Welcome Classes 2017 & 2018!

The Career Services Office welcomes you to the Duquesne University School of Law!  We hope as you begin your classes and become accustomed to your new surroundings, you will take advantage of the services and programs offered by the CSO.  Feel free to stop by our office – Room 209, near The Coffee Tree Roasters – any time to say hello!

The CSO and Law Clinic will hold a mandatory orientation program for our offices in October, but you can do things now to get ready for your job search and clinical work going forward.

What should you do now?

  • Join student organizations to help determine or strengthen your interests in different areas of law.
  • Join professional organizations or affinity groups, such as the Allegheny County Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association, or American Bar Association – each has free or discounted student memberships available.
  • Stop by the CSO Express table in the Student Lounge each week for free coffee, snacks, and CSO tips.
  • Follow the CSO via The Common Plea, Twitter (@DuquesneLawCSO), and Facebook (Duquesne University School of Law Career Services Office).
  • Create a LinkedIn profile.
  • Attend programs offered by the CSO and other Law School offices and student organizations.
  • Use a professional email address for all correspondence.  Example: Your Duquesne email address.
  • Review your on-line presence, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Google your name to ensure you present a professional image on the internet.
  • Create a professional voice mail message.

What should you do later in the semester?

  • Draft a legal resume and cover letter.
  • Schedule an appointment to discuss your job search strategies, resume, and cover letter.
  • Begin your search for summer employment, fellowships, internships, or volunteer opportunities.
  • Identify people with whom you can make professional connections (alumni, family, friends, etc).
  • Finalize your resume and application documents, targeted to specific employers.

For now, we wish you good luck as you start your law school career!

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ACBA YLD Past, Present Future Event

PAST: This year the Allegheny County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ACBA YLD) turns 50 and we’re inviting back the people who have helped get us to our Golden Anniversary. Past YLD Chairs have gone on to serve as federal and state court judges; managing partners at top law firms; presidents of the ACBA and some of the most prominent attorneys in the city. For one night only, they will be in one place to meet and greet YOU!

PRESENT: The current YLD officers and council members and the new Bar Leadership Initiative Class will be formally introduced for the first time in the new bar year. Find out about all the exciting things going on with the YLD in the upcoming year and how YOU can be a part of it!

FUTURE: Clearly, we want YOU! Now is the time to get involved in the YLD. Come and learn from the Division’s past leaders, meet with the current leadership and find out how you can be a part of the success of the YLD as it embarks on its next 50 years.

All YLD members* are encouraged to attend and be a part of what promises to be a memorable occasion. Admission is the low price of $20 and includes drinks, delicious hors d’oeuvres and the rare opportunity to make connections with the heavy hitters of our legal community.  On-line registration
.  If you have any questions, contact YLD Chair Joe Williams (L’09) at jwilliams@pollockbegg.com. We hope to see you at The Duquesne Club on September 10th!
*Student members of the ACBA are automatically members of the YLD.  Membership information.

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ACBA Soccer League – Law Students Welcome!


Registration is now open for the 2014 Fall Soccer League. Games will be played on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Winchester Thurston School Athletic Field in Shadyside, seven players per side, two twenty-five minute halves. Rosters will be limited to 15 players maximum, including at least 3 women. At least one woman per team must be on the field at all times. All players must be ACBA members or law student members*. The regular season will consist of eight games beginning Sunday September 7th and the playoffs will be held in November. The championship team will have their names engraved on the ACBA Cup.

Charles Grudowski, Esq. of Grudowski Law, LLC will sponsor T-shirts for the league.

Space is limited to only 6 teams. The registration fee is $50 per person. Effort will be made to balance the teams out with talent to keep the games competitive. You may register as an individual and will be assigned to a team. To register, go to www.acbasoccer.com and submit your registration. Your check made payable to “ACBA” must be sent to Charles Grudowski at 429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1001, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. The deadline for registration is Friday, August 29, 2014. Payments must be received by the deadline.

Direct any other inquiries to Commissioners:

Charles Grudowski at CJG@GrudowskiLaw.com or

Kevin Tucker at kevin@dkplaw1.com

*Information about ACBA Law Student Membership.

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Surviving the Bar Exam Reception

The Women’s Bar Association is hosting a happy hour reception for all 2014 law school graduates and attorneys new to Pittsburgh on Thursday, August 21 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. on the outdoor patio at Easy Street (located on the ground level of Oxford Centre).  The WBA would like to invite recent law school grads to celebrate surviving the bar exam and would also like to welcome any attorneys who have recently relocated to Pittsburgh or who are on-ramping from a hiatus in their careers.  Please join the WBA and meet attorneys from a variety of practice areas in a relaxed atmosphere where you can expand your network of contacts.  Hors d’oeuvres and one free drink ticket will be provided by the WBA.  
To make a reservation, please email Carol Hesz (L’90) at bchesz@verizon.net or call the WBA at (412) 429-1922.

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OCI Interviewing Advice from a 3L

By Lindsay S. Fouse
Third Year Day Student

2014 Summer Associate, Clark Hill

As we begin to prepare for OCIs, think about three things:

First, be able to answer exactly what makes you different from all of the other applicants. Your answer should be sincere, specific, and personalized. Be mindful of the fact that if you get the job, that answer will be put to the test—so be honest.

Second, in the interview, be someone that the interviewer and his or her firm would want as a colleague. Nod when they say something, smile and be pleasant, and appear engaged and interested to be interviewing with their firm because that matters to them—that you are genuinely happy to have the opportunity to get to know them.

Third, have four pre-written, go-to answers that run the gamut. For example, inevitably, you will be asked about what you did this past summer (i.e. if you wrote for a judge- be able to explain one interesting thing that you worked on), what you are involved in at Duquesne Law (i.e. clubs, organizations, research or teaching assistant positions, jobs, journals), what are your interests outside of school (i.e. hobbies, family, sports), what are qualities/attributes that would serve you well in the field of law and what about your personality fits the culture and mission of the respective law firm. I find that if you have those down to a tee, regardless of the question, you can in some way, shape, or form tailor all of your answers to safely get back to those go-tos, and to really have a successful interview.

Some food for thought—the toughest questions that I have been asked at an OCI:

1)    Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?

2)    If you don’t get hired by this firm, what will you do?

3)    Tell us about your style of leadership.

4)    What do you do for fun?

5)    Tell us about a recent mistake that you have made.

6)    What’s the worst question you can think of to ask me?

7)    What constitutes “success” in your mind?

8)    What type of people would you have trouble working with?

9)    Describe yourself in one word.

10) What are some of the most imaginative and creative things that you have done in a job?


(Be sure to check the July 2 post for additional OCI tips.)

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Upcoming Job Fairs

** Students interested in attending a job fair should contact the Career Services Office in order to discuss the possibility of assistance with registration and travel expenses.  Please contact Maria Comas at comas@duq.edu or 412-396-6279 for more information as soon as possible. **

Lavender Law Career Fair * August 21, 2014 * New York, NY
The National LGBT Bar Association’s annual Lavender Law Career Fair is designed to achieve a sense of community and inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) candidates within the legal profession’s recruiting efforts. By participating in the career fair, candidates will talk directly to LGBT-friendly recruiters from law firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate legal departments.  Additional information.

Hispanic National Bar Association Career Fair * September 12, 2014 * Washington, D.C.
The HNBA Career Fair is open to all law students. This year’s convention is poised to be one of the largest and most significant in HNBA’s history with numerous private and government employers from across the country attending. The Career Fair will provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to meet and interview with some of the nation’s most respected law firms, companies, and government agencies. The HNBA Career Fair is also a unique and cost-effective way to find future employment or internships.  Additional information.

Peggy Browning National Law Students Workers’ Rights Conference * October 17-18, 2014 * Washington, D.C.
With multiple interactive workshops, panel discussions and keynote address, the conference will give each participant additional insight into becoming an advocate for workers and their families. Students will gain a greater understanding of, appreciation for and interest in the issues facing American workers; supplement their labor and workers’ rights courses; and network with fellow law students, top labor attorneys, professors, nonprofit practitioners and government officials.  For more information visit https://www.peggybrowningfund.org/workers-rights-conference.

Equal Justice Works Annual Conference and Career Fair * October 24-25, 2014 * Bethesda, MD
The Equal Justice Works annual Conference and Career Fair is the largest national public interest career fair in the country.  More than 1,200 students from 165 law schools attend for two days of interviews, workshops, networking and other career opportunities.  Public interest employers conduct interviews for internship and full-time positions and meet with students in informal “table talk” settings to discuss public interest legal opportunities.  The Conference and Career Fair also feature workshops on various public interest careers and job search advice, resume and cover letter review, mock interviews, and more.  For more information visit www.equaljusticeworks.org.

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OCI Interview Skills Programs

OCI Interview Skills – Part 1 – Featuring Legal Recruiters
Tuesday, August 5
5:00-6:00 p.m.
Room 203

This program will feature Jacki Herzog (L’07), Legal Recruiter at Clark Hill PLC, and Jennifer Ross, Senior Manager of Legal Recruiting at Reed Smith, LLP. Ms. Herzog and Ms. Ross have a wealth of experience with the interviewing process and will offer law students some insight into a law firm’s expectations during the interviewing and recruiting processes. While this program will be focused on OCI preparation, the information shared should be relevant to most interviewing situations.

OCI Interview Skills – Part 2 – Advice from 3L’s
Tuesday, August 5
6:15-7:00 p.m.
Student Lounge

Students who are currently working as summer associates and who participated in OCI last year will be available to talk with you about their experiences. Refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend either program, please RSVP on DuqLawConnect (Events tab) so that an accurate amount of handouts are available. RSVP’s are encouraged, but not required.

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Summer Networking Opportunities

Students are invited to register and attend the following networking events this summer:

*Washington County Bar Association Monthly Roundtable * July 23 * 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. * WCBA Office
Join members of the WCBA and fellow law students for lunch and talk about practice issues.  The lunches are held a the bar association office (119 South College Street, Washington, PA 15301).  Visit washcobar.org for more information.  Please RSVP to wcba@washcobar.org by July 22.

*Women’s Bar Association 2014 Anne Mullaney Cup Golf Outing * August 1 * Cedarbrook Golf Course

All students, of all skill levels, are welcome to take part in this annual event.  Meet WBA members, other attorneys and law students for a scramble, just for lessons or for dinner.  Registration required (fee).  Registration starts at 11:00 a.m. The golf clinic with LPGA Pro Christina Stockton starts at 11:30, followed by a Shotgun start at 12:30 for 4-person scramble.  For new or less experienced golfers, a group lesson with on course experience and use of the driving range is being offered lieu of the 18-hole scramble and also starts at 12:30 p.m.  Registration Form and additional information.   For more information, please contact one of the event co-chairs, Stephanie Jones at jonesy13pa@gmail.com, or Christina Demarco-Breeden at Christina.demarco3@gmail.com.

*Allegheny County Bar Association Women’s Business Development Legal Summit * August 7 * 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. * Marriott City Center
The 2014 Summit features nationally recognized women lawyers coach and trainer Marianne Trost.  She will share insights, practical tips, and real-life examples to help you achieve better business development results by:

• Honing your rainmaking skills
• Refining your best practices for pitching to business clients or individuals
• Strengthening your self-advocacy skills, and
• Fine-tuning your networking skills.

In today’s competitive legal market it isn’t enough to be an outstanding attorney. Having a book of business is essential to creating self-determination and satisfaction in your career and to achieving success in a law firm. Whether you are a woman partner, associate, or of counsel with a firm, you are looking to leave the government or non-profit sector for a firm, or you are a law student hoping to one day work in a firm, the strategies you will learn at the Summit will help you maximize your natural strengths to grow your book of business.

The cost of the Summit is $50 for law students and includes breakfast, lunch, and 5 hours of business development programming and networking. View the informational brochure. Register online here. For information on available sponsorship opportunities, please contact Alysia M. Keating at akeating@acba.org.

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AmeriCorps JD Program – Funding available for public interest & government internships

The AmeriCorps JD program has some additional slots available to start this month! Through AmeriCorps JD, law students focusing on any area of civil public interest law can earn a $1,175 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. AmeriCorps JD is also an exciting way to get connected to the various resources that Equal Justice Works offers to public interest law students.

We are looking for students who:

  • Can begin service in July 2014; and
  • Can complete 300 hours of service in a 12 month period (by July 2015).

Service includes training and substantive work, and can include research or additional projects for an internship even though a student may not physically be in the office past the summer months.

Time is of the essence — students must start this month! If you are currently at or planning an internship at an organization (including legal aid, public defender, nonprofit organizations, or local, county or state government agencies), you are encouraged to apply to AmeriCorps JD today.

If you would like additional clarification about the AmeriCorps JD program, please email AmeriCorpsJD@equaljusticeworks.org.  Please also consult their website (the May application deadline can be disregarded):  http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/americorpsjd.

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Frequently Asked Questions – On-Campus Interviewing

In response to students’ questions about the on-campus interview program, the Career Services Office (CSO) created this “Frequently Asked Questions” post.  Of course, students with additional questions are encouraged to contact the CSO.

Is someone in the CSO available to review my application materials?
Yes.  Students should forward documents (in Word format) to the CSO for review.  Documents should be forwarded to Maria Comas at comas@duq.edu.  Due to increased requests to review materials during the summer, please allow one week for the review of your materials.

It is important to have another person review your materials.  Another person is likely to see typos and other errors that you have overlooked because you have lived with the documents for so long.

The CSO will not review writing samples for content, so students should contact the professor or attorney involved with the writing sample with questions about content.  Students intending to submit documents written while serving as an intern, law clerk or volunteer must get permission to use such documents as writing samples, either with or without redactions.

How can I research firms and employers?
The firm’s website is the natural place to start your research, but you must do more.  Talk with other students who work at the firm or have interviewed with the firm in the past.  Some students submit Summer Employment Surveys to the CSO, and we keep them on file in the office.  Ask the CSO to identify students who are willing to talk with current students going through the interview process.  Thankfully, many students will make themselves available to answer questions for the benefit of those that follow them.

You can use the tools on Lexis and Westlaw to get an in depth look at the types of cases the firm handles.  Before you tell a firm that you have been interested in the practice of health law since you were 10 years old, find out how many cases involving health law the firm actually handles.  This not only will prevent you from including incorrect information in your cover letter or an embarrassing situation during an interview, it also allows you to show the employer that you have looked beyond their website while preparing your application materials.

You can use the NALP Directory of Legal Employers to research many large firms that provide detailed information to NALP for inclusion in this on-line directory.  You also can use Chambers Associates to discover information about some large firms.  (Follow the link to both on the left menu bar).

How can I distinguish myself in my cover letter?
As noted in the previous question, do your homework by learning as much about a firm or organization as possible.  When writing your letter, consider your audience.  Generally speaking, an employer wants to know how you can help them by furthering their business objectives and addressing the needs of their clients.  Cover letters are very often the most difficult document to prepare during the application process.  You must convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the job without rehashing everything on your resume or overstating your qualifications.  This art takes practice.  Consider “Cover Letters: 7 Steps to Creating a Great True First Impression” as you write (and re-write) your cover letters.

Should I tailor my cover letters?
Yes.  Each letter should be tailored to the firm to which you are applying.  You should include the specific contact information for the firm in your letter (Name, Firm Name, Address) in the appropriate place in the letter.  You should address the letter to that contact (Dear Mr. or Ms. ____:).

You can find the contact information in the OCI listing; letters should be addressed to the person listed under “Contact Information.”  If the information is not available for some reason, always check the employer’s website for the information.  You should let the employer know why you are writing to them in particular.  This is where your research comes into play.

Where can I find sample legal resumes and cover letters?
The CSO Handbook includes a chapter about each of these subjects, as well as other topics such as interviewing skills and follow-up correspondence.  You can find The CSO Handbook on this site under the Career Resources tab and on DuqLawConnect (under the Resource tab).  When preparing your cover letter and resume, type your contact information in the document itself, rather than as a “header” in the document.  Employers have told us that they can’t always see your name and contact information when they view documents on their computer screen because headers are hidden.

How do I get an unofficial transcript from DORI?
The best way to get the transcript from DORI is to copy & paste it into a Word document.  Be sure to check the formatting of the new document to make sure information is properly aligned.  You can either save it as a pdf or convert it to a pdf when you upload it to DuqLawConnect.   While scanning the transcript may work, sometimes the scanned transcript results in a file that is too big to upload.  You are welcome to use the scanner in the CSO if needed, however.

What should I use as a writing sample?
Most students use an excerpt from their Legal Research & Writing appellate brief as their writing sample.  However, some students prefer to use something they drafted during a summer internship or law clerk position.  Students must have permission from their employer/supervisor to use a document prepared during an internship/work setting; the employer may require that sensitive information is redacted from the document before it can be used.  No matter the source of a writing sample, students should be prepared to answer questions about it during an interview, so be sure to select a writing sample that you are most comfortable with and that shows your writing abilities in the best light possible.

Unless otherwise specified, a writing sample should be 5-12 pages.  Students should consider creating a cover page for their writing sample where they can identify the document and indicate that it is, in fact, an excerpt from a larger document.

I participated in the Law Review write-on competition, and I don’t know my status yet.  How should I write this on my resume?
The Law Review editors are aware of the first OCI application deadline of July 28, and they are working towards notifying students about their status before the deadline so this information can be added to resumes accordingly.

Are OCI application materials sent to employers all at once or on a rolling basis?
The CSO will not release any application materials to the employers before the application deadline.  After the deadline passes, every application received by the deadline will be sent to the employer for review.

Can I make a change to a document after I submit a bid?
You can update your documents any time prior to the application deadline.  However, you must withdraw your bid, upload the revised document, and re-submit your bid.  These steps must be done before the application deadline.

Will the CSO forward late applications?
No.  Only materials submitted by the posted deadline will be forwarded to the employer.  Students who miss the application deadline must submit their materials to employers directly in order to be considered for an interview.

Does the CSO rank or screen applications?
No.  The CSO submits all materials submitted by the deadline.  The employer then reviews the application materials and provides the CSO with a list of students they would like to interview.  The CSO does not use any type of ranking, screening or lottery system for student interviews.

What does “Total Slots” mean on the OCI listing?
This indicates the number of candidates the employer intends to interview at the time they register for the On-Campus Interviewing Program.  The employer may end up interviewing more or less students, but they typically interview the number stated.

How will I know if I have been selected for an interview?
After receiving notification from the employer, students will receive an email from the CSO informing them if they have or have not been selected for an interview.

Are interview times assigned?
No.  Students who have been selected for an interview will receive an email notification informing them that they must go to DuqLawConnect to select an interview time.  The interview times determined by the employer will be listed accordingly, and times will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Will I know the names of the people interviewing me?
Most employers provide the names of the people (either attorneys and/or recruiters) planning to conduct the interviews.  However, it is not uncommon for a firm to contact the CSO prior to the interview with a change.  If time permits, the CSO notifies students of the change in interviewer.  Time does not always permit, though, if the change is last minute.

While you are researching each firm or organization, you should also research the interviewers.  Lexis and Westlaw provide tools to conduct searches about attorneys, as well as firms.

What should I wear to an interview?
You should wear conservative attire to interviews – this includes your suit, shirt, ties, shoes and jewelry.  Although a firm might have a “business casual” dress policy for its employees, you should wear a conservative suit to all interviews.    The CSO Handbook includes a chapter about interviewing skills, including professional dress attire.  You can find The CSO Handbook here under the Career Resources tab and on DuqLawConnect (under the Resource tab).

Where are initial screening interviews held?
Employers may choose to hold their initial screening interviews at the Law School or at the firm.  The location of the initial interview will be noted on the OCI listing.  Interviews to be held at the Law School will be held in Rooms 206 and 207 (make the left just after Room 204, before the stairway, to find the interview rooms.)

If the interview will be held at the firm, additional instructions may be sent to you from the CSO or the law firm recruiting office.  This may include details about parking, security check-in and where to report once inside a building.  Students should consider a test drive or walk to the firm location in order to give themselves ample travel time.  Firms conducting initial interviews at their offices are within a 10-minute walk from campus during normal traffic and weather conditions.

Where are call-back interviews held?
Call-back interviews most often are held at the law firm or organization.  Each firm conducts these interviews differently. These may include a panel of interviewers, multiple interviews with different individuals (1-on-1) or interviews during lunch.  Any interaction with the firm’s lawyers, recruiters or employees – from the time you enter the building to the time you leave a cocktail party –should be viewed as being part of the interview process.

How early should I arrive for an interview?
Regardless of the interview location, students should plan to arrive 10 minutes prior to their scheduled interview time.  While you are encouraged to give yourself ample time to walk or drive to the employer’s location, you should not check-in at the firm itself (e.g., the reception area, recruiter’s office, etc.) until 10 minutes prior to your interview.

Should I do a mock interview before the real interview takes place?
Yes.  The CSO’s formal mock interview with local attorneys takes place in the spring semester.  You have two other options to do a mock interview throughout the year.  The CSO staff is available to conduct mock interviews by appointment by sending an email to lawcareers@duq.edu.  The CSO also uses Interview Stream – an online mock interview program – for students.  You may create a free account at https://duq.interviewstream.com and then record yourself answering interview questions.  You may then watch the interview yourself or send a link to it to the CSO or anyone else you trust to provide constructive feedback.

Preparation is key.  While you don’t want to sound rehearsed, you should verbalize your answers to potential questions before the actual interview takes place so you can rework any answers you think sound awkward or otherwise not right.  While answering questions, remember that the interviewer is looking for someone who has the professional skills to do the job, who fits the job requirements and who wants the job.  Be engaged in the interview – be sure your nervousness doesn’t outshine your interest in the job and in the employer and take time to answer the questions asked of you.

Are resources available about interviewing skills?
Yes.  The CSO Resource Center includes many books and publications about interviewing skills.  The two most popular resources in recent years have been Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Walton and An Insider’s Guide to Interviewing: Insights from the Employer’s Perspective by NALP.  Multiple copies of Guerrilla Tactics are available for students to borrow from the CSO.  The CSO purchased enough copies of An Insider’s Guide for students to have their own copy of this informative booklet.  A complete listing of the items available in the CSO Resource Center can be found here under Career Resources or DuqLawConnect (under Resources), where you can also find The CSO Handbook that includes an Interviewing Skills chapter.

What else should I read as I prepare for interviews?
On a regular basis, you should read The National Law Journal (www.law.com), The Legal Intelligencer www.law.com/pa, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Law section published every Monday (www.postgazette.com), and the Pittsburgh Business Times (www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh).  Free copies of the Post-Gazette are available in the Student Lounge during the school year, and you can find the daily paper in the Center for Legal Information.  The CSO and Center for Legal Information have copies of the Pittsburgh Business Times available for review year-round.  Of course, if you are interested in another city or state, you should become familiar with the news in those areas.

Additional information about Fall Recruitment, including on-campus interviewing, can be found in the memo distributed via email on July 1, 2014.

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