More Firms Are (Cautiously) Hiring Summer Associates

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on February 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Law firms are hiring more summer associates now.

Remember the blissful law school days before the financial meltdown in 2008? When you were a wee little 1L? When your hopes and dreams of landing that summer associate gig were actually within your reach?

If you do, you probably also remember the ensuing collapse of the economy. And the reduced hiring that followed. Perhaps you were even no-offered at the end of your summer. Or, maybe the firm you worked at went under.

So, the recent hiring uptick is good news for those still in school. But it's mediocre news for those outside of school. OCI for you is long over.

But if you have friends in law school, you might want to spread the word. It seems that firm hiring is finally increasing.

In 2009, firms hired around 6,123 summer associates. That number was nearly halved in 2010. Firms hired only around 3,211, according to Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

Summer class sizes still aren't up to their pre-recession numbers. But they're getting closer. And more hiring is good for law students saddled with high debt.

The impact could be felt at some top law schools across the nation. Around 70% of New York University School of Law 2L students landed summer gigs in 2011. This is an increase of 15% from the previous year.

Of course, if you went to a lower ranked school you still might be out luck. BigLaw hiring does tend to focus more on the "elite" schools.

But even so, it's a positive sign for the economy. Hiring more BigLaw peons (er, summer associates) likely means that there are more mergers, acquisitions, and transactions going on.

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