As we recently said , the year 2012 sounds so futuristic to us that we barely contemplated its existence until Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe deferred its summer associates until 2012 and we saw a terrible-looking preview for a movie called “2012.”

But we suspect now that we may have to get used to seeing that number — 2012 — in print more often, because Weil, Gotshal & Manges Friday became the second major firm in a week to defer some of its current summer associates until 2012, according to a memo the firm sent us Friday. (The news was first reported Friday afternoon on Above the Law.) The firm is giving all of its current summers (at least the ones that get an offer) the option of deferring their start date from January 2011 until January 2012, and it will pay any summer who chooses the 2012 option a $75,000 stipend and health benefits — provided the summer gets a firm-approved public service job. (The associate will have to spend at least 1,000 hours on public service work during the year to qualify for the stipend, the memo says.)

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