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Recruiting Woes Elude Easy Fixes

Publication Date: 
January 18, 2010
The National Law Journal
Karen Sloan

Associate dean for Career Services Susan C. Robinson is quoted on the National Association for Law Placement's proposal for adopting a January date for summer associate offers:

August was an exhausting blur of hotel rooms and late-night flights for Thomas Leatherbury.

As the hiring partner for Houston-based Vinson & Elkins, Leatherbury spent the month rushing from campus to campus overseeing on-campus recruiting interviews during the weeks before classes started.


Susan Robinson, associate dean for career services at Stanford Law School, considers the January time line workable but fears the 14-day response deadline could result in less effective matches between firms and students. A student who received an offer on the kickoff date from only his third-choice firm might not receive a second-round offer from his top choices before he must decide on the offer in hand. Firms stand to lose out, too. "That's the biggest sticking point for me," she said.

Ashish Nanda, a Harvard law professor who proposes that law firms and law schools use a central matching system much like the one that pairs medical residents and hospitals, shared Robinson's concerns.

"It will worsen the problem of mismatches," he said. "In its current form, the system will lead to a lot of heartbreaks."