EVERYONE AT SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY LAW School recognizes that these are challenging times for members of the legal profession. All lawyers are seeking ways to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, whether they are employed or not. As dean, I know that our law school can offer significant help to our alumni as they seek to prepare themselves for new challenges, including exploring new areas of law in which to work. If you are currently employed but looking to retool, or not working and have time to devote to education, we want to help you fine-tune your skills, expand your knowledge base, update your knowledge of the law, and explore new service opportunities.
To these ends, I have asked the law school administration and faculty to address the employment challenges of our younger graduates, with a focus on the classes from 2004 to 2009. What follows are the first three component parts of what we are calling Suffolk’s Own Stimulus Plan, a multifaceted course of action designed to provide support and opportunities for our recent graduates. We are relying initially on the resources and creativity of our Center for Advanced Legal Studies, the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, and our Career Development Office. We hope that what follows will be of use to some of you; we also wish to solicit your feedback and ideas regarding other kinds of support we might be able to provide in the months ahead.
The Center for Advanced Legal Studies (ALS) has provided cutting-edge continuing legal education to the practicing bar for 25 years. The center is making its wealth of programming available to all alumni to assist in this stressful time. ALS is also offering career development seminars specifically geared to recent alumni.
Tuition for ALS Programs
As of April 1, 2009, there will be no tuition charged to alumni from the graduating classes of 2004 through 2008 for any programs offered by ALS. Programs scheduled for fall 2009 will be made available to 2009 graduates as well. This offer includes the following upcoming programs:
ALS Course Materials
All course materials from prior programs and conferences in the ALS inventory will also be made available at no charge to alumni. A complete list of materials is available at www.law.suffolk.edu/als; to obtain course materials, please call 617.573.8627 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sample courses include:
iTunes U Downloads
Free downloads from prior programs are now available on the Suffolk Law iTunes U site. Included in these audio recordings are the following programs:
Survival Skills for Success
All alumni from the graduating classes of 2004 to 2008 are invited to attend a free intensive, multiday session, Survival Skills for Success, to be held June 22 to 26. The program will cover the following topics:
Jumpstarting Your Practice
In December 2009, ALS will offer a free intensive program, Jumpstarting Your Practice, specifically designed for 2009 graduates.
The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service will play a pivotal role in Suffolk’s Own Stimulus Plan.
Since opening in August 2007, the Rappaport Center has served as a centralized resource and support system for students interested in pursuing careers in public service. Many recent graduates have also taken advantage of the center, seeking advice about transitioning to public service from the private sector or otherwise changing their career paths. The Rappaport Center is led by highly experienced attorneys who are deeply committed to helping current students and Suffolk Law graduates obtain rewarding positions in government and with nonprofit organizations.
The center administrators are keenly aware that the economic downturn has affected the availability of jobs not only in the private sector but also in the public and nonprofit sectors. In light of these difficult times, the center has developed an action plan specifically geared towards helping recent graduates better position themselves in the increasingly competitive job market.
Much of the model for providing assistance is based on an extension of the relatively new but already thriving Pro Bono Program. The Rappaport Center plan allows new and recent graduates the chance to (1) develop legal skills, (2) gain relevant experience, (3) expand professional networks, and (4) provide meaningful support to agencies and organizations in need.
State and Local Government Agencies
The Rappaport Center will identify state and local government agencies that have announced hiring freezes as well as any agencies for which hiring freezes are anticipated. The center will then contact those agencies that had made full-time employment offers to Suffolk Law students and ask whether they would be willing to hire these individuals on a volunteer basis.
Students will fill gaps in service created by these agency hiring freezes, providing a tremendous resource to the agencies while simultaneously ensuring that Suffolk Law graduates are in the best possible position to secure paid employment.
As with agencies in the public sector, many legal services and other nonprofit organizations have imposed hiring freezes. The Rappaport Center will meet with leaders in the nonprofit community who have been most severely affected by budget cuts and significant decreases in Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funding. Through this process, the center will seek to identify those organizations in greatest need of support and determine whether they would be willing to hire recent graduates on a volunteer basis. By volunteering at these organizations, Suffolk Law graduates will be playing a critical role in supporting organizations whose ability to ensure access to justice has been greatly diminished by severe drops in funding.
To further enhance graduates’ positioning in the job market, the Rappaport Center will reach out to its pro bono partners—the volunteer Lawyers Project, the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), Health Law Advocates, and the Victim Rights Law Center—as well as other pro bono referral entities to request that they offer exclusive free training sessions to Suffolk Law students and recent graduates. These training sessions will provide students and graduates with added skills that can be used immediately and will enhance individual marketability.
Federal Government Jobs
One of the few employers likely to continue and even expand hiring is the federal government. The Rappaport Center currently offers students and recent graduates many resources designed to assist with federal government job searches. In this time of exceptional need, the center plans to supplement these resources by reaching out to Suffolk Law alumni currently employed in various federal government agencies and seeking their support in finding jobs for Suffolk Law graduates. Alumni who are working for federal agencies or have connections to opportunities within the federal government are encouraged to contact the Rappaport Center.
If you are an alumnus/a interested in taking advantage of postgraduate volunteering or free training, or are considering federal government employment, please contact Susan Prosnitz, executive director of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, by email or call 617.573.8644. To learn more about the Rappaport Center, please visit www.rappaportcenter.org.
The Career Development Office (CDO) offers career-long job search advice and support to all alumni, from the recent graduate looking for that first position to the senior professional looking to make a career transition. The CDO is staffed with a group of experienced and compassionate career advisors, all of whom hold law degrees or graduate degrees in counseling. These career experts are eager to meet with alumni both in person and over the telephone. In addition to personalized, one-on-one coaching, the office offers such resources and services as assessment testing, access to a web-based job listing database, mock interviews and interview preparation sessions, an extensive career library, facilitated reciprocity access to a career office in another geographic location, networking connections to fellow alumni who work in a similar practice area and/or geographic location, and advice on alternatives to practice.
The CDO has launched a blog that includes periodic chat room sessions to allow alumni pursuing a job search to access timely and real-time resources, ideas, and connections. This summer, a curriculum of job-searching workshops geared specifically to the challenges of the current economy will position our graduates to adapt to and navigate the complex job market.
For additional information about CDO services for alumni, please visit www.law.suffolk.edu/offices/career/service.cfm or contact the CDO at 617.573.8148 to make an appointment. The CDO welcomes ideas and suggestions on additional ways in which to support Suffolk Law graduates. Please contact executive Director Mary Karen Rogers or Director of Employer Relations Betsy Armour.
Illustration by Stephen Webster.
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