Thursday, August 4, 2011

Texas law deans weigh-in on how to prepare students for a tough job market

From the Texas Lawyer:

Texas Lawyer: What is your law school doing now to prepare students for the tough job market?

Faye Bracey, assistant dean for career services, St. Mary's University School of Law: We are doing a number of things to prepare our students for the job market. This includes continuing traditional methods of career placement such as on-campus interviews and résumé collects as well as expanding programming throughout the year. We are constantly working to get our students in front of employers; for example, we have tripled the number of job fairs we sponsor in the spring and dramatically increased the participants in our leader-to-leader initiative and our judicial clerkship program resulting in increased job placement at graduation. In addition, we have revamped our internship/externship program and are currently hiring a full-time coordinator for this program.

Darby Dickerson Dean, Texas Tech: Texas Tech provides realistic information to students and potential students by discussing the challenging job market. The Career Services Center provides one-on-one counseling to students about career objectives, provides job acquisition skills training, and provides career choice information to students throughout the law school experience. Recently, the number and variety of these programs has been strengthened and reinforced. The career choice programs include significant focus on alternative careers and opening solo law practices within the state. Texas Tech Law offers dual-degree programs and certificate programs that expand the expertise of the graduate and more directly prepare graduates for specific job types. [The] Texas Tech Law Career Services Center has undertaken employer outreach programs to assure that Tech law graduates enjoy an opportunity to compete for jobs in Texas and beyond.

Donald J. Guter, president and dean, South Texas College of Law:  [W]e believe that the best way to deal with the surplus is to make our graduates the best prepared to compete in this market. Thus, we have incorporated into our new strategic plan the following objectives: to create and continuously improve learning opportunities for diverse practice areas to take our students from theory to practice (the term practice-ready is often used) while sustaining the breadth of our curriculum; to create and continuously refine the learning outcomes for individual courses; to embed skills and values education throughout the law school experience; to develop faculty in terms of diversity and substantive areas of the law that will enhance our reputation; to educate our students about career choices, opportunities and resources from the beginning of their relationship with South Texas; and to enlist our alumni in all phases of the law school to maximize opportunities to network and to find mentors. . . .

Raymond T. Nimmer, dean, University of Houston Law Center: We have expanded our skills training programs and increased our career development office by over 40 [percent] in the last [one-and-a-half] years. We have expanded our public service fellowship program by over 100 [percent] from three years ago and created what we describe as an apprenticeship course (involving over 40 students) focused on individual externship placements with small law firms, which are burgeoning in the Houston area. We revised our first-year curriculum and are reviewing our third-year requirements to ensure that all graduates receive exposure to needed skills and theoretical concepts for the use of their law degree. We do a variety of events involving outreach to potential employers in other parts of Texas for our graduates.

Read what they say about the lawyer glut, transparency in reporting recent grad employment stats and how their own grads are faring in the job market by clicking here.

Hat tip to ATL.


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