Law Firms

Cooley reportedly pushes back start date for incoming associates; are summer programs at risk?

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Cooley has pushed back its start date for new associates from November 2023 to January 2024, according to reports by Bloomberg Law and that rely on anonymous sources.

Cooley declined to comment to Bloomberg Law and A spokesperson did not respond to the ABA Journal’s request for confirmation of the reports.

Deferred start dates are also a possibility at Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, which announced earlier this month that it is laying off 10% of its lawyers, paralegals and staff members in its U.S. offices.

Cooley also announced a round of layoffs at the end of November 2022. At that time, the law firm laid off 78 lawyers and 72 paralegals and business professionals.

Cooley and Gunderson Dettmer have roots in the Silicon Valley. Legal recruiters who spoke with Bloomberg Law and were split on whether deferred start dates would spread to other firms.

Howard Rosenberg, a partner at Baretz+Brunelle and head of talent and analytics, sees a different possibility—reconsideration of summer associate programs.

“There’s a tremendous churn rate at the junior ranks of law firms; that’s a really costly endeavor for firms,” Rosenberg told “You just don’t know who is going to succeed, and there’s a lot of money involved. For some firms, it would be more profitable to consider hiring second-year associates and not bothering with the summer process at all.”

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