Hard-partying Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom cadets, who work out in the company gym with firm-issued outfits, will be donning “festive attire” for dinner and dancing at Rockefeller Center. It’s nicknamed the Skadden Prom.
And aren’t lawyers the kids who were picked last for teams in gym class? Greenberg Traurig’s young’uns will take revenge in a dodgeball tournament, while partners and summer associates at Kaye Scholer squared off recently in a Nintendo Wii tournament in the firm’s conference room. The “sports”? Tennis, boxing and baseball.
Hard to believe it’s been two summers since Aquagirl made her waves. But she was only one in a long line of boundary-pushers. Before her in the Summer Associate Hall of Infamy is Jonas Blank. While a summer at Skadden in 2003, he accidentally sent 40 fellow lawyers an e-mail intended for a friend. Just making dinner plans, right? Not exactly. “I’m busy doing jack shit,” he wrote. “Went to a nice 2hr sushi lunch today at Sushi Zen. Nice place. Spent the rest of the day typing e-mails and bullshitting with people.” Mr. Blank worked at Skadden until this spring.
The summer is still young, but a fellow Skaddenite has already emerged as this year’s legendary associate. According to blog posts on AboveTheLaw, the unidentified summer successfully charged $3,000 worth of drinks at a firm after-party at the Lower East Side bar Libation. Like clockwork, gleeful colleagues forward the details of these hijinks to office inboxes citywide. New York thanks them.
Law firms are growing, but the size of classes at law schools is holding steady, or even declining. As a result, top law schools say that firms are reaching deeper and deeper into their classes, and those a step below say they are getting interest from firms who haven’t expressed interest in the past.
According to Irene Dorzback, the assistant dean in the office of career services at N.Y.U. School of Law, the big New York firms would have found themselves 20 to 30 percent understaffed had they limited their summer hiring to the top schools. So they have stepped up their recruiting efforts in response—students from schools (and countries—hello, Canada!) that were rarely represented at the top firms are suddenly finding themselves being courted aggressively. Firms are even going after students who have transferred from lower-ranked schools to first-tier schools … before those students have set foot in their new classrooms.
“What’s new is the volume is bigger, which means our students have more choices,” said Joan King, the director of career services at Brooklyn Law School.
Just as the top firms pay associates in lockstep with each other, the weekly salaries for New York summer associates at the top firms are more or less identical. At Skadden, which has 160 summers in its New York office alone, summers take in $3,100 a week, which approximates the pay of a first-year associate.
The number of summers being hired has also grown dramatically in the past few years. In 2004, New York firms employed 2,321 summers, according to Ms. Dorzback, This summer, that number is 2,813—a 21 percent increase.