The New York Lawyer has a report about revisions NALP has made to its "Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities." The guidelines, while not binding, are followed by most firms. One big change is that instead of listing a deadline by which students must accept or decline summer offers (formerly October 15), the revised guidelines now give students 45 days to accept or decline an offer. Driving the change was the fact that many firms (and schools) were starting their interview processes earlier--with the result that offers were being held open up to four months. That's a long time. The article can be accessed here (you may need to register with the New York Lawyer to read the article, but registration is free). NALP's revised guidelines are posted online here. Both are worth reading.
The New York Lawyer article is (as usual) a piece of very good reporting. But I do take issue with the first sentence: "Starting next fall, law students will need to think fast when choosing which offer to accept for a summer associate job, due to a change in timing guidelines." 45 days? Think fast? Hmmm. Hardly my definition of an "exploding offer." I' ve received exploding offers before, and they were nothing like 45 days in length. That's 6 1/2 weeks! Good sensationalism, though. Draws you in and makes you read. Worked on me.
And it is an interesting--and needed--change to hiring practices. This will make it easier for firms to know how many slots they have left for summer hiring, since they won't need to hold slots open for a bunch of "maybe" candidates who are sitting on offers for a long time. That actually should help other students, since firms will know, on a rolling basis, who is accepting and who is declining, and spots will open up more quickly. So it seems like a good balance between giving students sufficient time to make up their minds--more than sufficient, really--and allowing firms to have some sense of definiteness regarding the size of their summer classes.