It wasn’t long ago that news spread of more Biglaw firms considering deferrals for their entering first-year associate classes in the wake of Gunderson and Cooley being the first to do so. After all, demand is expected to increase at the start of the new year, and many firms are eager to start their new associates off on the right foot — especially associates in corporate practices.
We know that firms aren’t looking forward to announcing these deferrals, but it looks like that time has come.
According to a source at Fenwick & West — a firm that brought in $750,435,000 gross revenue in 2022, putting it in 66th place in the most recent Am Law 100 — a memo (available on the next page) was sent to incoming associates on May 30, offering information on their start dates. Per that memo, Fenwick, a leading firm for the technology sector, is deferring the start date of its first-year corporate and technology transactions associates to January 16, 2024, while its entry-level litigation and tax associates will be starting on October 16, 2023.
As noted in the memo, incoming associates in the firm’s corporate and tech transactions practices will receive a $15,000 stipend to assist with their living costs during their deferral. As noted previously, Cooley is offering a $10,000 stipend to its deferred incoming associates, so Fenwick is already ahead of the game when it comes to providing financial security to those who find themselves unexpectedly out of work.
The firm did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
Best of luck to those impacted by Fenwick’s deferral decision.
(Flip to the next page to read the full memo from Fenwick.)
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Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.