Thomson Reuters; February 11, 2013
Hiring for entry-level positions at U.S. law firms was flat in 2012, reflecting caution among managing partners about the state of the legal market, said a report released on Monday by the National Association for Law Placement, an industry group that provides career information for law students and lawyers.
More than 120 law schools and 275 law firms, ranging in size from fewer than 100 attorneys to more than 700, participated in the NALP survey, which is released annually.
According to the report, 90 percent of summer associates were offered full-time jobs in 2012, compared to 91 percent in 2011. The average class size for summer associates was also flat, with firms hiring an average of nine law students per summer program in 2012, compared to an average of eight law students in 2010 and 2011, the report said.
James Leipold, the executive director for NALP, said the findings reflect ongoing uncertainty among law firm leaders about demand for legal services.
"I would expect flat and faltering to be characteristics of the entry-level law firm hiring market going forward," said Leipold in a statement.
The report also indicated that law firms in New York, Silicon Valley, Seattle and Portland participated in law school job fairs more frequently than law firms in other regions throughout the United States.