Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Law schools establish "employer outreach" programs in effort to take a more proactive approach to finding students jobs

The National Law Journal reports a new trend among law schools; they are hiring career services personnel whose job it is to proactively approach and establish relationships with potential employers with the hope that it will result in more student jobs.  Indeed, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has already created an "employer outreach" section that boasts 300 members.  Gone are the days when many law schools could count on scores, if not hundreds, of employers showing up on campus eager to recruit students for summer and full time jobs.  Instead, these employer outreach personnel are going to employers trying to convince them to hire their students, even if the initial position is only an unpaid internship.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

It's Their Job to Find the Jobs for Law Students

Thomas Carpenter, general counsel of the American Federation of TeleĀ­vision and Radio Artists, doubted he had time to oversee a law student extern when Jill Backer, associate director of employer relations at Brooklyn Law School, came calling in 2007.

 

Her visit paid off: Carpenter has hosted an extern from the law school every semester since and offered two of them full-time jobs.

 

Backer has been a pioneer in direct outreach to employers since arriving at Brooklyn Law in 2002. These days, she has plenty of company. The two-year-old Employer Outreach Section of NALP (the National Association for Law Placement) is the organization's fastest growing arm, now boasting about 300 members.

 

"I think that's a reflection of the growing importance of employer outreach in law schools," said section chairman Chris Smith, assistant dean for career services at Elon University School of Law.

 

"Legal recruiting shifted with the recession," he said. "The traditional model of law schools being able to depend on alumni, for example, to generate recruiting activity, changed. Law schools recognized that they needed to be more proactive in going out and creating and reinforcing recruiting relationships with legal employers of various types."

 

Since the 2008 recession, when large law firms cut back on new associate hiring, roughly two dozen law schools have created positions like Backer's that focus exclusively on employer relations rather than student career counseling. Many more have given employer-relations duties to their existing career services staff.

 

. . . .

In line with the level of interest, NALP is developing a set of best practices for employer outreach as members share notes about what works and what doesn't, Smith said. In flusher times, law schools could wait for legal recruiters to come to them, but those days have passed. Schools understand that they need to go directly to employers, said Donna Davis, assistant dean of career development at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland.

 

The school takes a national approach: Each year, it polls students about the top three locations where they would like to practice, along with favored practice areas. The staff then creates an outreach schedule. Those trips might include alumni receptions or small dinners with employers, Davis said. Her office has made 140 employer outreach visits during the past year. "In the past, you did some employer outreach, mostly locally," Davis said. "Every now and then you would go somewhere regionally. But now we go to California, New York, Boston, Chicago and Texas. We're covering the country, and I think that's really different from five years ago."


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