Law Students

Law Firm Leaders: Why Hire Summers When Laid-Off Lawyers Are Available?

Two leaders of Ohio law firms that cut their summer associate programs next year explain their decision in part with this sad fact: There is a lot of unemployed talent to choose from, if the need arises.

The law firms—Roetzel & Andress and Brouse McDowell—are among four Ohio law firms that have eliminated 2010 summer programs because of the poor economy, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business (sub. req.). The others are Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and Thompson Hine.

Christopher Carney, chairman of the hiring committee at Brouse McDowell, told Crain’s that the firm is trying to be flexible, and doesn’t intend to permanently end its summer associate program. Brouse McDowell has more than 70 lawyers working in Cleveland and Akron.

But he notes that the firm has lots of options if it needs to hire additional lawyers. “There’s a huge pool of legal talent out there,” Carney told the publication. “We didn’t see the need at this point for entry-level lawyers in 2011. That may change.”

John Coyne, partner in charge of Ohio and Washington, D.C., associates for Roetzel & Andress, told Crain’s his firm doesn’t want to give law students false hopes by hiring them as summer associates when the firm isn’t likely to ask them to stay. When the economy improves, he said, the firm will start up the program again.

He added that with so many associates on the market, the firm can choose from experienced lawyers. Roetzel & Andress has 220 lawyers in 11 offices in Ohio, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, a law firm that is continuing its summer program, albeit with fewer slots, is seeing a lot of interest. James Dougherty, Cleveland hiring partner for Jones Day, says this year on-campus interviews are “kind of a circus.”

“We’ve had wait lists at [University of California, Los Angeles] and [University of Southern California]. At Yale, there were over 40 people on the wait-list schedule alone,” he told the publication.

Related coverage: “For One Law Firm, Canceled Summer Associate Program Is Old News” “Law Firms Delay Decisions on Job Offers to Summer Associates” “A ‘Lost Year’ for 2Ls: About Half of BigLaw Jobs Are Gone” “Shrinking BigLaw Summer Programs Down By As Much As 50%”

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