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July 30, 2010 6:00 AM

Signs Of Hope for Summer 2011?

Posted by Zach Lowe

On-campus interviewing starts in two weeks at some schools, and early indications are that hiring at premier law firms will jump--in some cases by a lot--after plummeting this summer, according to sources at law schools and firms. 

Let's start with a couple of the bellwether firms. Cravath, Swaine & Moore will increase its summer class size from 23 now to about 75 next summer, according to three sources familiar with the matter. (Cravath hiring partners declined to comment.) Cravath shocked the market when it cut its summer class size from 123 in 2009 to just 23 summers working at the firm now. A jump to 75 doesn't restore the cuts, but it's something. 

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom sowed a bit of panic when it announced plans to cut its summer class size from about 225 in 2009 to just 79 this year--a 65 percent drop that turned out to be closer to the Am Law 200 average (44 percent) than anyone would have believed before September 2008. Skadden is looking to boost that number back to about 100--and maybe a bit more--according to a source familiar with the firm's plans. That's a modest jump, but modest jumps are what pass for good news these days. 

Ropes & Gray will also come in somewhere between its 2009 number (200) and the size of its current summer crop (82), according to Helen Long, who heads up recruiting at the firm. A triple-digit number is likely, Long tells us. Jones Day will "probably" recruit more than the 124 summer associates finishing up at the firm now, and the number won't slip below 124, says Gregory Shumaker, the firm's recruiting chair. The number of summers at Proskauer Rose will hold steady, according to a source at the firm. 

We'll update you as more firms get a sense of their numbers. 

 

Contact the author at zlowe@alm.com.

 

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any updates on other firms?

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