The industry was already expecting and seeing a fundamental shift in the handling of summer associate classes, but the numbers from American Lawyer's Summer Hiring Survey still pack a punch. In 2010, 1,791 summer associates received offers while 2,679 had the year before; also, 56 firms made fewer offers and just 16 made more before 2010 and 2009. As the article explains, a significant factor was the fact that summer classes were smaller “across the board.” Large and prominent firms account for some of the largest dips, such as Skadden, which extended 66 percent fewer offers, from 207 to 71. As for the size of this year’s classes: “the firms surveyed, on average, had slightly fewer summer associates this year than last.”

Fried Frank was one of the firms to show a sizable increase, from 35 to 53 offers. Interestingly, summer associates were offered jobs at a better rate in 2010 than 2009, though that's because the 2010 class sizes were so small. NALP executive director James Leipold, quoted in the article, was hesitant to speculate about this year’s offers, but expected most firms to remain conservative.