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Monday, February 24, 2014

NLJ: Law School Placement Offices Focus More on Employer Relations, Not Just Student Career Counseling

Employer RelationsNational Law Journal:  It's Their Job to Find the Jobs for Law Students, by Karen Sloan:

Since the 2008 recession, when large law firms cut back on new associate hiring, roughly two dozen law schools have created positions ... 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. ... 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." ...

The way law schools handle employer relations varies. ... For big-name law schools that steer high percentages of graduates into associate jobs at large firms, employer relations might entail coordinating on-campus interviews. Many ­lower-tier law schools target small and midsized law firms, government offices and corporate legal departments.

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