Your legal career begins the day you step onto campus, so it’s never too early to begin thinking about where you want to be upon graduation. The Center for Professional Development & Career Strategies is here to assist you as you pursue your dreams and goals. Our dedicated staff can help you develop the skills you need to apply your education and launch a satisfying future career.
Students should spend the beginning of their first semester focusing on their classes. After Nov. 1, first-year students may contact the center to begin planning for a summer position.
For second-year full-time and third-year part-time students:
Depending on the area of law, some second-year full-time and third-year part-time students may need to start looking for summer employment as early as the July prior to the start of fall semester. Students should stay informed by reading the fall recruitment packet, emailed to students each summer.
For third-year full-time and fourth-year part-time students:
Students are encouraged to meet with a career advisor in the spring prior to the start of their final year or during the fall of their final year to discuss their particular career options and job search timeline.
The center helps students looking to begin their careers in other cities and states by networking with alumni in those locations to identify potential summer clerkships and post-graduation opportunities. We also participate in several national job fairs. In addition, we continuously market the quality of our student body to employers throughout the country.
More than 50 employers participate in our fall early and traditional on-campus interviewing program for second- and third-year students. Many other employers participate in our spring on-campus interviewing program and job fairs for first-, second- and third-year students, which can lead to summer employment.
We strongly encourage students and alumni who are interested in alternative careers to work with one of our career advisors. Doing so will help you identify potential career paths that match your interests and skills.
For students who are interested in the courts, clerkships give the opportunity to watch trials and appellate actions from the judge's side of the bench and to become familiar with a variety of practice areas. This vantage point is otherwise uncommon for legal counsel, unless they are fortunate enough to become elected or appointed to the bench.
Even students or recent graduates who don’t intend to pursue litigation as a career path find the experience valuable because it provides the opportunity to do intensive research and writing under the supervision of an experienced jurist. The research, writing and critical-thinking skills developed during a clerkship are much sought after by all types of employers.
Be certain, however, that you can readily afford the cost of a dual degree in terms of time and money. A dual degree doesn’t always translate into improved marketability; nor will it necessarily help you command a higher salary at graduation.
Perhaps the least effective reason to pursue a dual degree is to "keep my options open." Students should do the hard work of career exploration and self-assessment early before spending an additional year (and thousands of dollars) to defer an inevitable decision.
For the eight months after the bar exam (August through March), Center for Professional Development & Career Strategies professionals are available to work intensively with those members of the most recent graduating class still seeking employment. By the end of that seven-month period, the great majority of these job seekers also find employment.
Part-Time and Evening Students
Some evening students have saved up vacation time for short internships, taken special leave from their employers, or found internship positions with scheduling flexibility. For example, many legal research jobs don’t require students to work on site every day.
We encourage evening students who work full time to schedule an in-person or phone counseling appointment with one of our career advisors or full-time professionals. Our office is open until 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters for evening students.
Some evening students explore possible opportunities for legal work or other advancement with their current employers. Others choose nontraditional careers that combine the use of the J.D. with some pre-existing expertise. Keep in mind that the largest salaries for entry-level associates are paid by large law firms, which prefer to hire out of their summer programs.
The center can assist by talking with students about how to handle the issue of age in an interview or other situations and by educating employers about the value that older students bring to the workplace.