Race to the Front of the Line Starts Early for Prospective Summer Associates

Law schools are trying to give students an edge in the hunt for Summer Associate positions for next year by starting the recruiting process earlier.   Interviews that were traditionally held in September and October are now occurring in August at many Law Schools, according to the Wall Street Journal.   With hiring down and the number of available graduates increasing, law schools are pushing top law firms to recruit in August rather than wait until fall. 

Only one-quarter of 2010 law school grads secured positions with big law firms, down from 33% in 2009.  That number peaked in 2007 before the financial crisis, statistics from the National Association of Law Placement

The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 100 large law firms will recruit summer associates at Harvard Law School in August, an increase from the 70 firms that started early law year and a dramatic change over the seven that recruited early in 2000. The earlier recruiting trend escalated during the market crash in 2008 when some law schools decided that an early jump on interviewing would benefit their students' prospects.

Some firms will increase the summer associate class sizes for 2012, a positive sign after years of reduced hiring.  The Journal notes that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP plans to increase summer associate hiring by 66% over last year while Bingham McCutchen LLP hopes to boost its 2012 summer associate class by 29%.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal

National Association of Law Placement