Lawyers Pick Up Summer Program Cash – But Either Virtual Or No Programs On Offer

Lawyers Pick Up Summer Program Cash - But Either Virtual Or No Programs On Offer
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The coronavirus crisis has seen many law firms cancel their summer intern programs, but many firms are continuing to pay their associates as much as $3600 a month despite reducing their summer intern programs.

The pandemic has created a range of reactions from law firms, which would normally see market leaders set the framework for matters like recruitment, pay scales and associate programs. However, the speed with which the pandemic has hit and the fact that is has affected firms differently means the reactions to it have also differed.

The cost-cutting measures by the law firms – including major firms like Kirland & Ellis, Cravaths, Davis Polk and Sidley Austin are changing their programs or moving them online.

A survey of the major firms by showed that many were providing remote training to their associates or are providing both remote training and truncating their programs.

Baker + McKenzie for instance is running an abbreviated five week summer program while Cravaths are running a reduced, six week program but paying the interns for the 10 weeks.

The law firm summer associate programs are something of a rite of passage for thousands of law students wrapping up their second, or 2L, year in law school. The recruiting process for such roles starts in the fall of the 2L year, and most summers can expect to eventually get an offer for full-time work once they graduate, assuming they pass the bar exam after their 3L year.

Providing a Summer Program With Twist

As American Lawyer reported, some major law firms are providing their own ‘twist’ to their summer programs. Latham & Watkins, Ropes & Gray and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati this week confirmed that their respective summer programs will be held virtually this year, but each with a difference.

Wilson Sonsini is to give summer associates credit if they do six weeks of legal work for a qualified nonprofit organization of the associate’s choice, while Latham is reducing its program from 10 weeks to eight. The firms each said they will honor the financial commitments they’ve made to associates and first-year fellows.

Nixon Peabody announced this week it has canceled its summer program altogether, and will instead offer its summer associates a $5,000 stipend. First-year summer associates will be considered for automatic placement in next summer’s class, according to the firm.

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