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Only a few weeks into the fall recruiting season, Connecticut law school students have reason to be optimistic about their job prospects, school officials say. “If the big Connecticut firms are any indication, we’re seeing more of a comeback,” said Kristin Magendantz, director of career services at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Large firms, she said, are both recruiting and making callbacks earlier this fall than in recent years. The recruitment of second- and third-year students, she added, also is on the upswing, both by private practice firms and corporate legal departments. Magendantz said UConn law students were well received on recent recruiting trips to Boston and New York City. “If that program is any indicator, we’re seeing a high yield in terms of the number of callbacks,” she said. “There’s a lot more positive energy this year than last year at this time.” Students at Quinnipiac University School of Law also are finding greater success on the job hunt, said Deborah Daddio, the school’s career services director. Just two weeks into the process, Daddio’s office hasn’t compiled statistics on how many firms are coming to campus or how many students have been invited for interviews. But she said her sense is that law firms this year are talking to more students for summer associate positions. “Some firms are growing,” Daddio said, “not just the large firms. They are growing steadily, but trying to control the growth so they maintain the atmosphere of their firm.” Such is the case with New Haven-based Tyler Cooper & Alcorn. Patricia E. Reilly, the 75-lawyer firm’s hiring partner, said it has increased its hiring among second- and third-year law students. She said Tyler Cooper is looking to double or possibly triple its summer class for 2005. Granted, its 2004 summer class only had two members, but “we’re very optimistic about the market,” Reilly said. “We’re looking at third-year, as well as second-year law students.” Both members of its summer class this year have been offered employment, she noted. At Bingham McCutchen’s Hartford office, hiring partner Frank A. Appicelli said it is mostly focused on summer associates for 2005. “We’re shooting for a class of three to six people,” he said. All three members of the office’s summer class were offered jobs. Day Berry & Howard, Connecticut’s largest law firm with 216 lawyers, is hedging its bets and interviewing third-years, but with no specific hiring goal in mind, according to hiring partner Richard Colbert. “We always keep our eyes open for third-year students who may not want to go back to the firm they worked at [as summer associates],” he said. Twelve of Day Berry’s 13 summer associates this year were offered employment. At Murtha Cullina, all three of its summer associates have been offered employment, said hiring partner Hugh Murray. Murtha isn’t currently looking at third-year students, said Murray. The 116-member firm had a class of seven associates start on Sept. 7. Any additional staffing needs will be handled through lateral hiring. UConn Law’s Magendantz said Connecticut firms, in general, have expressed more interest in third-year students this year. “I think they may have recruited conservatively last year with their summer associates,” she said.

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