The Harvard 3L who penned an anonymous article about her non-BigLaw offer woes is far from being alone in the ranks of the unemployed.
In 2008, 89.9% of summer associates received a permanent offer at the end of the summer. That number tanked in 2009, down to 69.3%, according to statistics released by NALP and analysed by Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal.
Those numbers confirm the feeling that a) getting a permanent job once you had a summer position used to be a foregone conclusion and b) that it has never been this terrible before — 69% is the lowest offer rate since NALP began collecting the data in 1993.
What happened to those who did not get permanent offers? Nothing good — only 10 of the 300 firms NALP surveyed gave offers to 3Ls.
And if it was bad for those who got a summer associate position, it was also terrible for those trying to just get their foot in the door — only 36% of interviewed ended up with summer offers (down from 47% in 2008 and 60% in 2007) and the median number of offers for 2010 summer slots was 7 (down from 10 in 2008 and 15 in 2007).
NALP Executive Director Jim Leipold reminded the NLJ that many of those 2009 grads who did get permanent offers are still in limbo. “For the class of 2009, the largest impact was the deferral phenomenon,” Leipold said. “By now, some of those who were deferred have actually started to work, but others remain deferred at this time.”
We all hope the worst is over, but it’s likely it will take the industry a year or more to right itself — those associates in the class of 2009 who are still in a deferral year will mean a back up of “first years” that will continue to skew firm hiring.
Anecdotally everyone knew it was bad, but the cold, hard, numerical facts prove that 2009 is one law students would prefer to forget. But with everyone is touting the strong return of M&A deals in 2010, let’s hope firms get so busy they go back to the days of just needing bodies.
Because it seems like there are a lot of bodies ready to throw themselves into the mix.
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