Fall Interviewing Numbers Remain Strong

September 20, 2002

On a typical fall day at the Law School, second-year students wearing crisp suits and nursing bottled water gather in the corridors of the second floor of Slaughter Hall, waiting to interview with firms of their choice. On Sept. 20 the pre-interview chatter may have been slightly more anxious as big-name firms including King & Spalding; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Latham & Watkins interviewed students hoping to squeeze into a tighter job market and land opportunities in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego and Chicago.

Second-years wait for their interviews in Slaughter Hall Sept. 20.
Second-years wait for their interviews in Slaughter Hall Sept. 20.

Recruiters arrive

Recruiters arrive, above, and sign in for a day of interviews on Sept. 9. Pictured: Zojeila Flores of Career Services, Thurgood Marshall Jr. and Tom Valente from Swidler & Berlin, and Christopher Ray from Thompson & Knight.

The faltering economy has made only a slight impact this year on the number of employers attracted to the Law School Grounds during the fall interview season, which lasts from Sept. 4 to Oct. 18. While over 6,700 interviews took place last year, Steve Hopson, Senior Assistant Dean for Career Services, expects more of the same this season; to date, Career Services has attracted 950 offices for fall interviewing with 530 schedules arranged—more than last year's yield of 927 offices and 503 schedules.

"We've got a few more employers than last year, when our numbers really fell off," Hopson said. "If anything, though, I think the summer classes may be slightly smaller this year on account of the continuing state of the economy. This means fewer offers to 2L's."

Second-year students are very likely to be hired full-time after graduation by the same firm they work for during the summer before their third year. Offers made to 2L's during the fall are held open until Dec.1 under guidelines established by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Students can hold no more than four offers after Oct. 15 and no more than three after Nov.1.

While second-years and third-years with jobs may be in good shape, Hopson said third-years who do not have jobs yet will likely be hurt by the recession.

"If you haven't gotten an offer, you're going to be hard-pressed to find something before graduation," he said. Still, "last year was the year that most people cut back."

Students may be looking less to the corporate world and more to litigation as a result of the economic downturn. "Not surprisingly, transactional work is down, but litigators are in demand and some firms have even told me that last year was the best in their history. But there's no question that firms are not hiring in the numbers that they were two or three years ago. This year is basically like last year, with a little tighter market," Hopson said.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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