'Precruiting' and 'exploding offers' create stress for law students seeking summer associate jobs
Last year, 23.3% of offers made to second-year law students for summer 2023 programs happened before the formal on-campus-interview process. Image from Shutterstock.
An increasing number of BigLaw firms are recruiting students for summer associate programs before the formal on-campus interviewing process, a practice dubbed “precruiting.”
Last year, 23.3% of offers made to second-year law students for summer 2023 programs happened before the formal on-campus-interview process, Law.com reports in stories here and here, citing information from the National Association for Law Placement.
The percentage is the highest reported in any survey by the NALP; the growing popularity is likely due to the NALP’s 2018 decision to drop timelines from its recruitment principles, according to Law.com.
Typically, law students begin seeking on-campus interview spots as they approach their second year of law school. But the precruiting process begins as early as February.
The largest law firms appear most enthusiastic about the practice. In 2022, 66% of firms with 501 or more lawyers engaged in precruiting, compared to 34% of firms overall.
Nikia Gray, executive director of the NALP, told Law.com that the growing trend is “bit of a FOMO effect,” referring to a “fear of missing out.”
“There are firms who believe they need to do this to get to the top talent so they’re not competing with other firms in OCI, and the more firms that do this to feel competitive, the more other firms join in,” she said.
The stress of participating in early interviews is all the worse because of “exploding offers,” Gray told Law.com. That happens when firms tell students that their offer will “explode” if they don’t make a decision before on-campus recruiting begins.
“It’s a pressure tactic,” Gray observed.
Hat tip to Above the Law.