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Elite Law Firm Jobs Diminish, Job Seekers Concerned

A follow up on Skadden’s decision to slash the number of Summer 2010 hires, this time looking at the broader hiring landscape for the young, future lawyers of America. Read the whole article at The New York Times

Students Fret as Big Law Jobs Vanish

This fall, law students are competing for half as many openings at big firms as they were last year in what is shaping up to be the most wrenching job search season in over 50 years, The New York Times’s Gerry Shih reports.

For students now, the promise of the big law firm career — and its paychecks — is slipping through their fingers, forcing them to look at lesser firms in smaller markets as well as opportunities in government or with public interest groups, law school faculty and students say.

The frenzy has even pushed the nation’s top firms, a tradition-bound coterie, into discussing how to reform the recruitment process with an earnestness that would have been unthinkable just years ago.

Even if the economy is beginning to pick up, the legal profession has been pummeled over the last year, with some firms closing and survivors often asking associates to take leaves of absence.

How bad is it? Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the juggernaut of New York, has slashed its hiring by more than half. For the first time in 136 years, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, a respected Philadelphia firm, has canceled its recruiting entirely. Global firms like DLA Piper and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe have postponed recruiting for several months to see if the market improves.

At Yale, students accustomed to being wooed by Big Law’s glittering names — like Baker & McKenzie; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley, & McCloy; and White & Case — were stunned when those firms canceled interviews in New Haven this month.

New York University, Georgetown, Northwestern and other top universities confirm that interviews are down by a third to a half compared with a year ago, while lower-ranked schools are suffering more. What is more, when interviews finish in a few weeks, even fewer offers will be extended, said Howard L. Ellin, the chairman of global hiring at Skadden, Arps, because many firms are interviewing students for slots they may not fill.


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