Ogletree Deakins offices in Washington, D.C.  (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

National labor and employment firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has decided to cancel its summer associate program amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The current environment, including remote working models, makes it very challenging to offer a high-quality and immersive learning experience for summer associates,” said a firm spokesperson in an email to the Daily Report on Monday. “As such, we have made the difficult decision to forego our summer associate program.”

The Atlanta-based firm had planned to field a summer class of 36 law students, who would have worked in 22 of Ogletree’s 53 offices, the spokesperson said. Ogletree has about 860 lawyers across the United States and internationally.

Ogletree will not offer pay for the canceled summer program, the spokesperson said, but the firm is “in the process of speaking with this group personally and will remain in contact with them for when circumstances improve.” 

The firm hopes to offer the law students externships during the school year or full-time positions, he added, “when we emerge from the crisis.” 

Another large Atlanta-based firm, Troutman Sanders, announced on Friday that it too is canceling its summer associate program. Other Atlanta firms are still deciding whether to host a shortened program starting later in the summer or to cancel. 

Smith Gambrell & Russell’s chairman, Stephen Forte, for instance, told the Daily Report Friday that the firm had not yet made a decision on how to handle its summer program. The firm is currently considering either a truncated, four-to-six week program starting in June or early July–or a virtual program.