Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has taken additional steps to trim costs in this tough economic environment, following many other firms in delaying start dates and curtailing the length of its summer program.
A firm spokeswoman confirmed that start dates for first-year associates would be pushed back from September 2009 to February 2010, the start of the firm's fiscal year. Those associates will be given a monthly stipend to cover living expenses, she said, though she didn't know the exact amount.
Buchanan Ingersoll will also scale back its 2009 summer associate program by three weeks, bringing it down to seven weeks, the spokeswoman said. She said there will be 10 summer associates firmwide compared to the 23 summers the firm had in 2008. There will be nine first-year associates set to start in February, she said. It was unclear how many first-year associates started at the firm in 2008, but numbers reported by The Legal Intelligencer in 2007 show the firm brought in 25 first-year associates firmwide that year.
The spokeswoman said the firm isn't requiring its first-year associates to find public interest jobs, though she does expect the summer program to focus more intensely on public interest work.
The latest news out of Buchanan Ingersoll follows a number of other cost-cutting measures the firm has taken since last year. It cut 25 administrative positions in November and another 25 to 30 in February. The firm had also said it could have a lower attorney headcount at the end of its annual review process, which concluded in March.
Buchanan Ingersoll follows a number of Philadelphia firms that have pushed back start dates and trimmed summer programs.
Perhaps most notably, Morgan Lewis & Bockius pushed its first-year associates' start date back by one year and offered a $5,000 monthly stipend to only those who find a job in the public interest sector. The firm also said any offers it gave to 2009 summer associates would be good for a start date in 2011, not 2010, as would normally be the case.
Legal blog Above the Law reported that Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll pushed its first-year associates' start date back by a year to September 2010 and offered those associates a $45,000 stipend along with an additional $5,000 bar stipend.
According to the blog, the firm would not directly offer the incoming class health care benefits but will be handing out a $5,500 health benefit stipend. While associates must find employment in order to receive the stipends, the firm is not limiting the work to public interest legal work, according to Above the Law. The blog also reported that the firm will cut its summer program down to seven weeks. Ballard Spahr wouldn't confirm or deny the reports.
Blank Rome shortened its 2009 summer associate program from 10 to six weeks and delayed the start date for first-years from September to at least January 2010. DLA Piper delayed start dates until January as well, but will offer a $5,000 monthly stipend for those who find public interest sector jobs for the first year they are with the firm.