The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect Pepper Hamilton and Troutman Sanders, as each has canceled their summer associate program and extended job offers to affected law students, weeks after an announcement that the firms would delay their merger due to the virus.
Big Law has been rethinking its approach to its time-honored summer associate programs, which serve as a key tool for recruitment and training.
“This decision arises out of our conclusion that, given current and expected conditions, we cannot provide for a meaningful summer experience that allows our students to perform to their full potential,” a Pepper Hamilton spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg Law.
The statement said the firm was due to begin its program in May, and is providing financial assistance to each of its summer associates.
In addition to canceling, both Pepper Hamilton and Troutman Sanders are extending offers to rising 3Ls who were due to participate in the summer program. These recruits will receive offers to sign on at the firms as full-time associates in fall of 2021 after their graduation. The two firms are also extending offers to rising 2Ls to join a future summer program in 2021.
The two firms face a quickly evolving legal market that has altered plans beyond just associate recruitment. Pepper Hamilton and Troutman Sanders revealed in January that they planned to merge into a single firm, Troutman Pepper, on April 1, but later said they would merge July 1 instead due to disruption caused by the pandemic.
Several Big Law firms have announced this week that they would suspend or delay their summer programs, which serve as law students’ introductions to the world of Big Law.
Cahill Gordon & Reindel said it would not hold its 2020 summer associate program but will still pay its students in full and extend them full-time job offers for 2021 after their graduation.
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Goodwin Procter, and Baker Botts have all switched to a shortened virtual program. Orrick also announced that its 2020 full-time associate class will not begin work until January or until after postponed bar exams. DLA Piper, Vinson & Elkins, and Cooley have also announced shortened summer programs.