Cardozo Law School, Career Alternatives, Job Searches, Law School Deans, Law Schools

It’s Hard Out Here for a Career Services Dean

Student prepares for job hunt.

The most important person in law school administration is the dean. That makes sense. He or she makes policy and is in charge of the academic and financial footing for the entire school.

But who is the second most-important administrator? The dean of students? The head financial aid officer? I say that the second most-important administrative position on a law school campus is held by the career services dean.

Sure, a lot of schools don’t think that way. And even most law students act like the career services people should be glorified secretaries, setting up appointments and staying out of the way.

But in this economy, if you can’t get a job, what was the point of going to law school? And right now there are far too many law students who can’t secure employment. Most of a law school’s administration is concerned with roping in the next herd of lemmings sheep students. But the career services dean is forced to think about what will happen to kids after they graduate. If career services deans are doing their jobs well, they are some of the most important people on campus.

And when a person who holds such a crucial position leaves to do something that makes you say “what,” it really makes you wonder if current law students have any chance at getting the kind of professional placement help they desperately need….

At Cardozo Law, the students received word that their career services dean is leaving to pursue an unorthodox path. Here’s the email:

Dear Students:

I am writing to let you know that I have decided to retire from my position as Associate Dean of Career Services. The past seven plus years here at Cardozo have been an amazing experience for me. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to serve such a talented group of students and to work with my colleagues to build programs to help strengthen the law school. I have been so impressed by the intellect, integrity, collegiality, and work ethic of the students with whom I have interacted over the years. I see in each of you the capacity to make a unique and valuable contribution to society and look forward to hearing about your accomplishments in the years to come. It has been an honor to work with such a committed administration and faculty under the strong leadership of Dean Diller and former Dean Rudenstine.

As many of you know, yoga has been a longstanding pursuit of mine and I have been teaching it in various venues over the past few years. After much reflection, I have decided that I am ready to explore new independent projects that merge my yoga and career counseling experience, including: developing yoga and relaxation programs targeted to law students and lawyers; presenting career-related workshops; and providing individualized career counseling on a consulting basis. So I hope to see you around campus in the future!

My plan is to continue to function in my current role through Early Interview Week (August 8-12) so that I can help to ensure a smooth transition with my successor. I wish you much success and personal happiness in the years to come and hope to see many of you in the near future.

With warmest regards,

Arthur Fama

From legal career services to yoga consultant? That’s a stretch. (Puns like that don’t happen unintentionally, fellas.)

I wish this guy the best of luck. I mean, check out his career trajectory. He used to be of counsel at Skadden, then career services at Cardozo, and now yoga. That sounds like a full life.

Hopefully Fama will encounter great success in merging yoga and law. Lat tells me that at this year’s NALP conference, Fama’s morning yoga lessons were a huge hit, well-attended and raved about by participants.

But if you are a Cardozo student, do you want a yoga instructor trying to help you through the most difficult legal economy in decades? Or do you want someone more ruthless and bad-ass?

Maybe you want a ninja. Or maybe a career services dean who spends his free time snooping through the trash of Biglaw hiring partners, in the hope of finding something that can be used to blackmail them into hiring one more Cardozo student.

Really, in this economy, schools don’t need career services deans who are “nice”; they need CSO staffers who have proven skills in pimping hos (and who can fill in as amateur psychologists in a pinch).

Let’s hope that the next career services dean at Cardozo got his or her start at the Bunny Ranch — or some other establishment that teaches people how to represent America’s jobless law students.

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