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July 14, 2009 4:54 PM

Morgan Lewis Eliminates 2010 Summer Associate Program

Posted by Rachel Breitman

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, one of the first firms to announce deferrals for its 2009 first-year associate class, once again is taking the lead in associate matters. The firm announced Tuesday that it has canceled next year's summer associate program. The news comes two months after the firm informed the current crop of summer associates that start dates for those offered permanent jobs would be pushed into the fall of 2011.

The move is a change of plans from just a couple of months ago. In late April, Morgan Lewis said it was set to recruit a new summer class for 2010. "We are fully committed to having a presence at the law school campuses, but expect next summer's program to be smaller than it has been in the past," hiring partner Eric Kraeutler told The Am Law Daily. "We are going to maintain the same recruiting schedules that we set months ago at the same law schools."

Law schools were informed today that Morgan Lewis will not be participating in this year's recruiting efforts via a letter sent by Kraeutler.

"Morgan Lewis has decided that we will not conduct any on-campus interviewing during the fall of 2009 and that we will not have a 2010 Summer Associate Program," Kraeutler wrote. "Any hiring that we do this fall for a 2010 Summer Associate Program would reduce the number of offers we would be able to extend to our 2009 Summer Associates." (The firm released the letter, along with its statement about the canceled program.)

Firm chairman Francis Milone addressed attorneys and staff via videoconference to inform them of the change of plans. Milone also detailed other cost-cutting measures, including a decision to eliminate lockstep compensation in favor of a performance-based system. Additionally, the firm has told current summer associates that they will have the chance to do subsidized public interest work for a year before starting at the firm.

Summer associates at one other firm (as far as we know) also received some less than optimistic news Tuesday. Hogan & Hartson told its current class that it will defer start dates for those receiving job offers until 2011. The news first was reported on the blog Above The Law. The firm confirmed in a statement to The Am Law Daily that it has pushed back start dates in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., but will assess the start dates for its other offices on a case-by-case basis. Hogan did not say whether stipends for nonprofit work would be available for these deferred associates. 

A handful of other firms have deferred the start date for the class of 2010, including Ropes & Gray, which will have first-years start in 2011, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which last week told its 2010 first-year class that they will start in January 2012.

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