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Baker McKenzie to Run Shorter Virtual Summer Associate Program

April 21, 2020, 8:55 PM

Baker McKenzie is shortening its summer associate program to a five-weeks and taking it virtual as the coronavirus pandemic continues to force law firms to change their summer offerings for law students.

The international law firm’s summer program will start on June 29 and run for five weeks until July 31 in the U.S. and Canada, the firm said in a statement. Baker McKenzie has not yet determined how long its summer program in Mexico will run.

Summer associates will be paid for the full five weeks of the program and won’t be affected by the recently announced salary cuts at the firm, according to the statement.

Baker McKenzie announced early last week that it would be reducing salaries for all U.S. attorneys and high-paid staff by 15% beginning May 1 to avoid layoffs as the global economy has slowed dramatically due to the pandemic. Equity partners would see the largest pay cuts and those reductions would not affect those earning less than $100,000 a year, the firm said.

Although the firm plans to host a virtual program, complete with pro bono assignments, trainings, mentoring, and a “hands-on tracking program,” Baker McKenzie’s recruitment team is planning to potentially host in-person networking or in-office work, if feasible, Tuesday’s statement said.

The firm also said that it will follow its standard process for making offers to its summer associates and will consider post-summer program offer recommendations as soon as possible following the session’s end.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming this strong and diverse summer class to the firm,” Scott Brandman, chair of the North America hiring committee, said in a statement. “We are more focused than ever on making their experience worthwhile from a training perspective, as well as ensuring that they feel welcomed into the Baker family.”

In light of the coronavirus epidemic, law firms have been forced to rework their summer programming which serves as law students first introduction to life in Big Law and a tryout for future firm employment.

Baker Botts, Fenwick & West, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Goodwin Procter have all shifted to shortened summer programs. Clifford Chance’s summer program in its Americas region is going virtual beginning in June.

Cravath Swaine & Moore has delayed the start of its summer program, which will begin virtually, to mid to late June and has extended offers to its 2Ls to rejoin the Wall Street firm as an associate in 2021 and its 1Ls to rejoin the firm next summer. Davis Polk & Wardwell is also delaying the start of its program and has guaranteed offers to its summer associates.

Other law firms have scratched their summer programs entirely. Arent Fox, Pepper Hamilton and Troutman Sanders have all canceled, though they’ve extended offers for their summer associates to rejoin the firm following their respective graduations.

Seyfarth Shaw canceled its summer program and has given its summers the option to join the firm as associates in the fall of 2021.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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