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A ‘Lost Year’ for 2Ls: About Half of BigLaw Jobs Are Gone

Posted Aug 26, 2009 9:46 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The timing couldn’t be worse for second-year law students.

Large law firms are hiring about half as many summer associates as usual, resulting in “the most wrenching job search season in over 50 years,” the New York Times reports. For many second-year law students, the “golden ticket” to a high-paying career at a big firm is slipping away. Now these students are scrambling for other jobs at smaller firms, in government and in public-interest organizations.

Students who took out large loans to go to top-tier schools assumed they could pay off their debt with high-paying law firm jobs. But this year is different, says Irene Dorzback, the assistant dean for career services at New York University law school.

“People are now accepting this notion of a lost year,” she told the Times.

The newspaper includes this evidence of the declining job market:

• Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has cut the size of its 2010 summer program by more than half.

• Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has canceled its summer program and all on-campus recruiting.

• DLA Piper and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe have postponed recruiting.

• Law firms opting against interviews at Yale include Baker & McKenzie; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley, & McCloy; and White & Case.

• Law firm interviews are down by a third or a half at New York University, Georgetown, Northwestern and other top law schools. It’s even worse at lower-ranked schools.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "News Flash to Law Students: If You Get a Summer Job Offer, Accept Now!"

Updated on Sept. 2 to reflect New York Times correction the law firms opted not to interview at Yale, rather than canceling interviews there. Hat tip to Above the Law.

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