The job hunt is a frightening process for 1Ls and 3Ls alike. The past several years of recruiting have been grim, and recent news of struggling law school graduates have raised concern among students. GU Law Weekly sat down with Assistant Dean Marcia Shannon of the Office of Career Services to discuss the resources and responses students could take should they find themselves struggling to find a job.
GU LAW WEEKLY: There are some students who have spent some time at a legal practice fellowship sponsored by GULC after graduating. Who would you recommend enter those programs, and have those programs been successful in securing jobs for those students?
Marcia Shannon: Most of our programs are geared towards ensuring students receive experience in their desired practice field, for up to a year. The vast majority of the positions are with public interest organizations or with local government agencies, such as our RUFF fellowships, jointly sponsored with Washington’s Attorney General.
Many of those organizations hire through their fellowship program. However, those decisions rely on their funding; if they have enough funding, they’ll hire. If they don’t, the organizations will still help via networking.
These positions are a great way to start a career, especially in the public sector. Many of the people and organizations in these fields are looking for commitment from students. Also, someone thinking private practice could get experience they could apply at a firm.
A lot of these organizations don’t hire until after the person passes their bar exam. Georgetown believes in supporting those individuals while they wait to enter those positions.
LAW WEEKLY: Say someone found themselves in a difficult personal situation, having taken time off from classes or the job search due to health, financial or personal reasons. What advice would you give to those students, and what resources does GULC have to help them?
Shannon: Number one, they should stay in touch with their career counselor at OCS or OPICS. If they need to take time off, it’s really important to maintain a line to stay in touch, so we know what’s going on, and so they know what to expect when they approach the job market.
Each person and their situation are unique, so it can be helpful for both us and them to stay in touch. We can help people market their position to employers, such as if they are limited in the amount of time they can work per week. We can also cover how to discuss their situation in interviews.
The other main things is, don’t feel like your career is over. That’s definitely not the case.
LAW WEEKLY: Have these situations occurred often to students participating in joint degree programs?
Shannon: Not really…many of the joint programs, including the JD/MPH program, are fairly small, due to the extra time and expense. Of those, most of them are very highly driven individuals, who have really planned out their career path, and found that the joint degree would make sense for them.