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Summer associate hiring this year is showing an overall increase among Connecticut’s larger law firms. While the largest, Hartford-based Day, Berry & Howard, is holding steady at 16 summer interns, others such as Tyler Cooper & Alcorn and the Stamford office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker have increased the size of their summer programs significantly. Connecticut firms’ summer classes are also generally sporting greater racial diversity than in previous years. New Haven-based Tyler Cooper brought on three summer associates in 2004; this year it has 11. “We had a very successful hiring season with strong candidates and lots of acceptances,” hiring partner Patricia E. Reilly said. Nine of the 11 are second-year law students, while the other two are first-years. Seven of the them are women. Reilly said the increase was planned. “We were more aggressive this year. There were strong candidates that we wanted to have.” Four of the firm’s summer associates will work in Hartford with the other seven in New Haven, she noted. At the 56-lawyer outpost of Los Angeles-based Paul Hastings, the summer associate class has grown from three to five interns, according to hiring partner John D. Hawkins. The increase is in line with the office’s projected business gains, Hawkins said. “We’re continuing to be cautiously optimistic about overall growth,” he said. Its summer associates include one first-year and four second-year law school students. “It was a good recruiting season,” Hawkins said. To get five summer associates, the firm made 10 offers. “The markets are definitely starting to heat up and associates seem to be in higher demand,” Hawkins said. “It’s becoming increasingly competitive. I wouldn’t call it hot, but it is heating up.” According to Law Tribune affiliate The National Law Journal, law firms nationwide are seeking more summer associates, though the gains are modest. A National Association for Law Placement (NALP) survey found that the number of summer associate offers that law firms made to second-year law students increased slightly, although summer associate class sizes are about the same compared with last year. In addition, the rate of full-time job offers law firms made to their summer associates in 2004 increased to levels close to those in 2000, according to NALP. The upturns, while small, indicate that the job market continues to gain ground following the dot-com bust. DIVERSITY GAINS Among Connecticut law firms, Hartford-based Robinson & Cole has the most law students of color in its summer class. Hiring partner James P. Ray said five of its 11 summer associates are either African-American, Asian or Middle Eastern. “We’re making a conscious effort to improve the [firm's] diversity and it’s not unique to this year,” he said. Ray noted that R&C recruiters went to a “tremendous number of schools and job fairs.” Its summer associate class, with six females and five males, comes from 10 different law schools. Nine are second-year law students. Twenty offers were made to hire the 11 members of its summer class, Ray said. The Connecticut Lawyers Group, which is working to boost minority lawyer hiring, conducted an informal survey of 25 local law firms and corporate legal departments. Eleven responded with three having no summer associate programs. In 2004, five of 34 summer associates (14.7 percent) were minorities. This year, minority law students account for 14, or 37.8 percent, of the firms’ 37 summer associates positions, the survey found. PUTTING DOWN ROOTS? Summer associates at Bingham McCutchen’s Hartford office are the best paid in Connecticut with weekly salaries of $2,400. This year, the office has four summer associates. That’s one more than last summer. “It’s not an exact science,” said Hartford hiring partner Frank A. Appicelli, adding the firm aims for three to five summer interns. Bingham made 10 offers to get the four it has this year. Appicelli said summer associates are attracted to the firm’s salaries as well as the opportunity to work with nationwide practice groups, such as financial restructuring and institutional finance, that are based in Hartford. “They feel a real presence of the firm and firm management here,” he added. “We’re not just an outpost of a national firm.” While it may be difficult to recruit single summer associates from outside the region to work in Hartford, married law students who have children generally enjoy what Connecticut has to offer, Appicelli said. “Two of the four [summer associates] really have no connection to Connecticut, but found it an attractive place to put down roots,” Appicelli added. They were attracted to 15-minute commutes versus the 90-minute jaunts into Boston or New York. Day, Berry & Howard hired 16 summer associates, the same as last year. Ten will be in Hartford with three each in Stamford and Boston. “We don’t try to hire to a certain number,” said Mitchell R. Harris, the hiring partner in DBH’s Hartford office. “We try to find people who would be a good fit for us.” Of the 16, three have just finished their first year of law school. Four are minorities. Harris said he does not know how many offers Day Berry had to make to hire the 16 summer associates. “We don’t wait until we’ve seen everyone to make offers,” he offered by way of explanation. New Haven-based Wiggin & Dana, for the second year in a row, has decreased its summer associate hiring. This year it has six associates, compared to seven last year and 10 the year before. Hiring partner Bruce L. McDermott said the number is based on offers and acceptances. “We were aiming for the same amount,” he added. About a third of the students offered positions at Wiggin accepted, he said. One change this year is the firm’s summer associates will not rotate among Wiggin’s Hartford, Stamford and New Haven offices. “We found they were mostly doing work they had gathered in the New Haven office,” McDermott said. Four of the associates will work in New Haven, with one each in Stamford and Hartford. Three of the summer associates are first-year students, while the rest are second-years. During Tyler Cooper’s summer program, its interns take part in a four-day skills program at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Run by Tyler Cooper partners, the program teaches the summer associates litigation, negotiation and courtroom skills. Hiring partner Reilly said she believes it is the only program of its kind offered in Connecticut.

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