The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) was organized in 1971 to promote the exchange of information and cooperation between law schools and employers. In order to advance those interests, the Association has developed these “Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities.”
The NALP “Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities” were first adopted in 1978. Part V, “Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions,” was derived from “Interviewing Procedures for Law Students and Prospective Employers,” a set of guidelines originally adopted in the early 1960s by a group of law schools meeting under the auspices of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Subsequent modifications were adopted in 1985, 1988, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
The “Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities” are organized as follows:
Principles for Law Schools
Principles for Candidates
Principles for Employers
General Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions
NALP encourages law schools and legal employers to educate all participants in the law placement and recruitment process about the spirit and the letter of these Principles and Standards. NALP urges all participants in the law student recruitment process, including members and non-members of NALP, to abide by these Principles and Standards. These Principles and Standards are designed to empower law schools, legal employers, and law student candidates (“candidates”) to self govern based on the concepts set forth below. NALP expects such governance will be managed with the highest regard for the best interest of all involved parties.
Successful recruitment and placement of law students requires cooperation and good judgment from three groups — law schools, candidates, and employers. These Principles and Standards provide concrete guidelines for each group. Nothing in the Principles and Standards is intended to alter any legal relationships among the participants, but participants are urged to carry out all obligations in good faith.
Activities related to the placement and hiring of law students should be conducted on the highest ethical and professional level. Timely exchange of accurate information is essential. Recruitment activities should be scheduled so as to minimize interference with students’ academic work.
Underlying these guidelines for ethical behavior is NALP’s fundamental commitment to helping to make the legal profession accessible to all individuals on a non-discriminatory basis, free of harassment. NALP is strongly opposed to discrimination which is based upon sex, actual or perceived gender, age, race, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, parental, marital, domestic partner, civil union, military, or veteran status, or the prejudice of clients related to such matters.
In addition to abiding by these guidelines, all parties concerned with placement and hiring should observe strictly all relevant laws, accreditation standards and institutional policies. A law school may deny use of its career services facilities to students and employers who fail to adhere to these Principles and Standards. If unusual circumstances or particular organizational constraints require a law school, a candidate, or an employer to modify any provision herein, every effort should be made to find an alternative acceptable to all parties concerned.
Law schools should make career planning services available to all students.
Law schools should subscribe to and promote practices that protect their students’ legal rights.
Law schools should educate students as to proper career investigation techniques and protocol.
Students’ freedom of choice in career decisions should be protected from undue influences.
Law schools should develop and maintain productive working relationships with a broad range of employers.
Law schools should establish adequate procedures to facilitate recruitment by employers.
Law schools should establish and implement practices to ensure the fair and accurate representation of students and the institution in the employment search process.
Candidates should prepare thoroughly for the employment search process.
Throughout the employment search process candidates should represent their qualifications and interests fully and accurately.
Throughout the employment search process candidates should conduct themselves in a professional manner.
Candidates should notify employers and their office of career services of their acceptance or rejection of employment offers by the earliest possible time, and no later than the time established by rule, custom, or agreement.
Candidates should honor their employment commitments.
Students should promptly report to the office of career services any misrepresentation, discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, or other inappropriate conduct by employers in the employment process.
Students who engage in law-related employment should adhere to the same standards of conduct as lawyers.
Employers should maintain productive working relationships with law schools.
Employers should respect the policies, procedures, and legal obligations of individual law schools and should request only services or information that are consistent therewith.
Employers should provide full and accurate information about the organization and the positions for which recruitment is being conducted.
Employer organizations are responsible for the conduct of their recruiters and for any representation made by them.
Employers should use valid, job related criteria when evaluating candidates.
Employers should refrain from any activity that may adversely affect the ability of candidates to make an independent and considered decision.
An employer should honor all commitments made on its behalf.
In November 2016, the Board adopted changes to Part V.C.3. and Part V.D.1&2.
To promote fair and ethical practices for the interviewing and decision-making process, NALP offers the following standards for the timing of offers and decisions:
Full-Time Employment Provisions
Summer Employment Provisions for Second and Third Year Students
Summer Employment Provisions for First Year Students