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March 3, 2010 12:38 PM

The NALP Numbers: Yikes.

Posted by Zach Lowe

It's certainly not news that 2Ls had more trouble securing summer associate spots for the upcoming summer or that 3Ls who summered in 2009 were less likely to receive a full-time job offer from their summer firm. But to see the National Association for Law Placement's statistical report on summer and job offers is to be reminded, in stark terms, of how much has changed in the Am Law world over the last 24 months. 

It's hard to choose the headline stat from this write-up on the NALP report, released Tuesday, from our colleagues at The National Law Journal. We'll go with this excerpt from the NLJ on job offer rates for the current 3L class: "Offer rates to students who had completed a summer program in 2009 fell from 90 percent in 2008 to 69 percent last year--the lowest offer rate since NALP began tracking those data in 1993." And forget any hiring of 3Ls beyond those offers to summers; only ten of 300 firms surveyed made offers to 3Ls in 2009, the NLJ reports. 

Of course, offers to current 2Ls seeking summer positions this year are also way down, especially at the largest firms, according to the NALP report and the NLJ. The median number of summer spots offered at U.S. law firms is now less than half of what it was two years ago (seven, down from 15), and the drop was biggest among firms with at least 700 lawyers, the NLJ says. The median number of extended offers among those firms for summer 2008 was 30; that median is now down to eight offers, which reflects the fact that some firms canceled their summer programs for 2010 altogether and come up as a zero in this survey. 

We'll give James Leipold, NALP's executive director, the last word: "This represents an enormous interruption in the usual recruiting and employment patterns that we have come to expect. I don't think anyone expects recruiting volumes to pick up significantly during 2010, though the worst does seem, we hope, to be behind us."

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