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Chart: Summer Help A little more confident, Bay Area firms approached campus recruiting a little more aggressively this year, with a few firms significantly boosting their summer associate classes. Students in turn seemed more willing to place their bets on technology firms that just a few years ago retrenched. That’s the story law firm leaders told as the results came in for this year’s recruiting season. Of the Bay Area-based firms, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe will see the largest increases in their summer classes, though for different reasons. Wilson, which cut associate ranks two years ago, will host 50 second-year law students this summer, almost double the number last year and the biggest class since 2001. The firm has the largest Bay Area presence, with about 450 attorneys in its Palo Alto office. “The business is coming back and we are ready for it,” said Sara Harrington, a partner in the technology transactions practice. Heller, the fastest growing major Bay Area firm, is bringing in 44 associates this summer — almost 40 percent more than last year. Thanks to a conservative approach during the downturn — and long lead times involved in recruiting new lawyers — Heller is feeling a little top-heavy. “We have too many fifth-year associates for the number of first-year associates,” said Heller’s firmwide recruiter Michael Charlson. “But [the hiring] won’t translate into an immediate fix until 2006.” Los Angeles’ Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is also readying for a bumper crop. The firm, which has 84 lawyers in the Bay Area, expects 21 summers here, up from seven last year. Part of the reason, said Gibson hiring partner Michael Sitzman, is that during the downturn the firm saw more litigation prospects, and more of them took clerkships that delayed their arrival as permanent hires. Sitzman said the trend has turned, with student interest more evenly divided between corporate and litigation specialties. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, meanwhile, expects only about half as many summers as it had last year. Firm officials note that 2004′s class was unusually large, in part because it included eight summer hires from Clifford Chance. But yield was also lower this year, said Karen Massa, Orrick’s West Coast recruiting manager. “It is not a perfect science,” said Massa. “Things ebb and flow in terms of which areas are popular.” She added that Orrick likes to keep its numbers small to give law students personal attention and ensure they have a good experience and return as permanent hires. Orrick also plans on making up some of the difference with first-year hires. Pillsbury Winthrop will have two fewer law students than it did last summer. The firm has 244 lawyers in the Bay Area but expects only 13 summers in its San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices — about the same number as firms with half as many lawyers here. “We try and be a little conservative,” said recruiting partner Alice Hayashi. L.A.’s Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, with 85 lawyers here, expects 13 summers, up from eight last year. Paul, Hastings partner Paul Cane Jr. said the firm’s out-of-town status didn’t deter top-flight students seeking jobs in the Bay Area. “The candidates we are hiring now will be the younger partners in the firm,” Cane said, “and I would like to leave the firm and this office in good hands.”

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