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Long, Uncertain Season Lies Ahead for Big Law Summer Associates

June 1, 2020, 12:51 PM

Summers are typically when law students get a glimpse of life in Big Law, but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, firms have moved to virtual, shortened summer associate programs or have canceled them.

Balancing Act: In deciding what to do this summer, law firms have had to balance health and safety concerns with an effort to avoid a repeat of Great Recession-era hiring decisions that disrupted their talent pipeline. As for law students, their futures just got a little less clear.

Protect and Invest: “Law firms have put such a huge emphasis on how to handle their summer programs and, while they need to protect the associates they have now, they also have to protect and invest in their future,” said Summer Eberhard, managing director in the associate practice group at Major Lindsey & Africa.

Meghan Tribe has the story.

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DAILY BRIEF

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Business of Law

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Lawyers and other Bronx Defenders employees are planning to unionize, potentially adding to the growing ranks of legal services nonprofits that have organized in recent years.

Ethics

Demand Letters Can’t Threaten Charges, Illinois Bar Says
An Illinois lawyer who sent a demand letter to a client’s employer to try to settle a civil claim can’t use the threat of a criminal prosecution to gain an advantage, the state bar advised.

Follow Bloomberg Law’s global coverage of the coronavirus pandemic on our Coronavirus Outbreak channel, and track the latest changes in the federal court operations with our interactive map.

WAKE-UP CALL

Big Law Attorney Arrested in NYC Over Molotov Attack
In today’s column, reports say the FBI’s top lawyer has retired after conservatives panned his involvement in the investigation of Michael Flynn; Stroock is the latest major firm to make Covid-19 salary cuts; Boies Schiller Flexner is revamping its associate bonus structure; a divided Supreme Court rejected churches fighting Covid-19 restrictions on their worship services; two Big Law firms are advising in Cisco’s plan to buy internet monitoring company ThousandEyes.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: Proactive Compliance Is the Best Defense Against SEC Enforcement
The SEC is continuing to carry out compliance exams, turning to electronic and remote exams as Covid-19 has stalled on-site exams. Fizza Khan, founder and CEO of Silver Regulatory Associates, offers several proactive steps for investment advisers to prepare for an exam and ensure proper compliance.

INSIGHT: Bar Exam Repeaters Shouldn’t Be Pushed to Back of the Line
Some states are limiting seats to the July bar exam and pushing those who failed the February exam to the end of the line. Four members of the Collaboratory on Legal Education and Licensing for Practice say this isn’t fair and say a profession dedicated to securing justice must not narrow its gates during a pandemic, especially when it licenses new lawyers only twice a year.

INSIGHT: SEC Puts Supply Chain, Workforce Disclosures in Spotlight
The SEC’s focus on public company disclosure, particularly supply chain and workforce aspects, has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Part 1 of a two-part series, Ballard Spahr attorneys examine SEC guidance and expectations for public companies and say companies can learn lessons from the Great Recession.

INSIGHT: California Case Offers Warnings on Ephemeral Messaging
In WeRide Corp. v. Kun Huang, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued terminating sanctions against defendants for using ephemeral messaging. Philip Favro, a consultant at Driven Inc., says the case emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive policy regarding corporate uses of ephemeral messaging to counteract possible misperceptions by courts.

INSIGHT: Great Lakes Face Continuing Threat From Pipeline
Canadian energy company Enbridge is advocating for a new tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac for its Line 5 pipeline. Venture capitalist Ian Bund writes that the company’s safety-focused rhetoric is not what it seems and a spill would be catastrophic for Michigan.

INSIGHT: The ‘New Normal’ in Labor Relations as Businesses Reopen
As businesses start reopening, it is critically important that employees are aware of the steps employers are taking to ensure their health and safety. Fisher Phillips attorneys say employers must establish clear lines of communication and demonstrate they are listening to employee concerns and responding appropriately, eliminating the need to involve an outside third-party to speak on their behalf.

WORKFLOWS

Lamb McErlane (based in West Chester, Pa.) and boutique firm Imperatrice, Amarant & Bell (in Newtown Square, Del.) are slated to merge June 1; the combined firm will operate under the name of Lamb McErlane PC | Haynes and Boone is scheduled to open an office In San Francisco in July | Dentons has opened offices in the British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia as part of its expansion plans in the Caribbean | Troutman Sanders named Greg Saulinskas as Chief Financial Officer of the firm effective May 18 | Clifford Chance recently promoted 26 lawyers to partnership.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Jerome Ashton in Washington at jashton@bloomberglaw.com

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