ASU starts law firm to employ, train recent grads

Arizona State University is the latest school to launch a program designed to hire and mentor recent graduates.
The Law Group will be a stand-alone, nonprofit firm, modeled after a teaching hospital. It will be a full-service, fee-based institution that will provide legal services to clients, focusing on those who cannot afford to pay current market rates.

It is designed to prepare recent graduates to move from the classroom to practice by using experienced attorneys as supervisors.
“There is no question that law schools need to rethink their role in preparing students for legal careers,” said Dean Douglas Sylvester. “In a market where many are calling for systemic legal reform, we at ASU are not waiting for others to change — we are changing how we educate and mentor lawyers right now, and are doing so in a way that makes sense for our graduates and for Arizona.”

The firm will be comprised of four to five litigation and transactional practice groups, with five recent College of Law graduates serving as associates in each, for terms of up to three years. The groups will each be overseen by supervising attorneys. In addition to providing on-the-job training, the firm will provide formal training to junior lawyers on substantive areas of law, essential skills, and client development and retention. The firm will hire about 10 ASU law graduates per year for a total of 30 associates at any one time.

“The ASU Alumni Law Group represents the next stage in the evolution of legal education,” Sylvester said. “This firm will bridge the gap between law school and practice by providing graduates with real-world training in a supportive teaching environment. Associates who go through this program will be well positioned to compete for a wide variety of legal jobs.”