Summer associate hiring down last year amid sluggish legal market

Alas, it looks like 2012 was not the best year for law firm summer associate hirings.

The median and average numbers of summer associate offers to 2Ls dipped a little bit according to NALP (formerly the National Association for Law Placement). Also down: the percentage of interviews resulting in the offer of a summer associate position.

“We have seen some faltering in recruiting volumes this past fall, and that reflects the continuing faltering in the larger legal economy,” NALP executive director Jim Leipold told The National Law Journal. “If you read the client advisories coming from some of the private banks that are involved in law firm financing, it’s clear that 2013 is not likely to be dramatically better.”

Leipold predicted that law firms will remain cautious about hiring summer associates in 2013.

Last year was also the fourth consecutive year law firms pulled back on filling entry-level positions. The lowest point for summer associate hiring remains 2009, when just 36 percent of 2L interviews led to offers. But those numbers have been inching back up and reached 46 percent in 2011. And last fall, 44 percent of callback interviews led to employment offers.

The hiring outlook also remained grim for 3Ls. A mere 19 percent of law firm offices said they considered 3Ls last fall, and only 280 callback interviews given to 3Ls led to just 82 job offers. Not surprisingly, 90 percent of 2012 summer associates got jobs from the firms for which they’d worked. That did, however, represent a 1 percent drop from 2011.

So Maryland law students: how is your summer associate job hunt going? And lawyers: Are your firms offering more summer associate positions this year? Comment below or hit me up (beth.moszkowicz@thedailyrecord.com) or on twitter (@TDRBeth).

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