I’m Nervous My Offer Will Be Rescinded


QI am a 3L at a lower Tier-1 school. I summered at a Vault 100 firm last summer and received an offer to return as an associate after I graduate, which I accepted. With firms announcing associate layoffs, I am concerned that firms will start to rescind offers for incoming associates.

Is there anything I can do to hedge against this hopefully unlikely possibility? Would it be unethical to apply for jobs with other firms or the government after I’ve accepted my offer and have no evidence that my firm intends to rescind offers? Or do I just have to sit on my offer and hope for the best?

AUnethical? Do you read the news? The governor of Illinois tried to sell Obama’s US Senate seat. NY “super lawyer,” Marc Dreier, is accused of defrauding his clients and others out of $380 million. Bernie Madoff, the former chairman of the NASDAQ, is alleged to have operated a ponzi scheme with losses estimated at $50 billion. You think anyone’s really going to give a shit about some law student trying to protect himself against the possibility of his entry-level job evaporating before next fall? Sure, you’re probably violating some NALP standard, but I think you’ll avoid jail time, so long as you don’t actually lie in your interviews about the offer you already have.

If you want to spend your last year of law school freaking out all over again about resumes and cover letters and interviews, knock yourself out. Personally, I’d try not to sweat it too much. Times are certainly tough, but most Big Firms had already factored in a healthy dose of pessimism when they made their ‘09 offers back in August. There’s no doubt that some of those firms will rescind offers between now and the fall. But they’re the exception, not the rule. Pulling an offer is something that a Vault 100 firm will do just about anything to avoid. (Well, anything short of reducing profits per equity partner.) The very few firms that went down that path during the last recession still bear the reputational scar, and typically offered something sweet to soften the blow anyhow (a few months pay, deferred start date, etc.).

Unless you have some particular reason to think that your firm isn’t going to make good on its offer, you can probably afford to chill out a bit.

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Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

18 Comments

  1. BL1Y

    December 17, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Send holiday greeting cards to any partners and associates you did significant work with over the summer, as well as anyone in the recruiting department that works with the summer associates.

  2. Anon

    December 17, 2008 at 10:00 am

    That’s a stupid idea L1Y.  Ass kissing won’t ensure the offer doesn’t get rescinded.  JUST ASK the hiring coordinator!

  3. BL1Y

    December 17, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Anon: Your mental capacities appear severely limited.  Letters to partners, recruiting staff, etc will move your name lower on the list if any offers get revoked.  If some people have to be let go, it’s easier to get rid of someone you can barely remember working with.  A nice holiday card will make revoking your offer more personal and unpleasant, so they’re a bit more likely to take it from someone else if they have to.  You can buy a pack of greeting cards pretty cheap, and then just write in a short note (especially if it will remind them of who you are, because they’ve probably forgotten).  It’s not perfect, but nothing short of quickly building a book of business can ensure you’ll keep your offer.

  4. Associate

    December 17, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    That’s the dumbest, most annoying, brownnosing, asskissing thing I’ve ever heard. If you did that I would vote to lay you off first as the annoying asskissing type of person noone will want to work with in the future.  Do not do that!

  5. 3rd Year

    December 17, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I agree with Associate!  A xmas card from a summer would make me want to fire him or her on the spot.  Shameless ass-sucking isn’t the way to get or keep a job.  BL1Y, do you even work at a real firm?

  6. Anonymous

    December 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Go easy on the poor schnook; he’s offering up an idea.  And he’s only a first year associate.  At some point, your shit stank, too.

  7. Del Vermo

    December 18, 2008 at 6:09 am

    At least you are offering ideas, but I’d view cards as ass-kissing and be more inclined to move him up on the “pull the offer list.” That’s just me – I’m a bastard and I hate law students.

  8. BL1Y

    December 18, 2008 at 8:24 am

    In my defense, sending a partner a holiday card is not nearly as dumb as calling the firm and asking if they’re planning to rescind your offer.  It seems though that partners hate the FNGs more than I expected.  I usually get along well with them.  Maybe because they like to live vicariously through my sexual exploits.  If you suspect the partners would view this as just annoying ass-kissing, then sure, don’t do it.  But what about the recruiting coordinator (or whatever your firm calls her)?  She’s more likely to be appreciative than annoyed, and though she doesn’t really have a vote on who they let go, you can get she’s part of the discussion.

  9. Anonymous

    December 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    BL1Y- what are you talking about–living vicariously thru your sexual exploits?  The partners are fully capable of jerking off on their own.  They need not think of you sticking your weenie into an electrical socket to get a charge.  I hardly think your sexual exploits are interesting, let alone worth mentioning here, unless, of course, you are looking for some ugly woman to bone.

  10. BL1Y

    December 19, 2008 at 7:19 am

    @3:09:  Yes, I’m aware they don’t really care that much about who I stick little BL1Y into.  Although, I’ve noticed the male European associates are really interested, to the point of being creepy.  And though my exploits aren’t really worth cataloging, some of them are at least interesting.  One time I brought a girl home, had sex with her, threw her underwear away, and had sex with her again, then got her underwear out of the trash, and sent her home.  That’s an okay story.

  11. Anonymous

    December 19, 2008 at 10:01 am

    That story bites.  You had sex with someone, and returned her underwear so she could leave.  It would have been better if you had sex with her in a car while driving, threw her clothes out the window, and then became her hero (receiving perpetual blowjobs) by NOT throwing her out of the car after you were spent.

  12. BL1Y

    December 19, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I should add that her underwear was soaked in wine.

  13. Anonymous

    December 19, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Now that makes some difference.  Don’t quit your day job at the law.  Jay Leno has nothing to worry about.  In the meantime, it’s the holiday season.  Go out and get laid.

  14. BL1Y

    December 19, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Go out and get laid?  I’m already dating someone.  I think I’ll just stay in and get laid.

  15. Anonymous

    December 19, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I’m sure she’s just longing for that “hot-rod” of yours.  If such is the case, what in the devil are your fingers doing on the keyboard?  Methinks something is rotten in the state of denmark, as well as between that women’s legs.

  16. Lawman

    December 21, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    good question I had the same one.

  17. Billy G.

    December 21, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Send some honey baked hams.  They are so delicious.

  18. Bitterer

    January 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Getting your offer revoked would be the best thing that could possibly happen to you in the long run.  Do anything else and don’t look back.

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