Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Job, Jobs, Jobs
Career Services Prepares Grads to Succeed in Job Search
Job, Jobs, Jobs
Career Services Prepares Grads to Succeed in Job Search

It’s no secret that jobs are hard to come by for recent law grads, but with the help of John Marshall’s Career Services Office and the school’s alumni, John Marshall students are bucking the trend. Over the last three years, graduate employment has increased more than 8% for jobs where bar passage is required.

What’s the secret behind John Marshall’s impressive stats? It starts at the top with the law school’s Office of Professionalism & Career Strategy and the Office of Career Services which, together, are creating innovative programming to help students find opportunities and obtain jobs.

“It’s a team effort,” says Justice Margaret O’Mara Frossard (ret.), Associate Dean for Professionalism & Career Strategy, of her work with the Career Services Office and Assistant Dean for Career Services Chanté Spann.

Together, Frossard and Spann have created an impressive lineup of programs on job facilitation, mentoring, and networking, as well as opportunities for students and recent graduates to meet with a wide range of potential employers.

Addressing the Challenges of the Job Market

Among those programs is the law school’s Job Advisory Board. Started by Frossard in 2012, the Board is a continuing initiative that addresses the challenges of the current job market. Throughout the year, the Job Advisory Board hosts receptions that bring together volunteer lawyers, current students, and John Marshall graduates.

More than 80 volunteer lawyers have attended the receptions to talk about jobs, practice areas, and opportunities. Students must have résumés on hand in case the volunteer lawyers want to hire them on the spot. More than 90 students and recent graduates have found jobs through the Job Advisory Board, says Frossard, adding “that is what makes this program so great. Employers come up front, introduce themselves, and talk about their practice and about job opportunities. It’s a unique set up.”

Similarly, Frossard has created a Student Advisory Board with more than 50 students to help plan events on professionalism and advise her office on how to better serve students. The Student Advisory Board has helped plan 12 professionalism events over the last year, including one where a member of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism spoke to students.

Preparing Students for Judicial Clerkships

Both Frossard and Spann have worked together to help facilitate judicial clerkships for law students and recent graduates. John Marshall’s unique approach to legal writing, professionalism training, and lawyering skills has made its students stand-out candidates for judicial clerkships. Last year, 14 students landed prestigious judicial clerkships, including five in federal courts and nine in state courts.

Current and former John Marshall students credit the law school’s Career Services Office and the Office of Professionalism & Career Strategy for helping them locate opportunities and master the skills needed to become successful clerks in state and federal courts through its expansive lineup of career preparation programming and professional development programs.

“John Marshall does a great job of preparing its students for judicial clerkships. With our strong legal writing program, judicial externship offerings, strategic career advising, and professionalism and career programming, the school provides students with tools that enable them to succeed in these highly coveted positions,” says Spann.

Mentoring Is Key

Spann and Frossard also note the success of several schoolsponsored mentoring programs, including the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, which helps graduates transition into their careers. The program, the first in Illinois to be approved by the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, provides a year-long mentoring relationship for recent graduates who have passed the bar, helping them transition from student to practicing lawyer.

The law school has matched over 100 lawyers and recent graduates under the program, which includes orientation sessions, written materials, and professionalism events for them to attend. Lawyers who complete the program earn six hours of professional responsibility CLE credit at no cost.

The law school has seen similar success with its alumnistudent mentoring program. The program has been in continual existence for more than 17 years and remains one of the Career Service Office’s biggest annual programs. The CSO has experimented with its formula for success, offering students access to mentoring circles in addition to one-on-one pairings.

John Marshall does a great job of preparing its students for judicial clerkships.’’
Networking Opportunities

The CSO continues to provide a variety of networking opportunities, including the Small- and Mid-Sized Legal Employers Reception. In its 18th year, the reception provides a forum for employers and students to meet, network, and obtain job leads. “It exposes students to different segments of the market,” says Spann.

This year, as part of the law school’s annual Diversity Week, the CSO’s new Law Firm Diversity Reception brought attorneys to campus from law firms owned or founded by diverse attorneys. Spann says she hopes to make the event an annual occurrence so students can be exposed to a variety of attorneys and law firms. “The diversity reception was also inspirational to students, allowing them to see what is possible,” says Spann.

Public Interest Opportunities

Because many students want to work in public interest jobs, the CSO has created a variety of programming to introduce them to opportunities. These include the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference, where more than 70 John Marshall students attended to learn about public interest opportunities and, in some cases, interview for jobs.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office held its annual Minority Law Students Reception at John Marshall last year, which included a panel discussion and networking.

John Marshall also co-sponsored the annual Meet the Public Service Organizations Reception last year, which gave students the opportunity to talk with representatives from public service organizations about internship and post-graduate employment opportunities.

The possibility of new programming to support John Marshall graduates remains endless. “And with the continued support and participation of alumni in mentoring, networking, and hiring, anything will be possible for our students,” add Spann and Frossard.