Should Incoming First-Year Biglaw Associates Be Deferred?


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Yet more decisions between bad and worse are upon us. The class of 2020 is due to start arriving in less than six months. There’s not going to be enough work for them; they should be deferred.

There’s no abnormal reputational risk in announcing deferrals now. It would be well received by current associates who’ll recognize it avoids increasing the competition for what work is available.

It’s tempting for firms to delay announcing decisions about the arrival of the class of 2020 as we await greater clarity. However, we are already past the time in 2009 by which most firms had announced. There’s also an important benefit to incoming associates from moving soon: delay weakens their prospects of securing prestigious paid public interest work and entry into elite LL.M. programs.

Hugh A. Simons, formerly a senior partner and executive committee member at The Boston Consulting Group and chief operating officer and policy committee member at Ropes & Gray, arguing that, given historical perspectives from the Great Recession, the associate class of 2020 should be deferred.


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.





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