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Citi Ain't Paying for Summer Associate Time

Summer Nate Raymond reports in today's New York Law Journal that Citigroup has put all of its outside counsel on notice that it will not pay for summer associate time. Not for a single, solitary hour of it, thank you very much.

The article notes that summer associate time has increasingly been written off over the past several years, either at the insistence of clients, or because no partner in his right mind would let his client see a bill purporting to charge over $1,200 for a law student to "review class outline."* And some major corporations have had the "no summer time" rule in place for a while.

Raymond attributes some degree of irony to the timing of Citi's decision, based on the substantial decrease in the size of summer classes as compared to previous programs. Jonathan Schaffzin of Cahill Gordon & Reindel predicts that the smaller size of his firm's 2010 summer program -- 15 vs. 38 in 2009 -- will mean that the lucky few who snagged these positions will be engaged in more substantive work than they would as part of a larger group.**

Over at JD Journal, they seem to think this increase in "real work," as opposed to the marginally relevant 50-state surveys popular in days of yore, will better prepare law students for eventual employment as full-time real honest-to-goodness big firm lawyers. This, of course, assumes that they will eventually be offered such a position.

As for Citi, well, I'm guessing part of the money they figure they're saving is going into a reserve fund for the check they'll have to write to get this woman to shut up already. And the rest, to pay for the "work" of some other virtually worthless seasonal employees near and dear to my heart.

* This is not a hypothetical example. I have seen such a bill, with my own eyes, from a decidedly Vault Top 20 firm. And in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, that's all I've got to say about that.

** Disclosure: I summered at Cahill. In 1999. When all was right with the Big Law universe and we were whisked home from our nightly dinners at Chanterelle on the wings of majestic white Pegasi. I also spent the better part of six years there as an associate, and several of my contemporaries have survived and thrived there to this day. Cue Louis Armstrong.

Posted by Eric Lipman on June 8, 2010 at 08:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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