Recruiting Activities During Fall of 1998 Increased from Both Law School and Employer Perspectives

Recruiting activities during the fall of 1998 increased significantly over the fall of 1997, according to data compiled by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Most law schools reported more employers on campus, and almost half of law firms reported visiting more schools in their recruiting efforts. NALP's data also indicate that the number of callback interviews increased, particularly for the 1999 summer program, but offer rates declined for the fall of 1998.

Nationwide, 90% of law schools reported an increase in the number of employers on campus in the fall of 1998 as compared with fall of 1997, and 45% of legal employers reported visiting more schools this fall than last fall. The nationwide median number of schools at which employers recruited was eight, with over half of the largest firms increasing the number of schools they visited. Over one-quarter of law schools reported an increase of 25% or more in the number of employers on campus.

On-campus interviewing accounted for 88% of second-year students receiving callback invitations and three-quarters of third-year students receiving callback invitations. Offer rates decreased somewhat, however, with 42% of callback interviews of second-year students resulting in an offer (versus 52% for 1997) and 24% of callback interviews of third-year students resulting in an offer (versus 35% for 1997). Rates of acceptance of offers remained fairly steady.

Most schools participated in one or more job fairs, and well over one-quarter participated in seven or more job fairs. Responding employers were relatively evenly split between those who participated in no job fairs (38%) and those who participated in two or more job fairs (36%)

Analyses at the city level reveal wide variations. For example, employers in New York City reported by far the highest level of activity in callback invitations and interviews of second-year students, making an average of 122 offers to second-years for summer 1999. New York employers also reported the highest number of callback invitations to third-year students, but was equaled by offices in the San Jose area in terms of the number of offers extended to third-year students. Acceptance rates to offers for summer employment were lowest at firms in New York, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Los Angeles, where one-quarter or less of offers were accepted, and highest in Atlanta and Kansas City, where close to half of offers were accepted.

These are among the findings recently published in NALP's Perspectives on Fall 1998 Law Student Recruiting, an annual review of selected aspects of fall season recruitment activity and experiences of both legal employers and law schools. Among the additional findings:

  • Firms in the Northeast were most likely to participate in job fairs; firms in the Southeast were least likely to do so.
  • The median class size for summer programs was nine. Firms in Boston and Dallas reported the largest summer classes, with an average of 23 and 31 summer associates respectively.
  • Most summer program participants - 89.0% - received an offer for an associate position and 68% of these offers were accepted.
  • Employers issued a median of 66 callback invitations each to second-year students. Nationwide, most of these callback invitations were accepted. About 42% of callback interviews resulted in an offer, with a median of 26 offers per employer. Overall, less than three in ten offers were accepted.
  • Recruiting of third-year students not previously employed by the employer was reported by 181 employers. The median number of callback invitations was 12, and nearly all of these callback invitations were accepted. Less than one-quarter of these interviews resulted in an offer.

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