Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Unraveling of the second year summer associate market: derailed on the fast track

The meltdown of the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf has consequences for the lawyers they hired years in advance. Here's a story about the students who accepted summer internships a year ago...

For Law Students, Dewey & LeBoeuf Internships Evaporate

"[last week]...about 30 students learned that their plum summer jobs at Dewey & LeBoeuf had vanished. 

[These students] "had expected to walk out of their final exams this week and into a summer position promised back in the fall. Like summer associate jobs at most white-shoe law firms, they would have earned around $3,000 a week, plus free meals, field trips and other goodies. It would be a cushy, two-month courtship that virtually guaranteed equally lucrative employment with Dewey after graduation.

"But now those jobs are gone, and just about every comparable opportunity was booked nearly a year ago.

"The legal industry has an unusually synchronized and suffocatingly compressed hiring schedule. Most big law firms do not have rolling applications for their summer slots. Instead, they interview students during the same two-week period right as their second year of law school begins. At that point students have received only two semesters of grades, but those grades will determine where they work the next summer — and often, for the rest of their lives. That is because firms offer permanent, postgraduation jobs to just about every summer associate, for fear of looking like their business has suddenly dropped off if they do not.

"With Dewey’s announcement, these students’ careful, fastidiously risk-averse career planning collapsed under them, and they fell off the job track not just for Dewey but for its peer firms. Of the dozens of major firms contacted for this article, only one had picked up one of these stranded summer associates, and that was because one of its partners had a personal connection to the student.

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