The Arizona Law Career Development Office (CDO) team is focused on helping students continue to make professional connections and prepare for their futures.
As the effects of the pandemic continue to unfold, one consequence is that some students have seen their summer positions cancelled, and the number of permanent positions available for the Class of 2020 greatly reduced from previous years.
New SBA President
New SBA President Sarah Myers
(2L) says that she is hearing from classmates who have had their summer job either modified or cancelled entirely, or who had not yet secured a summer job prior to the crisis and are seeing opportunities evaporate.
"For many of these students, a major concern is that this lack of summer employment may negatively impact chances at employment in the future."
Even if this is never realized, Sarah says, students are concerned about losing the opportunity to enhance crucial practical skills and make meaningful connections within the legal community.
"For first year students, there are additional concerns --they will lose the chance to discover new interests, to be intrigued by a question that inspires their substantial paper topic, and to experience real legal work in various settings before applying for second-year summer jobs."
Responding to the Changes in Employment Opportunities
The CDO has already undertaken extensive efforts to be responsive to the short-term and long-term effects on students' employment prospects and hosted multiple information sessions to help students develop alternative summer and post-graduate plans.
Shannon Trebbe ('10), Assistant Dean for Career Development, says that the CDO's strategy centers on:
Open office hours. We want to give students a chance to talk over their summer and post-graduate plans with our office without having to make an appointment.
Honest and direct communication. We know students are facing difficult situations. We are here to listen, advise, and process the full spectrum of circumstances both with individual counseling sessions (which we have seen triple in past weeks) and larger events and strategy sessions for different class levels.
Skill development. Above all else, we want students to be prepared for any work environment and we will continue to guide students toward opportunities to help them succeed either through traditional employment or other means.
Community connection. Our community is our strength and our students need you now more than ever.
Reaching Out to Alumni and Employers
A significant number of students have seen their summer positions cancelled and the number of available positions has decreased dramatically. We need your help in providing our students with opportunities to build their skillsets both this summer and after graduation, either through externships or post-graduate employment.
2013 graduate and Board of Visitors member Matt Walker, with the City of Tucson Prosecutor's Office, describes how his decision to take on several additional summer externs will benefit both his office and students:
"When I approached my co-supervisors about the prospect of the Criminal Division taking on additional externs, we identified an opportunity.
Tucson City Court is essentially closed for the spring and our office expects a heavy workload this summer, so we were excited to have the capacity to give externs meaningful work that they could do remotely.
At the same time, it was important to me personally to reach out to the College of Law and see if there was anything our organization could do to help. I am a recent enough graduate that I remember the uncertainty that accompanies being a law student, and that was without a global pandemic."
Assistant Dean Shannon Trebbe reinforces the importance of these positions for students and graduates:
"As a member of the Class of 2010, I graduated in the middle of the worst legal market in recent memory. I remember acutely our struggles and anxieties as we attempted to navigate a shrinking legal market with the clock ticking on six figures of student loan debt.
Those who were the most successful in a bad market were generally those who were flexible and able to see creative pathways to their eventual dream job. I want to emphasize that, in markets like the current one, any legal experience helps students and graduates in their careers."
"Second jobs are always easier to come by than first jobs. Some employers hesitate to reach out because they may not feel that they have the perfect job to offer, but it's clear that, just like with any investment, time in the market beats timing the market: it is better to obtain experience early rather than wait for the optimal opportunity. This is true for summer experience as well as permanent employment -- part-time, remote work may be all that is available for some students this summer. Those experiences still teach students valuable skills and give them a leg up when applying for future positions."
New Limited Practice Rule
Employers have an additional incentive to hire recent law graduates under the Arizona Supreme Court's new limited practice rule (and similar rules in other jurisdictions).
The court's recent amendments to Rule 39(c) permit graduates to practice law, with limitations, under the supervision of any attorney and upon certification by the court before taking the Arizona bar examination. Once certified, limited practice students can engage in enumerated practice activities similar to a clinical law student under the supervision of an attorney.
Under these recent rule amendments, new graduates can begin helping employers with a greater range of services immediately, even before they take a bar examination.
Help Connect Students with Opportunities
We need your help in giving our students and recent graduates professional legal experience!
If you could use assistance from a recent law graduate practicing under the new Arizona limited practice rule or a similar provision in your state, please reach out to the CDO's Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Shannon Walker
, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to find out more or to discuss a paid or unpaid summer employment opportunity for a 1L or 2L law student, please respond to this survey
, or email Shannon Walker at the address above.