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
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
program has been in
for more than 17
years and remains
one of the Career
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.’’”
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
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