NALP Reports Lackluster Law Firm Recruiting for Entry-Level Associates
NALP, the association for legal career professionals reported recruitment for entry-level associates at law firms remaining flat for the fifth consecutive year. The annual report titled Perspectives on Fall 2013 Law Student Recruiting was created on the basis of a survey conducted across 123 U.S. law schools and more than 400 law firms. While the report found that firms had certainly increased their hiring activities of entry-level associates over the last 4 years, the pattern of recruitment is less than inspiring and does not reflect a pattern of steady recovery from the recession.
The survey, however, concerned itself mostly with on-campus recruitment of entry level associates and may not reflect the actual recruitment rate of entry-level associates both on-campus, as well as off-campus.
While the survey found large but expected variations in recruitment patterns according to regions and cities, it found overall law firms continued with caution when it came to on-campus recruitment. However, where firms were engaging in on-campus recruitment at all, they engaged seriously and the offer rate for entry-level associates following summer program involvement rose to 92% from 90% in the previous year. This is a huge change in recruitment pattern for summer associates for even in 2009, the offer rate following summer programs was only 69%.
So, while on-campus involvement of law firms may be flat, where it is present, it is not being approached casually, and is resulting in greater than 90% offer for summer associates. That, is definitely good news. And to support things moving a little towards law students, the offer acceptance rate fell to 84% against 86% in 2012. At least two percent more associates are in a position to reject poor offers coming their way.
James Leipold, NALP's Executive Director said, "We have seen some bobbling in recruiting volumes this past fall, with some numbers that point to increased recruiting volumes and some that suggest decreased volume, and in any event most of the markets that we track have more or less flat-lined for the last several years."
As Leipold pointed out, for members of the Class of 2015, those who went through the OCI process in the fall of 2013, the median number of offers stayed at 8 across employers of all sizes. However, the mean number of offers rose from 20 to 27 reflecting growth is happening at large firms with bigger summer programs.