Things Are Tough All Over

Welcome summer associates, to the extent there still are any at South Florida firms this year. Weiss Serota did away with their program completely. Squire Sanders is down to four, Holland & Knight has just eight lucky souls this summer, Hunton & Williams is down to four, and GT only has nine, down from 12. But don’t worry, the economy has nothing to do with it:

Other law firm leaders say their programs are slightly smaller than last year but deny it’s because of the slowdown, which is generally recognized as a recession in Florida.
shim-5701827Greenberg Traurig plans to hire nine summer associates in South Florida this year, down from 12 last summer. The firm’s program is down to 64 this year from 88 last summer.


Cesar Alvarez, the firm’s chief executive officer, said Greenberg began planning the cutback last year before the slowdown became apparent.
shim-5701827“As a firm that ‘hires to keep,’ we made the decision prior to the 2007 on-campus recruiting season,” he said.

See, all you summer newbies, that’s one of the first lessons to learn about your firm — they always lie about finances! Of course it’s about the finances, what else could it be about? DBR reporter Alana Roberts does the math:

The reduction in summer associate programs could be a reflection of the financial performance of some South Florida law firms.
shim-5701827The gross revenue of Hunton & Williams’ Miami office dropped 7 percent to $39 million in the year ended March 31, a far cry from the 15 percent growth it experienced the year before.


Bilzin Sumberg gross revenue was up 3 percent to $68.1 million last year, down from a growth rate of 23 percent the year before.


Holland & Knight, which had nine summer associates in Miami last year, plans to have eight this year. Gross revenue was up 2.5 percent to $97.1 million last year in the firm’s South Florida offices compared with $95 million in 2006.

Here’s some more interesting background facts to get you oriented to life in South Florida nowadays: we can’t afford to pay public defenders to defend most felony cases anymore; Miami-Dade’s tax base has declined for the first time in decades, which will lead to cuts in essential services (don’t forget, Weiss Serota represents local governments!); and the state court system is about to lay off 222 jobs, including many in the 3d DCA and the Miami-Dade circuit courts:

“We’ve never had layoffs before, so we’re trying to adjust to it,” said David M. Gersten, chief judge in the 3rd DCA. “We’re trying to make it business as usual as much as possible.”
Miami-Dade Chief Judge Joseph P. Farina said he would not have a clear picture of the effect of the budget cuts until today. Miami-Dade courts are losing the most full-time positions in the state at 27.75.

So yeah, when you hear otherwise good guy Robert Vaughn sell you this line:

“We decided several years ago from a philosophical standpoint we were not going to have those mega-summer programs,” Vaughan said. “Our position has always been we’re going to hire as many summers as we have [full-time] spaces to fill next year. Werith that in mind, our program has always been lean but very competitive to get into.”

Just chock Robert’s spin up to being a good corporate soldier, enjoy your firm weekend trip to beautiful Paul S. Walker Park, and have fun at Mickey D’s when the firm decides to “treat” you to lunch.