Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 Law Grads Have Start Dates Postponed

The Chicago Tribune is publishing that more big law firms have postponed the start dates for first-year associates.  Ameet Sachdev reported as follows:
"Seyfarth Shaw said Friday that it has again postponed start dates for some of its first-year associates. The 2009 class of 16 lawyers originally had starts dates pushed back to January 2010. Now half of them won't start until October.

Those facing a longer wait will receive a monthly $2,000 stipend. But that might not be enough to cover rent in a Lincoln Park apartment.

Those who do get to start in January will share some financial pain. Seyfarth said it is reducing first-year associate salaries by 5 to 10 percent.

Like other big law firms who have cut associate salaries and postponed start dates, Seyfarth said the economy has put pressure on legal costs and demand for services.

Here's the firm's statement:

"We are continuing to manage our staffing levels in light of anticipated client demand and market conditions. As a result, we have decided to postpone start dates for 8 of 16 first-year associates who were scheduled to start in January 2010. We have rescheduled their start dates until October 2010 to ensure we are staffed appropriately to meet clients’ anticipated needs. Given the timing of this notification, we are providing each of these people with a $2,000 monthly stipend until October to offset any disruption this may cause. We are telling them that, as conditions improve, we hope to call them to start earlier.

We also have decided to reduce the base salary levels by approximately 5-10% for all the first-year associates joining us in 2010. While we see bright spots ahead in the economy for 2010, we also believe that economic conditions will continue to put pressure on our clients, including the costs of legal services, and we need to address those issues."

Above the Lawfirst reported the Seyfarth news. The blog had reported earlier this month that Winston & Strawn had also adjusted start dates for first-year associates.

If you're a member of the Class of 2010 who was lucky to receive a job offer from a big firm, it's pretty safe to say you'll have plenty of free time before you start your careers."

Warmest Regards,

Bob Schaller

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