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More than 30 percent of this year’s crop of summer associates at Pittsburgh law firms are new to the Pittsburgh area, and hiring numbers have not tailed off despite the recent economic downturn. But the city’s law firms had trouble attracting minority law students, as only three were able to do so, according to the 15 firms responding to the Western Pennsylvania Legal Intelligencer’s recent survey. Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, which has the biggest class with 36 summer associates, will have four minority law students while Reed Smith, with a class of 18 — the third largest of the respondents — will have two. Thorp Reed, which will have seven associates this summer, will have one minority law student. In all, only five of the 129 summer associates — or less than 4 percent — of Pittsburgh’s summer associate contingent are African-American. And the group, which includes law students who are spending the summer at the 15 firms that responded to the survey, only includes two Latinos and one Asian-American. Women accounted for 47 percent of all Pittsburgh summer associates at the firms. Roughly 53 percent of all the Pittsburgh summer associates were reared in the area. An additional 15 percent were introduced to the city for the first time during college or law school, and 32 percent are experiencing Pittsburgh for the first time this summer. When looking at individual firms, half of Reed Smith’s summer associates are Pittsburgh natives, while the other half are first-time visitors. More than half (16) of Kirkpatrick’s summer associates are first-time visitors, while seven are schooled here and 13 are natives of the region. Buchanan Ingersoll has the next largest out-of-town group. Eight of Buchanan’s summer associates are first-time visitors, while the 12 others are either natives or students here. Five firms — Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck, Meyer Unkovic & Scott, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Thorp Reed & Armstrong and Babst Calland Clements & Zomnir — pulled all their associates from those who are from here or attend school in the city. Beth A. Slagle, Meyer Unkovic’s hiring and recruiting partner, says it’s still easier to attract students with a connection to the region. “We solicit resumes on a nationwide basis, but typically someone has to have a Pittsburgh connection,” Slagle said. “Often we get our associates from Pitt or Duquesne.” Despite the slowing economy, this year saw no cutbacks in the number of summer associates, with a combined total of 129 summer associates at the responding firms, compared with 128 in 2000. Of the firms responding, five have the same number of summer associates as last year, nine firms have from one to three more or fewer summer associates than last year, and one, Reed Smith, had the biggest reduction — down five associates from last year’s number. Chris Carson, recruiting director at Cohen & Grigsby, said Pittsburgh is a challenging but encouraging market. “Many firms in the city are struggling with concerns about how big they should grow,” Carson said. “We think the prospects are good here, and that’s why we are committed to serving the region. We see no sign that things are slowing down despite the economy.” Carson said that one obstacle a firm faces is having the right number of summer associates to fit its needs. Cohen added two lawyers from last year’s class, and Carson said this year’s class of six appears to be a good fit. “The number is happenstance to some degree,” Carson said. “The most important thing is if they have the qualifications.” Weekly salaries for summer associates remained the same at three firms — Cohen & Grigsby, Meyer Darragh and Morgan Lewis & Bockius — and increased at 11 others. The issue was not applicable to Tucker Arensberg, which had two summer associates last year but has none this year. Bumps ranged from $50 to $350. Jones Day Reavis & Pogue provided the highest weekly pay, at $2,077, followed by Buchanan Ingersoll at $1,950, Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling at $1,925, Reed Smith at $1,923, and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart at $1,920. The average Pittsburgh firm pays its summer associates $1,695, compared with $1,515 last year. As for the law schools, Pitt had the most representation at surveyed firms, with 33 students placed in firms throughout the city. Duquesne was next with 19. Notre Dame had seven, Virginia had six, and Duke, Michigan and Texas each had five. Dickinson had four while Boston University, Harvard and Northwestern had three each. The survey also took a look at whether last year’s summer associates were hired by the firms where they worked in 2000. Six firms — Babst Calland, Klett Rooney, Meyer Unkovic, Pepper Hamilton, Thorp Reed and Tucker Arensberg — had 100 percent acceptance rates from 2000′s 2Ls who were offered positions for this past fall. Buchanan Ingersoll had a 93 percent acceptance rate, and 7 percent of those accepted but deferred. All of those offered from Cohen & Grigsby deferred the decision, while Dickie McCamey & Chilcote had a 33 percent acceptance rate and 67 percent declined. Jones Day and Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott each had a 67 percent acceptance rate. Kirkpatrick had a 68 percent acceptance rate, with 11 percent declining; 11 percent accepted but deferred and another 11 percent deferred the decision entirely. Half of those offered positions at Meyer Darragh accepted while half deferred the decision. Morgan Lewis had a 67 percent acceptance rate and 33 percent deferred the decision, while Reed Smith had an 84 percent acceptance rate and 16 percent deferred the decision. The Western Pennsylvania Legal Intelligencer sent surveys to the largest 25 law offices in Pittsburgh, as identified by PaLaw 2000. Firms either not responding to the survey or declining to participate include Pietragallo Bosick & Gordon, Burns White & Hickton, Doepken Keevican & Weiss, Grogan Graffam & McGinley, Goldberg Persky Jennings & White and LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae. Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and Houston Harbaugh do not have summer programs in Pittsburgh.

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