Twenty-eight days later

Today the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) released “28 Tips for 28 Days,” an informational handout with tips for law schools and employers regarding its new timing guidelines.

The NALP Board of Directors unanimously approved two changes for the 2010 recruiting cycle:

  1. The adoption of a 28-day rolling response deadline for candidates not previously employed by the employer; and

  2. A Nov. 1 response deadline for candidates who have been previously employed by the employer.

Two years ago, NALP replaced the former Dec. 1 response date with a 45-day rolling response deadline. Students who had not previously worked for an employer had 45 days to respond to an offer from that employer for summer or permanent employment.

Feedback from law schools and legal employers has indicated that a shorter period will still allow students sufficient time to choose among competing offers.

Therefore, beginning this month students will have 28 days to respond to an offer from an employer for which the student has not worked. For offers to candidates who have been previously employed, the response deadline will be Nov. 1.

Based on a quick read of NALP’s new tips, and my experience with the fall on-campus interview process, here are the most salient points for law students:

  1. Read “Student Professionalism During the Interview Season: A Quick Guide to Your Ethical Responsiblities in the Offer and Decision-Making Process,” available at www.nalp.org/studentprofessionalism.

  2. Learn as much as you can about organizations with which you interview. This may include asking the Office of Career Services to put you in touch with students and alums who have worked for those organizations in the past.

  3. Upon receiving an offer, set reminders on an online calendar of upcoming response deadlines.

  4. Don’t be afraid to stay in communication with employers between the time you receive an offer and when your respond.

  5. Don’t let an offer deadline pass without sharing your decision. Declining an offer may be hard, but it’s an important part of the process.

  6. Students who are actively pursuing positions with public interest or government organizations may request that a private employer extend the deadline to accept the employer’s offer until as late as April 1.

  7. Understand that employers having a total of 40 attorneys or fewer in all offices are exempted by NALP from these timing guidelines. Those making offers for full-time employment on or before Dec. 15 are encouraged to let them remain open for at least three weeks or until Dec. 30, whichever comes first. Offers made after Dec. 15 should remain open for at least two weeks.

  8. Similarly, employers offering candidates positions for the following summer and having a total of 40 attorneys or fewer in all offices are encouraged to let offers made on or before Dec. 15 remain open for at least three weeks following the date of the offer letter or until Dec. 30, whichever comes first. Offers made after Dec. 15 should remain open for at least two weeks.

Todd Rogers,
Assistant Dean for Career Services

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