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At a time when several firms are cutting back their summer programs, Cravath, Swaine & Moore is taking the opposite approach, boosting its program’s size by more than 75 percent. Cravath is bringing in 161 summer associates, up from 91 last year. The additional recruits are part of an expansion plan, says managing partner Evan Chesler. “We don’t hire laterally, so it’s not that complicated,” Chesler says. “If you’re sitting at the Cravath firm and make the decision that over time you want to be somewhat larger than you are, you start where you must start, which is the recruiting of the summer class.” While it may seem odd that Cravath is doing this during a recession, the firm is well positioned to make the move. In 2007, the firm posted profits per partner of $3.3 million, and its gross revenue grew 11 percent to $610.5 million, according to Am Law 100 figures released yesterday. All of last year’s 91 summers received full-time offers, a spokeswoman says. While it’s too early to know how many of those will accept � many are finalizing their decisions now due to clerkships � the firm anticipates 96 incoming associates this fall, according to the spokeswoman. Chesler says the economy had no bearing on this year’s expanded program. “This is a long-term decision,” he says. “[It] affects the size of our classes one and two and three years down the road, so we made the decision with that perspective in mind.” The firm currently employs 481 lawyers. Chesler says the firm doesn’t have any specific practice areas in mind that it wants to grow and has no plans to expand out of its New York stronghold or beyond the one branch office in London. This summer’s hires are international, though, with 14 summer associates joining from other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and China. The firm plans to rotate eight of the 161 associates through London’s corporate department for half the summer, the spokeswoman says. The London office has 17 lawyers total. Cravath doesn’t look to be cutting back on perks either. Among the events anticipated by incoming summers are a party at the Central Park Zoo and several Broadway shows, including Jersey Boys, Young Frankenstein, and Spring Awakening.

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