Bad Ideas, Craigslist, Job Searches

Duke Law Turns to Craigslist to Fill Key Administrative Role

Any of you guys want a job at the law school?

If I reported that Duke Law School was turning to Craigslist to find its next dean, the U.S. News people would issue “revised” rankings to knock Duke out of the top tier. Heck, if I told you that Duke Law was looking for a new 1L contracts professor on Craigslist, at the very least that report would be met with widespread ridicule.

Of course, Duke would never grab a new dean off of Craigslist. Deans are in charge of making the law school money, and there’s no way Duke would rely on Craigslist, even in part, to fill that responsibility. And picking up a law professor off of Craigslist would make the school look intellectually weak, so there’s little chance of that ever happening either.

But when it comes to providing services that Duke Law students actually need — well, then Duke is just fine leaving the professional futures of its students in the hands of whomever Duke can find hanging out on the CL….

Duke’s ad for a new director of employer relations has been taken down, but we preserved a copy (see below). The director of employer relations might not sound like an important job from the perspective of a prospective law student who thinks that law school is all about the intellectual thrill ride of Pennoyer v. Neff. But if you are in law school, mired in this pathetic excuse for a “legal job market,” the competence of the people in your office of career services can be the difference between having a job and having to turn tricks out of your mother’s basement.

Just check out the job description from Duke’s Craigslist ad:


The Director of Employer Relations will be responsible for i) deepening Duke Law School relationships with employers, and ii) managing student recruitment programs. Work will involve developing new strategic initiatives, building employer relations, running student recruitment programs, creating marketing strategies and educational programming, optimizing the use of technology and collaborating with diverse stakeholders within and outside of the Law School.

This position requires a business development perspective and the ability to anticipate changes in the legal economy, as well as a detail and project management orientation to be able to create and execute complex recruiting related programs with students and employers. As the public face between the Career Center and employers, alumni, University colleagues and others, the Director must present a high level of professionalism and customer service orientation.

The “public face between the Career Center and employers,” and Duke is filling the position with a Craigslist ad? That should tell employers just how important Duke takes its role in matching up employers with willing and able Duke law students.

And remember, this is Duke, holders of the incredible “100% employed upon graduation” statistic. We’ve already broken down how Duke engineered that stat.

(It’s also worth noting that Duke is one of the many schools that has not signed on to the Law School Transparency project. With supposed 100% employment, what does Duke have to hide?)

You know how everybody says that the way to get a job in this economy is to “network”? Well, essentially Duke is looking to hire a master networker, who will work on behalf of the entire Duke law student community. From the ad:

The Director must be able to learn quickly and should be interested in learning about the operations of a law school and the legal profession. With our goal of supporting law students as they launch their careers, the Career Center and Director work with Duke Law students, hundreds of legal employers, thousands of alumni and many others….

In sum, broad responsibilities will include:
• Deepening and developing employer relationships.
• Managing and enhancing student recruitment interview programs and increasing opportunities available to Duke Law students.
• Creating and collaborating on employer – student programming.
• Providing advice to students and/or colleagues on employers and opportunities.

The job of “supporting law students as they launch their careers” sounds pretty damn important. And Lord knows that over the course of this recession, we’ve listened to hundreds of students rail against the perceived incompetence of their law school’s career service officers. It sounds like Duke should be trying to find the most qualified person available to fill this role.

But you get out what you put in. Duke is using Craigslist to find its next master networker. But the applicant who is on Craigslist looking for jobs is the definition of a person who failed miserably at networking.

You can’t make this crap up. Let me put this in language that Dukies will understand: imagine if Coach K brought in special coaches to help Duke basketball players prepare for the NBA scouting combine — but the specialists turned out to be five athletic homeless guys who loiter outside of Cameron. (In fairness, if this is what Krzyzewski does, it might finally explain why Duke basketball players are often spectacular failures on the NBA level.)

Again, Duke Law would never search for a new dean this way. Duke would never search for a new law professor this way. Duke has respect for deans and law professors and thinks that they are important to the core service the school provides. But when it comes to finding jobs for students paying around $66,938 per year to attend law school, it feels like the administration is saying, “Whatever, let’s throw up an ad on Craigslist and see what we get back; we’re only talking about jobs for our students.”

If this is how one of the nation’s top law schools treats employer relations, I can only imagine how things work at schools without Duke’s stellar reputation.

Maybe Duke can hire one of its own desperate 3Ls to fill the position? If you think like the Duke Law administration, it makes perfect sense: hire a person who wasn’t able to get a job to be in charge of helping students get jobs, and add another “employed” person towards your next round of U.S. News employment statistics. Where’s the downside?

Earlier: The Secret to ‘100% Employed at Graduation’: Duke’s Bridge to Practice

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