Shearman Offers Associates $65K to Take the Year Off
Posted May 5, 2009 9:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Shearman & Sterling is offering its U.S. associates $65,000 plus the cost of medical insurance to take a year off.
Associates participating in the program are strongly encouraged to pursue pro bono or public interest activities, according to a law firm memo provided to the ABA Journal. Participation is subject to supervisor approval.
Above the Law broke the news.
“The partners of the firm view this program as an extraordinary opportunity to spend a year providing valuable public service or to pursue academic or other personal interests, and we encourage all associates to consider this opportunity,” the memo says.
The law firm says it will help place interested associates in volunteer positions it has developed with community associations, pro bono legal groups, not-for-profit groups, foundations and governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
The move follows a similar decision by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to pay associates a third of their base pay to take the year off. The Skadden offer will be more attractive to senior associates than Shearman’s program, according to Above the Law.
The New York Times recently profiled a sixth-year Skadden associate who planned to travel for a year with the help of $80,000 she received under the firm’s deferral program. Above the Law says Skadden also offers $1,000 a month for student loan repayment.
Shearman laid off 60 secretaries and administrative staffers in its U.S. offices in March and said it expected to lay off another 18 staffers overseas. The firm has not formally announced any associate layoffs.