Experience the Office of Professional and Career Development

Experience the Office of Professional and Career Development

November 6, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


[music playing] The mission of the Professional Development
Office is an educational mission. We’re here to work with the students to provide them
with the professionalism skills, the job search skills, and really the interpersonal skills,
in some ways, that make them successful in the job market and in their careers. As a student progresses through their legal
studies, and eventually their legal career, we help them out in a variety of different
ways. Whether it’s helping them figure out what they want to do with their law degree,
to which career they want to pursue going forward, to helping them find summer internships,
even right down to helping them pick out classes that will best fit and be tailored to their
future career goals. College of Law grads can have many career
paths. Our grads are in public service, they have public interest careers, they also work
for law firms, and we also have a lot of graduates who are in non-legal careers in fields such
as compliance and business consulting. The great thing about a degree here is that
you can take it where you want to go. It can lead you in so many directions. We have a
vice president who is an alum, we have a dean of a law school who is an alum, we have people
who work as small town lawyers, the largest law firms, bankruptcy litigators, corporate
dealmakers, district attorneys, county attorneys… It’s a really great degree with a great network
of people that can really help you build the career that you’re looking for. We certainly have an internally-facing role,
where the students are our main focus. But we also have to have an external-facing role,
where we deal with employers, professional organizations, and our alumni on a regular
basis. So it really gives us the best of both worlds, so we can connect those two groups.
We start relationships with students that really last throughout their career. Because of the national reputation of the
university, we have graduates all over the country, and really all over the world. In any given year we’ll have students — new
graduates — take 24 different bar exams and perhaps work in 44 to 50 different markets. Our office is designed to facilitate job searches
on a nationwide and worldwide scale. Using our vast alumni network, we connect students
with practicing attorneys in their desired geographic markets. The Professional Development Office tries
to make a concerted effort to incorporate networking into each and everything that we
do, whether it’s programming or one-on-one counselling sessions. We have a great program called Connect for
your Future, where work with student leaders to help the 1Ls learn how to network with
alumni. And we bring back a great group of alumni, working with our advancement office.
We also do small programs. Sometimes its a lunch where they get to talk to an alum who
has the career they hope to have some day. We try to engage alumni and employers by going
out and visiting them, as well. These visits often yield valuable information, such as
what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Sometimes we even get some inside information
on the interviewing process. So, we try to engage them on a variety of different levels,
whether it’s incorporating them into all of our programming, or visiting them to hopefully
lead to job sources for students. The Office of Professional and Career Development
has a a lot of strategies for engaging with employers. Post attorneys work in small law
firms, and so that’s a market that we really have to work hard to engage and reach out
to. They don’t hire all the time, so we find ourselves trying to meet new lawyers as often
as we can. We also work with our alumni base. A lot of our alumni are very committed to
helping the students and the new graduates of the College of Law as they develop their
own careers. [music playing]