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October 1, 2009 6:03 PM

Wildman Rescinds Offers to Ten New Associates

Posted by Francesca Heintz

Chicago-based Wildman Harrold had some bad news for some of its new lawyers Thursday, rescinding job offers to ten of the 14 associates it had hired from the class of 2009. 

The first-year class had already been deferred until March, but after assessing client needs it became clear that it needed to make some cutbacks, the firm says in a statement. Wildman will still pay the ten associates who lost their job offers a stipend until March. 

The firm also announced it had extended offers to only four of the 17 summer associates in this year's program, in keeping with its goal to create a smaller first-year class. 

Wildman says it will continue to recruit high-quality candidates from law schools. But over the past 18 months it has increasingly turned to staff and contract attorneys to do document review and research--tasks often reserved for first-year associates. The change provides a better cost structure for its clients, the firm says.

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This article fails to state that Wildman Harrold informed the 10 incoming associates their offers were rescinded on the exact same day the results of the Illinois Bar Exam were released. A day usually reserved for celebrating the great accomplishment of passing the bar exam quickly turned into disaster as many incoming associates found out they are now unemployed. Could Wildman's timing be any more classy?

This article shows that Wildman Harrold has proven to be a poorly managed firm that struggles to predict its own staffing needs and is unable to generate new business in a slumping economy. Their ship is sinking.

It really sucks for those incoming associates from outside Illinois who would never have taken the Illinois bar exam if they knew they were going to lose their job. It also really sucks for those incoming associates who already moved to Illinois in anticipation of starting at Wildman and who are now unemployed and stuck in one-year leases they can’t get out of. They don’t have the luxury of rescinding or revoking the leases they signed.

Unlike Arent Fox (http://abovethelaw.com/2009/09/incoming_associates_you_arent.php), who gave their incoming class $20,000 after rescinding their offers, Wildman Harrold is not providing any additional compensation to the associates whose offers were rescinded.

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