Employment leaders follow the hiring trends, and prepare their students

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on most industry’s and law is no exception. But while experts predict that legal employment hiring will slow in many practice areas, other specialties are expected to grow, something that the law schools with the best employment rates watch closely. 

“I think there will be an increased demand for professionals trained in law and the administrative process,” said Ray English, Assistant Dean of the Office of Career and Employment Services at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State.

English specifically points to compliance and sports law. 

“With changes in the rules and law relating to student-athletes being able to earn revenue, and the impact that will have on other rules relating to amateur sports,” he said. 

Jayne Schreiber, Assistant Dean of Career Planning at Fordham University School of Law in New York, also follows the latest employment trends. 

“I have been speaking to alumni in areas that we believe will only get busier as a result of the pandemic and the economic downturn,” Schreiber said. “Areas like bankruptcy law, labor and employment law, matrimonial law, internet law and child advocacy, to name a few. Also, of course, health law will probably be an area that will be very busy as well.”

Those are just some of the areas that career counselors are focused on during the pandemic. While law school career counselors stay on top of marketplace trends, its equally as important for them to know their students, including the types of work each student enjoys and to give students the opportunities to develop the skills they will need for those careers. 

“Once they figure that out, we help students identify jobs that require those skills to be successful, which may include positions in several different practice areas,” English said. “Once they determine one or two practice areas of interest, we advise students on what types of experiences they may want to have on their resumes to put them in a competitive position.”

ASU starts creating pathways to post-graduation employment for its students prior to their first semester. In July, newly admitted students are sent an online assessment that evaluates law areas that might be of interest to the student.

As first-year students, they participate in a professional development seminar, and the schools helps them put their best foot forward by helping students with resumes and cover letters  

“We also work to prepare students for interviews, ensuring they are versed in best practices for summer positions,” English said. 

Schreiber said Fordham University prepares students through clinics, journals, and student-run organizations, to name a few opportunities. But its alumni may be its greatest strength when it comes to employment. 

“We truly have what we call ‘The Network Effect.’ Our alumni, numbering over 21,000 and working in over 80 countries around the globe, really care about our students and want to do everything they can to assist them as they head into the marketplace,” Schreiber said.

“For students who wish to start practice in a smaller law firm setting, they can find connections in that market through our Small to Medium Sized Firm Alumni Council,”  Schreiber said. “And, for those students who wish to pursue a post-graduate judicial clerkship, our new Center for Judicial Events & Clerkships was created to assist them.”

Arizona State also has programs designed to help students get jobs. Three years ago it started a program called the 3L Residency Externship Program. The school recruits employers who commit to hiring a third-year student for the fall and spring semester.

“Since starting this program, 100 percent of participants have been employed within 10 months of graduation, 70 percent had offers of employment at graduation, and 60 percent were employed by their externship employer,” English said.

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