The National Association for Law Placement has released revised guidelines for summer associate recruiting, and the organization has backed away from recommendations to adopt a system that would have banned firms from making any offers before mid-January. Instead, NALP has recommended a system in which firms can make offers to 2Ls at any time but are only obligated to keep those offers open for 28 days instead of the current 45 days.

The original recommendation to ban offers until January came from a 17-member commission organized by NALP, and it was met with a mix of tepid approval and angry criticism from law firms and law schools. Firms were the most vocal, especially Jones Day, which labeled the proposed pre-January offer ban a possible antitrust violation designed to help weaker firms compete against those who would be ready to make offers more quickly. The commission had hoped that by delaying offers until January, it would stem the rush among law schools to push interview season into August and September. Firms had complained more and more loudly that the early interviews with 2Ls forced them to make decisions on hiring needs too far in advance. Firms also objected to NALP’s guideline that firms keep offers open for 45 days; the commission recommended cutting that period to 14 days as part of its plan to ban offers until January, and Sullivan & Cromwell openly attempted to defy the 45-day rule during the 2009 recruiting season.

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