Law Firms

Most law firms will shorten their summer programs and switch to virtual format, NALP study says

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While the vast majority of law firms still plan to offer a summer program this year, almost two-thirds will shorten those programs between five to six weeks, and more than half will transition them to an entirely virtual format, according to a National Association for Law Placement study released Thursday.

The study, which was conducted in May to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on legal employers, law schools and law students in the United States, also found that of the 86% of law firms that will host their summer programs, 40% hope to offer a combination of in-person and virtual activities.

A press release is here, and the American Lawyer has coverage.

NALP also asked law firms how many hours per week summer associates will work during the remote portions of their programs. Nearly half have not decided, but of those that have, three-quarters say their summer associates will work 31 to 40 hours per week remotely.

Of the law firms that intend to cancel their summer programs, 86% told NALP that they extended offers to at least some of the 2Ls who planned to work at their office during the summer and return after graduation to work full time.

“But as many 2020 law school graduates have had their full-time associate start date pushed back until at least January 2021, it remains to be seen when the majority of the graduates in 2021 will start full-time work,” according to the American Lawyer.

Additionally, NALP reports, 11% of law firms said they implemented furloughs or layoffs for some of their recruiting, professional development or diversity and inclusion staff.

In addition to 391 law offices, 155 law schools responded to the NALP study, which asked them about on-campus interviewing. While about half set 2L on-campus interview dates for recruiting the class of 2022 for summer 2021 programs, 85% have changed those dates.

They were scheduled to start in July or August, but 71% will now begin in January 2021 and 21% will begin in February 2021.

NALP intends to send out a second round of surveys in the coming weeks.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Firms mull postponements, cancellations and telecommuting for summer associate programs”

ABA Journal: “Some law firms delay start of summer associate programs because of novel coronavirus”

ABA Journal: “NALP report shows historically high offer rate for summer associates; what’s to come?”

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