Davis Polk, Gibson Dunn Delay Summer Associate Programs

April 14, 2020, 4:35 PM

Davis Polk & Wardwell and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher have both pushed back the start of their summer associate programs, as more law firms reshape this key summer talent recruitment tool in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Davis Polk confirmed that it will delay the start of its program, which was scheduled to begin next month, but did not specify a new start date.

On April 9, the firm sent an email to its incoming summer class saying that it was evaluating alternatives for its summer program in light of the virus.

Though the email didn’t offer further details on the timing or the format of its summer program, the Wall Street firm did attempt to reassure its incoming talent, noting that it would compensate them for the same number of weeks they originally indicated they would work. The firm also said it would extend offers to each of its summer associates to join the firm full-time after graduation.

“As we consider what is best for the entire Davis Polk community this summer, we want to reinforce the firm’s commitment to each of you, to the program and, importantly, our conviction as to the continued long-term growth of our firm,” the firm said in the email.

Summer associate programs are law firms’ way of introducing law students to life in Big Law. However, in light of safety concerns and shelter-in-place restrictions emanating from Covid-19, firms have been forced to consider new ways of offering programs, including putting them online, and in some cases guaranteeing job offers for participants.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has also delayed the start of its U.S. summer program to June 15, though the firm has not yet determined whether it will be an in-person or remote program.

“Whether our summer associates join us in-person or remotely, we are committed to providing them with robust training and work opportunities in what is likely to be an unconventional program,” said Pearl Piatt, Gibson Dunn chief communications officer, in a Monday statement to Bloomberg Law.

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Baker Botts, and Goodwin Procter have all shifted to shortened virtual summer programs. Jones Day is launching its virtual summer program on May 18.

Other law firms have canceled their programs completely, like Pepper Hamilton and Troutman Sanders, though the pair are offering rising 3Ls the chance to sign on at the firms as full-time associates in fall of 2021 and extending offers to rising 2Ls to join a future summer program in 2021. The two firms have put off their merger until July 1 due to the virus.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel also said it would suspend its summer program, but the firm extended full-time offers to its summer associates to join the firm after their graduation 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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