If You Are Deferred And In The Class Of 2010, Ready Your Resume


The Class of 2009 was basically the lost class…start dates pushed off, and then pushed off again, many who will not grace the doors of their BigLaw offices until fall of 2010, and some who just won’t grace them at all.

And it isn’t looking up all that much for many in the Class of 2010. Ropes & grey and Cahill are giving January 2011 as most the most likely start dates. Others fall everywhere along the timeline. Some are on schedule — Cleary is business as usual with the students’ choosing fall or January and S&C, Paul Weiss, Cadwalader, Latham and Jones Day are among those on time for fall. Milbank’s at January 2011 and then there’s Orrick with January 2012.

What does this all mean? We’ve seen plenty of firms’ 2009 financials now, and the general summary is that while revenue was down a bit for some, flat for most, and up for a few, profits per partner were up almost everywhere. So, first, we know who the priority is — though it’s a business and we knew that anyway.

But it also means that at the end of the summer of 2009, firms gave offers to people when they had no idea if they would need them or not. And now that it’s getting close, they are hedging their bets and pushing them off, some for as much as a year.

A January start date is not all that much of a hassle, in the grand scheme. Loans can be deferred and one can muddle through 4-and-a-half post-Bar months. But a year? Which, for the would-be associate, basically means a year of worry they’ll end up like the Chadbourne 11?

For the class of 2010 that just became the class of 2011, it’s a tough call — it’s of course better to have a chance at a BigLaw job in 2012 than no job at all. But sadly those associates with a year deferral would be well-advised to send their resumes around.

Loyalty is great, but only if it goes both ways. And firms on both sides of the coin — those looking to hire and those with recent grads on a one-year leash — should respect that.

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