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Law Schools Increasing Efforts To Help With Job Placement

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
July 27, 2009

More law schools are trying to assist students looking for jobs in a brutal job market by increasing hires, casting a wider net for job opportunities and offering more advice.

In response to a greater need for job counseling from alumni, the UCLA School of Law is reviewing applications for a new alumni counselor position. "We have always counseled alumni in our office," explained Beth Moeller, assistant dean for career services, who was quoted in Law.com. "But with the market, we are seeing an increase in demand from alumni as well as students."

Similarly, UC-Berkeley School of Law is currently searching for two career counselors despite a campus hiring freeze. In a May letter to students and alumni, Dean Christopher Edley Jr. remarked that the institution was determined to "assure 100 percent employment of our graduating students, despite the difficult market."

Some schools are looking for job opportunities in places they didn't consider before. At UC-Davis School of Law, for example, career services director Mindy Baggish plans to visit smaller and midsize general practice firms in California as well as outside the state.

That strategy was echoed in other schools as well."If you are looking in D.C., consider Baltimore or Richmond," said Mark Weber, assistant dean for career services at Harvard University Law School, who was quoted by Bloomberg.com. "If you're looking in Chicago, try Milwaukee and St. Louis, too. You need to be casting a wider net in this market."

Law schools are also dispensing advice to discouraged students. In New York, the Nassau County Bar Association and Hofstra University Law School recently hosted a speaker series intended to give job seekers an edge. Presenters offered tips on how lawyers can aggressively market themselves so that they can be seen as assets to firms.

"You have to think how you can create and develop relationships so that when opportunities do arise, you are the person they think of," said speaker Ari Kaplan, author of "The Opportunity Maker, Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development," who was quoted in Long Island Business News.

Brett Gilbert, assistant dean for career services at Touro College Law School, noted that students definitely need to be more aggressive when seeking summer jobs and need to be proactive during their internships.

"They just can't sit back and wait for work to come to them," he said. "They really have to show they want to be involved and want to be part of the employer's culture. They have to do what they can so that they are remembered."

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