Jones Day Is Still Really Angry About Proposed NALP Guidelines

Risk is scary!

Jones Day already made clear how unfair it though the proposed NALP guidelines requiring firms to wait until a date-certain in January to offer summer associates-ships.

The guidelines will just punish firms that did not lay off an associate and, basically, planned better for their own workloads.

Well, Jones Day is not going quietly on this one, and now has a sent a 7-page “comment” to NALP, available on its website, which attacks the “necessity, propriety and legality” of the recommendations.

Jones Day is not holding back in criticising those firms that might support the guidelines:

More to the point, the fact that some law firms may perceive — at this time, after a period of economic recession — a significant benefit from delaying offers is not justification for requiring that all firms agree to a delayed schedule. Many of the firms that will support these recommendations will do so because their recent actions in response to the economy — laying off scores of recent law school graduates and staff, rescinding offers of employment, deferring start dates by several months or even years, and cutting back of eliminated summer programs (footnote omitted) — have damaged their reputations among law student and law schools and impaired their ability to recruit effectively under the historical on-campus interviewing framework. The Offer Kick-Off Day approach is plainly an effort to level the playing field between firms that are prepared to move earlier on employment offers and those that would prefer to wait. The elimination of that competition is not an appropriate goal of NALP and its members.

The firm then goes into its antitrust argument, stating that the guidelines would “regulate and restrict competition” by the imposition of common rules and a common schedule, with the net effect to interfere with competing entities of different calibre, strength and reputation.

That might be true, but it also seems like law schools and firms act under quite a common schedule now, (not to mention that they all pay the exact same thing), so we doubt antitrust concerns is really why this thing will go down, if it does.

We do not really see the big deal on this one — there are pros, there are cons, but whichever way would end up with  law students securing jobs that seem more solid (and not just solid during summer associate period, but also two years from that date) is the way NALP should suggest firms go. We stress suggest — there is no true enforcement mechanism here, besides the individual schools enforcing or not enforcing them.

A true threat, sure, but would a school really keep out multiple employers over NALP guidelines?

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