Career Services

In case you haven’t noticed, 2012 is going to be the year where I try to take a more critical look at the level of career service that law students are receiving from their law schools. The legal job market has been crappy for a long enough time that law schools and career service officers should have adjusted their game plan. Rolling into 2012 with 2007 career service programs is simply unacceptable.

A couple of days ago, I offered some networking advice to the functional alcoholics in the audience. Sure, my thoughts were a little bit outside the box, but they were better than the kind of standard networking tripe most law students get from their overmatched CSO administrators.

Case in point, take a look as some networking advice sent around by the Dean of Students at a New York-area law school just last week. The advice was perfect if the dean was trying to ensure that the students made no impression, and left all employers wondering why they bothered to show up for a silly networking event in the first place….

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Insert face of law school student above.

Instead of hiring a new professor to teach Cross-Cultural Comparison of Masturbatory Prohibitions, I want law schools to start paying six-figure salaries to the people they hire to work in their career services offices. I want U.S. News to include the number of CSO professionals and money spent on CSOs as data points in their law school rankings. I want deans to start asking rich alumni if they would like to donate to help fight mental disability and extreme laziness in career services offices.

Because honestly, the lack of effort put in by career services professionals at the nation’s law schools really seems to be out of hand. Maybe they’ve just been collectively beaten down by the years of terrible job prospects and the throngs of students in need of help. Maybe they believe that there really is nothing they can do, and they are significantly more worried about protecting their own jobs than finding jobs for eager law students. Maybe the lack of institutional support and respect for their efforts makes them feel like second-class citizens whenever the Professor of Impractical Studies That Serve No Clients walks into the room.

I don’t know why we’re here, but when you can’t even trust your CSO to effectively cull Symplicity to remove stupid and insulting job prospects like the ones below, it’s time to change the entire approach to law school career services….

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Ed. note: Have a question for the next edition? Send it in to [email protected].

Dear ATL,

I’m a 2L at a second-tier midwestern school. Fall OCI didn’t go so great for me and, after resigning myself to failure, I accepted an unpaid internship with the government in my home metropolitan area. If I keep the job, chances are good that I’ll end up taking out loans for externship credit and will also be forced to obtain some sort of weekend employment to pay the bills.

Surprisingly, I just got an offer to be a summer bitch at a decent-paying firm within my home town. I talked to Career Services about this problem, and they made it clear that I needed to reject the firm offer. But that option would obviously strain me, both career-wise and financially. So my ultimate question is, can I tell the government that I’m sorry, but will no longer be able to take the position? From a purely financial point of view, I can either borrow ~6k this summer for tuition and living expenses, or make ~20k.

-Money on the Table

Dear Money on the Table,

As if law students didn’t have enough strikes against them — sh*tty economy, no jobs, worthless degree — a new and insidious threat also conspires to keep them broke and unemployed: Career Services. Everyone tolerated their quaint but useless “resume writing workshops” and rhetorical great-unpaid-opportunity-in-Kansas emails when the economy was great, but now that sh*t has tanked and they are unable to fulfill their express job duties — namely, creating careers — they’ve turned underminer. If they can’t create careers, no one should have them….

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Crushed dreams of employment.

On Friday, we brought you what could be classified as one of the worst law jobs of all time: a job as an unpaid potato chip tester/taster.

And much like the side effects of eating an Olestrafied potato chip, the law school in question has announced that the notorious job was full of crap….

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Here at Above the Law, we write all the time about crappy law job postings. A good deal of these awful employment listings come from law school career services offices (which is not at all impressive!).

We recently received word about a law school career services job posting that was so horrendous, so ridiculous, that we could not help ourselves but to write about it. After all, writing about crappy law jobs is like opening a can of Pringles: once you pop, you can’t stop.

And this job — well, let’s just say that it takes the cake, or the potato chip, as the case may be….

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This is probably a fashion don't.

We’ve been down this road before, but society still seems to think that female lawyers and law students don’t know the basics of fashion. Maybe it’s true, especially given the number of events on this topic that repeat the same information ad infinitum. We’ve seen seminars on how to have fashion sense for the workplace, followed by lessons on fashion dos and don’ts. When will the madness end?

We thought that we had gotten the point across on this in October: ladies, if you dress like hookers, the only jobs you’ll get will be underneath a partner’s desk.

But apparently that message fell on deaf ears, because one law school’s Career & Professional Development Office had to co-sponsor an event with the school’s Women Law Students Association on how to properly dress for an interview….

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And by 'work,' I mean 'review documents.'

We’ve been talking lately about career services officers who don’t seem to know, or just plain deny, that it’s their job to find jobs for law students. Guess what? You might not like it, but that’s the job that you signed up for. You have to find jobs for these people. We don’t really care how you do it (and you probably don’t, either), but you have to do it.

Apparently one career services official has taken our words of wisdom to heart. At least this guy is trying to find jobs for graduates.

Alas, his efforts made us realize how sad it is when a law school that claims to have a 92% employment rate nine months after graduation literally has to beg its alumni to employ recent graduates….

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La vengeance se mange très-bien froide. Or as a Klingon might say, “revenge is a dish best served cold.”

I’m pretty sure that the administrators at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles didn’t think they were walking into a smackdown when they sent out an email to alumni asking them to update their employment statuses. But smacked they were, down on their heads, as one student’s epic, slightly rambling response to the innocent request just tore up the school for its behavior towards recent graduates.

And this comes from a student who seems to be doing well, despite the challenging economy. You want to know the best way to “get back” at your law school, if you so desire? Send them an email that says: “I am going to be very wealthy here, and I will not be giving a dime to Loyola.”

Time for the cold revenge of living well?

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I’m a man who can respect honesty. Even if the honest message is painful to receive and misguided, I tend to respect people who can honestly express their worldviews.

So when I saw an email from a career services officer at a law school where she stated that finding students jobs was not her job, well, I had to just nod my head and say, “Balls.”

I mean, that’s how many of them think, right? They “advise” or “counsel” or “leave early to go the gym,” but it’s somebody else’s job to actually make sure these students are employed. Right? People don’t go to law school to get jobs, they go because… well, the CSO doesn’t much care why people go to law school, so long as the students don’t blame the CSO when they are unemployed and struggling.

At least this particular CSO employee had the guts to tell the student body the truth….

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With the legal economy in the toilet, the morale in career services offices has reached an all-time low.

They all know that law school graduates are getting sick and tired of putting the “bar” in barista. They all know that law school graduates living the legal grind are busy serving lattes.

Well aware of these facts, the career services brigade at one highly-ranked law school decided that it was time to put their heads together and come up with a way to make career alternatives look exciting and new….

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