Firms began conducting on-campus interviews this week at Texas law schools, and 14 of the state’s largest 25 firms say they plan to hire as many or more summer associates for 2012 than they did for 2011. The firms are on campuses primarily to recruit students beginning their second year of law school to work at the firms during the summer preceding their third year of school. Large firms tend to hire most of their full-time associates from among the students who work for them during the summer.
“We are anticipating six total summer associates, which would be for permanent jobs beginning in the fall of 2013,” says Kitty Henry, co-chair of law school recruiting for Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr. Munsch Hardt is one of six large firms planning to bring in more summer associates in 2012 than it did this year. The firm did not have a 2011 summer associate class because it had hired four first-year associates to begin this fall, from the summer class of 2010, and wanted to allow time for “them to become part of the firm and take a breather to absorb that capacity,” Henry says.
Like most firms, Munsch Hardt recruits law students in several ways: by participating in on-campus interviews; by collecting résumés from students at law schools the firm does not visit; and by participating in job fairs that bring students from various schools to one location, such as the Sunbelt Minority Recruiting Program on Aug. 26 in Dallas. From those venues, Henry says the firm will invite its top candidates for call-back interviews at its offices and will make summer job offers by mid-September. “We want to get our offers out there, kind of get first in line,” Henry says.
Dallas-based Gardere Wynne Sewell is looking to hire eight to 10 summer associates for 2012, up from five this summer, says Carrie Hoffman, the firm’s summer hiring partner. Hoffman says the economy is improving and the summer hires are for full-time positions two years down the road in the fall of 2013. “We anticipate the market will have righted itself,” she says.
Hunton & Williams is looking for three to seven summer associates for its Texas offices for 2012, compared with two summer associates in 2011, says Alan Marcuis, the recruiting committee chairman for the firm’s Dallas office. “It just depends on who we find and who likes us and who we like,” he says. In addition to Dallas, the Richmond, Va.-based firm has offices in Austin and Houston.
Dallas-based Winstead is targeting a 2012 summer associate class size of 14 students, hiring shareholder Mike Alessio writes in an email. The firm had seven summer associates in 2011.
Thompson & Knight, based in Dallas, is also planning a larger 2012 summer class, says hiring partner Dave Schulte. “We’re looking to have a slightly larger summer, in the neighborhood of 12 [summer associates] in Dallas and about eight to 10 in Houston,” he says. The firm had 18 Texas summer associates in 2011.
Dallas-based Strasburger & Price, which did not have a 2011 summer associate class, is recruiting for a 2012 summer associate class similar in size to recent classes, says hiring partner Scott Shanes. The firm had nine summer associates in 2010.
Lawyers with another eight large firms say they plan to hire 2012 summer associate classes similar in size to this year. The firms and the number of their 2011 summer associates in Texas are: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (14); Baker Botts (48); Bracewell & Giuliani (28); Jackson Walker (20); Kelly Hart & Hallman (seven); Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (17); Looper Reed & McGraw (seven); and Vinson & Elkins (75).
-- Jeanne Graham
Editor's note: The above blog has been corrected to reflect the accurate date of the Sunbelt Minority Recruiting Program in Dallas and the number of Baker Botts 2011 summer associates in Texas.