BY JENNY PAUL
A change in the Harvard Law School academic calendar for 2011-12 will bring rising 2Ls back to campus by early August, while many 3Ls will bask in the glow of a 19-week summer vacation.
The 2011 Early Interview Program, designed to facilitate law firm hiring of Harvard 2Ls for the summer of 2012, will be held from Aug. 15-19, one week earlier than in 2010. Flyout week — a weeklong respite from class in September in which students scheduled callback interviews with out-of-town law firms — has been eliminated. Instead, upper-level courses will begin Sept. 12, and students will be expected to complete their callback interviews before the start of classes.
The reasons for changing the hiring schedule and academic calendar were twofold, said Assistant Dean for Career Services Mark Weber. With the change, students will get a “leg up” on the job market without an interview week that disrupts their class and learning schedules, he said.
“We said, if we could move the interviews up a week and students could get their callback interviews done before classes, they’d get the best of both worlds,” Weber said.
Weber noted that Harvard Law students have been successful in securing employment no matter when EIP and flyout week were scheduled.
“We just think this will be even better for our students,” he said. Weber also said the callback interview schedule will be more flexible for students and employers, who can choose to schedule the second-round interviews in either August or early September.
Weber said he spoke with student leaders, administrators, and faculty before finalizing the change, and they voiced support for the new schedule. Law firm recruiters have also been supportive of the change, Weber said, though he noted that firms would rather have all law schools schedule interview programs later in the year, closer to when the firms will actually be utilizing the summer classes they hire.
“I think in a perfect world, law firms would prefer that all of the hiring was done outside of August, but we’re not in a perfect world, and, quite candidly, they understood why we made the change,” he said. “The consistent message I’ve heard from employers is, ‘We’ll make the necessary adjustments, because we want to hire from Harvard.'”
Hiring data from the 2010 EIP program and information on the 2011 program will be available later in the spring semester, Weber said. He cautioned that first-year students do not have to worry about planning for their EIP experience yet.
“We haven’t spent a lot of time other than letting students know the [EIP] dates, because it shouldn’t be a priority of theirs right now,” Weber said. “They should be getting re-acclimated to school, focusing on their studies, learning about all the different things they can do with a law degree, and then we can start focusing on the summer.”