Anytime someone says the word apprentice, we picture the Colonial times and years of learning to blacksmith or cobble shoes in some quaint office on a tiny street in England.
But in New England in 2009, one firm is tossing around the idea of apprenticeships for first year attorneys.
John Snellings, hiring partner for Nixon Peabody in Boston, told the Boston Business Journal that the firm is starting to look at alternatives to their hiring process and programs for young lawyers. “We are starting to look at alternatives, including what an apprenticeship would look like. If a young lawyer can’t work on a matter because their rates are too high — how do we get them the training they need?” Snellings said.
Snellings also mentioned the possibility of a “centre of excellence” where all the firm’s first-years would be trained together until they were ready to “‘graduate’ to a larger market.”
The conversation with Snellings was in the context of the environment of deferred first years, cancelled or reduced summer programs and fewer offers to summer associates. The current recruitment system is “antiquated” and makes neither economic nor business sense.
Snellings comments can be added to the long line of musings about where legal recruitment and firm size and billing methods are going – natural topics of discussion following such a massive downtown.
More lawyer training is never a bad thing (besides of course the fact that it can be super-boring), but we have our doubts many firms would go for paying associates that are not actively billing. It may make more sense to cut the billing rates of first years, rather than reduce the number of hours actually billed to the client, as most firms do.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.