Come May 19, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft will host 58 summer associates, down from 101 in 2007. While the reduction comes at a time when the firm is hurting from the market crunch — it laid off 35 attorneys in January — hiring committee Chair Paul Mourning says the decision, made more than a year ago, has nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with retention.

“Obviously we linked retention with recruiting,” Mourning says. “We made a decision in spring 2007 that we would consciously shrink the summer program so we could improve the experience of summer associates.”

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