'Soft bounce' in entry level associate hiring, NALP reports

, The National Law Journal

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New figures show that offer rates to summer associates rose from the historic low of 69% in 2009 to 87% in 2010. That 18% increase puts offer rates back in the ballpark of the 90% offer rates of 2008, which was the last summer program season before the financial crisis hit in earnest.

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    I find this article to be misleading. You discuss how “offer rates to summer associates” have risen recently, which is good news for current law students. However, you fail to emphasize the major difference in class sizes at bigger firms which are part of the reason that the acceptance rates have gone up. It is much easier to hire 82% of your summer associates when you go from having 19 of them in 2009 to 6 of them in 2010. You also claim that the “median class size” was “hovering around six for the last decade” but this is not true for several of the largest firms. A quick search of the NALP Directory (http://nalpdirectory.com) in Los Angeles for 2009 and 2010 shows the following: - Kirkland: 18 SA’s (summer associates) in 2009, but only 6 in 2010. - O’Melveney: 25 SA’s in 2009, but only 13 in 2010. - Sidley: 19 SA’s in 2009, but only 6 in 2010. - Skadden: 27 SA’s in 2009, but only 8 in 2010. Considering numbers like these, simply stating “the overall size of summer programs remained smaller than usual in 2010” is an understatement.

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