The Talent

August 2, 2010 4:27 PM

Weil, Cleary Also Projecting Larger Summer Classes

Posted by Zach Lowe

We'll have to wait and see how offer rates shake out to judge how much worse it turned out for someone to graduate law school in, say, 2009 versus 2012, but we can say this for sure: The more we learn, the clearer it becomes that large law firms are going to increase summer class sizes a year from now.

Last week, we told you that Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Jones Day and others plan to recruit more summers for 2011 than they did for this summer. The 2011 class sizes at those firms won't reach the go-go levels of 2008 or 2007, but they will represent a major improvement from this summer.

The same will be true at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, according to sources familiar with plans at those firms. The bigger jump comes at Weil, which will double its summer class size from 40 this year to 75 or 80 in the U.S. a year from now, according to Naima Walker-Fierce, the firm's director of legal recruiting. Some perspective: Weil recruited 167 summers in the U.S. in 2009, so the firm, like others we've reported on, is creeping back up cautiously.

Cleary did not cut as much as some of its competitors in 2010. The firm typically hired about 95 summer associates for its New York office during boom years and trimmed that number to 75 this year, according to a source familiar with the matter. The firm plans to scale back up to 90 or 95 summers in 2011, the source tells us.

We'll keep reporting 2011 summer class sizes at (potentially) bellwether firms as we nail down the information. But so far the news is good, at least in comparison to last year, when Am Law 200 firms cut the size of their summer classes by an average of 44 percent, according to our data.


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