August 13, 2007
Bruce MacEwewn of the blog Adam Smith, Esq. http://www.bmacewen.com/blog/
"Associate Moneyball" comments on the American Lawyer's recent story on associate recruitment and hiring by the top law firms. Bruce focuses in on the traditional law firm recruitment model which often times falls short of helping acheive law firms' recruitment goals (as associate retention rates continue to rise) and leaves law students less than satisfied with their choices (among other things, law students have a hard time differentiating one firm from another). Below is an except from Bruce's blog:
"Is this any way to recruit associates?" asks a lead story in this month's American Lawyer.
What is "this way?" We all know the drill, most of us from both sides of the table:
* Top law schools orchestrate dances of 20-minute interviews between visiting firm partners and law students;
* questions are kept superficial (one Latham recruit got a steady diet of fantasy football questions);
* grades and class rank are presumed to be valid proxies for post-employment performance; and, in the event,
* of students offered summer jobs by "big" firms (> 250 lawyers):
o just 28% accept
o 40% of whom are gone by their 3rd year, and
o 62% of whom are gone by their 4th.
* And, according to NALP, half of associate departures are "unwanted" by the firms.
* Finally, depending on who you believe, replacing a needed associate costs from one to three times their fully loaded annual costs.
Worse, the pressure is intensifying. According to the National Law Journal's "250" report (ranking the largest 250 US firms by lawyer headcount), the number of associates at those firms has increased 76% over the past decade while the number of law school graduates has gone up just 7%. Firms are going to more law schools, reaching farther down into the class ranks, or both. And at the elite schools, firms are simply pushing harder. Georgetown Law, for example, anticipates a 10% increase in firm interviews this year, and the same again next year.
Need I add that most of this takes place with students fundamentally in the dark about what differentiates one firm from another?
"[Students] aren't helped much by firm marketing materials, which often say the same thing and make firms indistinguishable from each other. "They all tell you they have great clients, and they work hard but [have] a very collegial atmosphere," says the Stanford student. "It's the same discourse over and over again."
Fine. Diagnosis is one thing, prescription another.
To continue reading this blog entry, please visit Adam Smith, Esq. at http://www.bmacewen.com/blog/
Posted by hafeezt at August 13, 2007 11:43 AM