Monday, March 30, 2009


What do I think about taking a stipend offered to incoming first years or trying to start earlier?  I say if no one is reaching out to you to say ("join us, we need you, etc"), I don't have a problem with your taking the stipend - assuming you can live on this.  I think I saw one for like 75,000 to take a year doing, say public interest work or the like.  If you are single, I think you can live on that for sure.  I'd say take the stipend and find something interesting to do.  Clerkship (even state court), public interest, governmental, etc.  Something to add to your resume and perhaps better than showing up at firm where you may not have much to do (assuming you have that option to show up. And when else is someone going to pay you NOT to work for them?  

Some people may receive calls or emails from department heads, firm management etc, indicating they are needed and wanted in their practice groups. In that case, of course show up.

If you are a summer this year and your firm has already delayed start dates, you ask what does that mean?  Well, as I said before, firms are going to be VERY careful about giving offers.  Firms did overhire (not all but some) because many engaged in standard recruiting and didn't quite determine how dire things were till the end of 08. As such the classes coming into summer are larger than if they were doing the hiring now.  Will there be further push back of start dates?  Well that is unclear - after all, this is all new - really, unprecedented.  The formerly fall 09 people are now winter 2010.  So, do I think firms will be ready to absorb fall 2010 people?  If the economy stays slow, probably not.  I think firms will be very tight with the offers this summer and are going to watch to see how things go.  

Someone asked whether they should go ahead with on campus recruiting even after summer 09 and if they have an offer. I don't see anything so wrong about that.  I think firms will understand that people may need to see what is out there.  They are not loyal, so why should you be.  Try to be discreet.  Remember, you need to look out for yourself.  


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your input about how delayed start dates may impact SAs. I greatly look forward to you post about what distinguishes outstanding SAs in the coming weeks.

Anonymous said...

Um, I should hope single people can live on on a whole lot less than $75,000 a year, since US per capita GDP (during the boom, no less) is $45,800 and median household income is $44,400 for a family of more than 2.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:15pm, it depends on where you live - New York City is very expensive, although I lived for a year in 2006 on a clerk's salary which for SDNY at the time was $54k.

Hiring partner - good suggestions for what to do, although I question whether a judge would allow someone with an offer to accept a clerkship (and many judges may already be done hiring anyway). Same goes for the government (and query whether the government would want to hire you if you disclose that you'll definitely only be there for a year, which I think in good conscience you would have to do).

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:15, you're also forgetting that many law school graduates have roughly $150,000 of debt, which means that they'll be paying roughly $1500 - $2000 a month on the minimum loan payment.

Hiring Partner - thank you for your sage advice over the last few months. I'm a second year who is still employed, and so can keep paying down my loans, in part because of your thoughts.