Ooopsy! When They Said Deferred Associates Were Unhappy, They Meant Really Happy

business man mistake whoops

Two weeks ago, the New York City bar released results from a survey of deferred associates that were spending their year at public interest organisations.

The bad news? The responders were largely dissatisfied with how they had been integrated into their public interest offices.

The remainder of the survey results were fairly positive — the 47 deferred associates that responded, “89 per cent said the skills they developed would help them in their career…73 per cent said their interest in pro bono had increased [and] Nearly 92 per cent said they would recommend their placement to deferred associates in the future,” the New York Law Journal reported.

Still, up went the hands about how everyone knew how tough it would be to integrate BigLaw associates with public interest attorneys.

But, today, the bar sent out a big, “Ooopsy.” Turns out, they misread the survey results and have now retracted that, “Not Satisfied.”

Nate Raymond reported on the mix-up for the NYLJ:  The new version claims deferred associates “were largely happy with their placements,” a stark difference from the previous report, which suggested a “culture gap” had emerged between the law firm-bound lawyers and their public interest colleagues.

“We have learned of an error, for which we apologise, in the interpretation of one aspect of the online survey data in the report,” the city bar said in a statement. “We had reported that the deferred externs reported a lower satisfaction rating with regard to colleagues and integration into the workplace than was the case; in fact, the externs reported a high degree of satisfaction in their interactions with colleagues.”

So everybody’s happy!?! 

We think the real answer is, “Who knows?” The sample that responded to the survey is pretty small (around 140 total deferred associates joined public interest organisations), and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if public interest managers did not see a whole lot of incentive for spending a huge amount of time training someone who has a drop dead date for departure.

But hey, the results were generally positive and that’s a good thing. The best thing that could possibly come out of a really unfortunate 2009 is younger associates making a more serious commitment to pro bono long term. So here’s hoping, and it’s not like survey results will tell us that anyway. 


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