The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has rescinded offers to 12 incoming attorneys who were set to start in the fall, according to hiring committee head Kathleen McDonnell.
The 300-attorney office typically sees about 10% attrition each year, which enables it to bring in a class of up to 35 people. But in this latest fiscal year, only two people left.
The class set to come in this fall was already smaller, with eight of the office’s interns receiving offers around October 2008, and another four external candidates receiving offers in December.
District Attorney Lynne Abraham did away with the informal three-year commitment policy in which all attorneys are asked to stay for at least three years and would need a valid reason to leave before that time was up. McDonnell said, “Nobody even bit.”
McDonnell said that, given the dire state of the city’s financial outlook, it became clear that the smaller class size, delayed start dates and loosening of the three-year commitment policy were not going to be enough to justify bringing in any new attorneys.
The office contacted the 12 attorneys last week by phone to let them know of the decision, and an official letter was sent out this week.
McDonnell said that she made calls to other district attorney’s offices in the area. While many of them have hiring freezes in place, they can hire if a vacancy opens up, and a few of the offices seemed very interested in taking on some of the candidates.