We’ve been keeping track of law schools that are coming up with new programs to help their graduates navigate the terrible job market. Even if these measures help a law school (a) keep its “employed upon graduation” statistic high or (b) make money, law students need all the help they can get right now.
The administration of the University of Michigan Law School availed themselves of the quiet time after graduation to come up with some new programs:
With exams behind us and the new class of summer starters now on campus, we anticipate a busy and productive academic year ahead. However, these are not ordinary times in our world, as we face a continued global recession and uncertain legal employment landscape; it is not “business as usual.” These times require a proactive and strategic effort on the part of the whole Law School community, and so I write to update you on some of the work the Law School has undertaken to mitigate the negative consequences of the economic downturn for Michigan Law students, as well as offer some guidance on how best to approach employment searches for 2009/2010.
It’s certainly a better use of their time than fending off FOIA requests. The law school announced a slew of new programs aimed at recent graduates and rising 2Ls and 3Ls.
Additional details after the jump.
There are four main initiatives Michigan law students can look forward to:
* We have fulfilled our commitment to fund the new 2L public interest guarantee even though the economic downturn resulted in much higher demand and resources than historical trends could have predicted. Since we can expect continued challenges in legal employment this upcoming year, the Law School will again provide expanded funding for the 2010 public interest guarantee program, providing a stipend to all rising 2Ls who secure eligible summer 2010 public service positions.
* The Law School established a 12-week post-graduate fellowship program (maximum $4,000) for positions in U-M Law clinical programs and a few external opportunities for the summer or during the early fall.
* We are reaching out to alumni in the private and public sectors to identify additional employment opportunities for students and to connect alumni who wish to act as mentors for Michigan students.
* To enhance Michigan Law’s legal practice curriculum and develop relationships with a broad spectrum of legal practitioners across the country, the Law School has recruited former ABA president and alumnus Robert Hirshon as a Professor from Practice. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Professor Hirshon will take on the role of special counsel for future developments in the profession. He will work with law firms, Attorneys General, corporate general counsels and public interest organizations to encourage new educational, employment and pro bono opportunities for Michigan students.
Is it that the state of Michigan is in better financial situation than the state of North Carolina? That can’t be right. Maybe the Michigan politicians just care more about the state’s law schools?
Regardless, at a time when most public universities are facing serious budgetary shortfalls (and don’t even get me started on Harvard’s rapid descent into poverty) Michigan Law School seems to be putting more money and resources into its students.
And their students need it. Even the school knows that employment prospects will continue to be crappy for some time:
So far we are experiencing good results with the efforts underway and expect to develop new initiatives over the next few months as well. However, we are anticipating a challenging year ahead as the economy continues to struggle and as law firms seriously re-examine their traditional ways of doing business.
As we look to the 2009 Early Interview Week and the On Campus Interview Program for rising 2Ls, we know that most of the largest law firms across the country are coming to Ann Arbor to recruit our students, but many are cutting back on their summer associate programs and likely their permanent job offers as well. In addition, many public interest organizations and state governments are facing budget cuts, which will impact students searching for 2010 summer internships in the not-for-profit sector. This means the environment will be more competitive than ever, and students will have to prepare a strategic and flexible approach to their job searches.
I love people with strategic flexibility.
The last note from Michigan is truly the most important piece of advice:
My most important pieces of advice: Don’t go it alone, and start planning now. Michigan Law offers you excellent support for your career planning, and I hope you will take full advantage of the career advising available. Set up a meeting with the Office of Career Services or the Office of Public Service as soon as possible. The Law School’s six attorney-counselors are experienced in assisting students to optimize the OCI and bidding process, and setting realistic goals for employment in private or public practice.
Michigan Law’s strengths lay a solid foundation for you. I hope you will take advantage of characteristics such as the School’s national footprint when considering your choice of city, along with career services to help you hone your skills (including the practice interviews we set up with alumni in many cities and the Law School’s mock interview sessions).
Law schools only show you the door. You have to walk through it, risk getting your head cut off, work thousands of hours a year in a high pressure environment (if you are lucky), and pay the law school back for the privilege of having it show you the door.
At least Michigan is upgrading the emergency lighting on the way to the exits.
Earlier: UNC Law Abruptly Ends Loan Repayment Assistance Program
I see your Wildcat and raise you a Wolverine.
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