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Survey shows COVID-19 impact on summer programs, recruiting, and OCI

The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) has released the
results of two short “pulse” surveys about the impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. legal employers, law schools, and JD students.

The surveys, conducted in May, were designed to quantify the rapidly evolving changes in the legal profession and the industry as a result of the pandemic. NALP is following up with a second set of surveys to members in the coming weeks.
Key findings for legal employers include:
• The overwhelming majority of offices (86%) that originally planned to host a 2020 summer program still plan to do so.
• Almost two-thirds (64%) of offices reported that their 2020 summer programs will now be 5-6 weeks in length, a considerably shorter period than in recent summers. In 2019 the most commonly reported length was 10 weeks (71% of offices).
• The majority (55%) of offices intend to host a 100% virtual 2020 summer program, 40% intend to host a hybrid model if possible (e.g., a combination of in-person and virtual), and a small number (5%) intend to have an entirely in-person program. 100% virtual programs were most popular in the Mid-Atlantic (66%) and Northeast (65%) regions.
• For those 2020 summer programs that will be fully or partially remote, nearly half (47%) of offices have not yet determined the anticipated number of hours per week that summer associates will work during the remote portion of the program. For those that have decided, three-quarters (75%) anticipate that
summer associates will work 31-40 hours per week remotely.
• For offices that have canceled their 2020 summer programs, 86% reported that they made offers to at least some 2Ls who were originally going to summer at the office to return after graduation for full-time employment as associates.
• Overall, 11% of offices reported furloughs or layoffs for at least some of their talent, recruiting, professional development, or diversity and inclusion staff.
Key findings for law schools include:
• Overall, about half of schools (51%) have established 2L OCI dates for recruiting the Class of 2022 for summer 2021 programs. Public schools were more likely to have already established their OCI dates (60%), as well as those in the Mid-Atlantic region (68%), and those with a JD enrollment size of over 750 students (75%).
• Of those schools that have established 2L OCI dates, the vast majority (85%) have changed their OCI dates.
• For those schools that have changed their OCI dates (which were all originally scheduled to begin in July or August 2020), most (71%) are now scheduled to begin in January 2021, with February 2021 being the
second most highly reported start month (21%).
• Nearly all schools (95%) reported that they provided their students with additional opportunities to obtain practical skills due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with research opportunities (89%) being the most frequently reported.

NALP is an association of more than 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond. What brings NALP members together is a common belief in three fundamental things. First, all law students and lawyers should benefit from a fair and ethical hiring process. Second, law students and lawyers are more successful when supported by professional development and legal career professionals. Third, a diverse and inclusive legal profession best serves clients and our communities. Read more about the survey results at www.nalp.org/2020_pulse_surveys.

 

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