Tuesday, September 15, 2020
American Lawyer, Ropes & Gray Launches Voluntary Associate Deferral Program:
Ropes & Gray has kicked off a voluntary one-year deferral program for its incoming first-years, who are due to start in January, and its current associates.
While many big firms delayed the start of their 2020 first-year associate classes to early 2021, Ropes’ option of a full deferral year may be the first in the Am Law 100 this year — and it could pave the way for others to offer similar recession-era programs.
Ropes has made clear that this decision was not a result of financial stress, and first-years can still choose to start at the firm in January. Ropes was also among the first firms to make its summer associate program virtual and shortened.
The firm will pay participants an $80,000 stipend to work at a public interest group or nonprofit. They may also take a $38,800 stipend—20% of first-year starting pay—to take a personal sabbatical doing whatever they wish, except for practicing law at a law firm. Above the Law first reported on the new offering Thursday.