmore, whose title is chair of Morrison & Foerster LLP, which is sending partners to 28 campuses this month to recruit students for its 2012 summer associate class.

"In 2000, for instance, seven law schools held their interviewing weeks in August. By 2009, the number had increased to more than 70, and this year, the figure will top 100, according to Mark Weber, assistant dean for career services at Harvard Law School.

"During the market crash of 2008, both Harvard and Yale law schools "went essentially last" in the recruiting season, with their interview weeks in September and October. "Their students did get hurt, and got fewer offers," said James G. Leipold, executive director of NALP. "Our students still had great jobs, but you do even better when you're at the beginning of the [recruiting] process than the end," Harvard's Mr. Weber said. A spokeswoman for Yale Law School said she couldn't comment.

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