Wednesday, February 25, 2009
NALP has released a 20-page report, Perspectives on Fall 2008 Law Student Recruiting:
Consistent with the overall weakening of the legal economy, all of the markers that measure the strength of the legal employment market for new lawyers, such as law firm recruiting levels for summer programs and summer program outcomes, trended downward in 2008. After four years of a very strong legal recruiting market, the fall of 2008 marked what is likely to be the beginning of a weaker legal employment market that may last for a number of years. Information provided by NALP members about fall 2008 recruiting confirms that the market for entry-level legal employment constricted measurably, especially for 2Ls.
Though the median and average summer class size remained unchanged from last year, for rising 3Ls, the offer rate for entry-level associate positions fell by nearly three full percentage points to 89.9%. While still a very healthy offer rate, it is the lowest offer rate recorded since 2003. The acceptance rate for these summer offers also jumped by nearly three full percentage points, to 79.7%, and marks the highest offer acceptance rate recorded since NALP began compiling these figures in 1993. This lower offer rate and higher acceptance rate for this class reflect an economy that was slowing dramatically in August and September.
The most dramatic impact of the current economic situation on legal employment opportunities can be seen in the numbers that describe the fall recruiting of 2Ls. Across employers of all sizes, the median number of offers extended dropped dramatically from 15 to 10. At the largest firms, firms with more than 700 lawyers firmwide, the median number of offers dropped from 30 to 18.5. Similarly, the percent of callback interviews resulting in offers for summer spots fell precipitously to 46.6% from a figure that had hovered at or above 60% for three years. Not surprisingly, the offer acceptance rate also jumped. At 32.5%, it is the highest rate recorded since 2002.
See also National Law Journal: Second-Year Law Students Seeing Far Fewer Offers for Summer Associate Positions, by Karen Sloan.