Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pennsylvania Women’s Legal Summit – July 31

The inaugural Southwestern Pennsylvania Women’s Legal Summit, presented by the Allegheny County Bar Association Institute for Gender Equality and Women in the Law Division, will be held on July 31, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Omni William Penn Hotel downtown.  The Summit’s theme is “Growing Your Book: Strategies for Women Attorneys in a Changing Legal Marketplace” featuring keynote speaker Karen B. Kahn, Founder and Managing Partner of Threshold Advisors, LLC.  Summit programming also includes breakout sessions on the topic “From Daunting to Doable: Taking Your Next Step” and a discussion with a distinguished panel of clients and business generators on “Creating Valuable Relationships Their Way.”  The Summit will close with a structured networking reception entitled “Women Helping Women, One Great Conversation at a Time.”

Registration for law students is $25 (discounted from $100).  Students interested in attending should complete a registration form and send it along with a check (payable to the ACBA) to Alysia Keating, Esq., Director of Diversity and Gender Equality, Allegheny County Bar Association, 436 Seventh Avenue, 400 Koppers Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.  (The discounted rate is not an option on the on-line registration form; student registrations must be mailed as listed above.)  Attorney registration should be completed by following the steps on the registration form.

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ACBA Fall Soccer League

Registration is now open for the Allegheny County Bar Association 2013 Fall Soccer League. This is a great opportunity for students to meet attorneys in a casual atmosphere.  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 on Sunday September 8, 2013 and ending on Sunday October 27, 2013. The semi-finals will be held on Sunday November 3, 2013 and the championship game will be held on Sunday November 10, 2013. The championship team will have their names engraved on the ACBA Cup.

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. Charles Grudowski has agreed to have his law firm, Grudowski Law, LLC, sponsor T-shirts for the league.

To register, complete a Registration Form and send it to the league commissioner, Charles Grudowski, at CJG@GrudowskiLaw.com or call (412) 855-7727. The deadline for registration is Friday, August 23, 2013.  Questions should be directed to Mr. Grudowski.

 

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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 the attached “Frequently Asked Questions” handout.  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.

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 Creatign 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.”  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 here under the Career Resources tab and on DuqLawConnect (under the Resource tab).

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.  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.

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 skill, 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 205, 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, 2013.  A copy of the same was posted here on July 1, 2013.

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Fall Recruitment (Including OCI)

TO: All Law Students Returning in the Fall of 2013
FROM: The Career Services Office
RE: Fall Recruitment (Including OCI)
DATE: July 1, 2013 (Distributed via e-mail and posted to The Common Plea)

Greetings from the Career Services Office (CSO)! We hope that your summer has been productive and enjoyable. This letter is designed to provide you with information about Fall Recruitment, including On-Campus Interviews, judicial clerkship deadlines for rising 3D/4E/4P’s, and upcoming federal government deadlines.

Fall On-Campus Interviewing (OCI)

This year, on-campus interviews begin on Monday, August 12, 2013*, and continue through Friday, November 15, 2013. During OCI, participating employers will interview law students for positions as 2014 summer associates and for full-time, entry-level associate positions to begin in the fall of 2014. Therefore, all day, part-time day, and evening students in the Classes of 2014 and 2015 are eligible to participate in Fall OCI.** If you plan on participating, you should have the following items: an updated resume, a cover letter, a copy of your Law School transcript/grade report, a writing sample, and a list of references.

The CSO utilizes DuqLawConnect to publicize OCI information. On DuqLawConnect, you will be able to review the list of participating employers and submit your application materials. Essentially, you will go to DuqLawConnect (https://law-duq-csm.symplicity.com/students), complete a student profile, upload your documents, review the employers’ information and hiring criteria under the OCI tab, and then decide to which employers you would like to submit your materials. If you misplaced your log-in information, please send an e-mail lawcareers@duq.edu.

For detailed instructions about this on-line application process, you should review the User Guide for On-Campus Interviews, which can be found under the “Resources” tab on DuqLawConnect.

The list of employers participating in OCI is updated as firms/organizations register for OCI. You are encouraged to check the list on a regular basis so you do not miss an opportunity to submit your materials for OCI consideration. The application deadline for each employer will be listed accordingly. An employer’s OCI application deadline will not be extended for any reason.

To assist the law firms and organizations with their scheduling efforts, Fall OCI is divided into various sessions:

Session 1: August 12 – August 30
Session 2: September 3 – September 30
Session 3: October 1 – November 15
CSO Collecting: Interview dates dependent on firms’ schedules.
Students Apply Directly: Interview dates dependent on firms’ schedules.

Firms will participate in only one session; a firm does not return to campus to interview students during later sessions. For example, a firm listed in Session 1 does not return in Session 3 to interview additional students or students who missed the original deadline.

Submitting your resume to an employer is considered a commitment to participate in every interview for which you are selected. If you are not genuinely interested in a firm, please do not submit your resume — it is unfair to your fellow students who are genuinely interested and it undermines the CSO’s recruiting efforts. On-campus interviews are not “practice interviews.” They are costly to the firms, and very important to those students who have a sincere interest in the firms. Therefore, if you are selected for an interview, you must take the interview. If you fail to show up, you will forfeit the next interview for which you are selected. Of course, if there are verifiable extenuating circumstances (serious illness, death in the family, etc.), please contact the CSO and we will assist you in rescheduling your interview.

A Special Note about The Current Legal Market

Large law firms are operating under what they call the “new normal” in which summer associate class sizes have decreased by as much as 75% or more, e.g., a firm that previously had 20 summer associates now has 5. This means fewer positions are available at those firms, and even students with outstanding credentials will have to work very hard to find a summer position. August/September is the time of year when large law firms nationwide are recruiting, so do your research and send out your cover letters and resumes before classes begin. The CSO has resources to assist you in identifying and contacting firms in this region and nationwide. In addition, consider federal government opportunities, judicial clerkships, and other firms in the markets that you are targeting.

Beyond Fall On-Campus Interviewing

Traditionally, employers who participate in Fall OCI tend to be large law firms or legal departments of large corporations. Employers who will interview on campus this fall tend to focus on students in the top of the class and those on Law Review. Most, but not all, OCI employers require or prefer that candidates have a certain GPA or class rank. Because some of the employers will consider students who have had significant work or life experiences or who meet other hiring criteria, you are encouraged to review all OCI listings so you do not miss an opportunity for which you are eligible to apply.

Although Fall OCI is a very visible and useful job search vehicle for some students, it is only one aspect of the CSO’s efforts to help ALL students obtain employment. A relatively small percentage of students find positions through Fall OCI. No one can or should rely on OCI as the sole means of
procuring a job. It has always been the case that the majority of students obtain jobs through independent efforts, including networking, targeted mailings to small- and medium-size firms, informational interviews, and responses to job postings. In the current legal job market, having an active job search that requires making regular contacts is not just desirable, it is essential to finding employment. The CSO is here to assist you with your job search.

Much of the CSO’s time and resources will be spent assisting those students who do not get their jobs through Fall OCI. We cannot “get” each of you a job, but we will make available to you as many opportunities and resources as possible. Further, our primary role is assisting you in developing job search skills that you can use throughout your careers. We are planning a variety of programs and workshops for the upcoming academic year to help you with these important skills.

We strongly encourage each of you to take full advantage of all CSO programs. In addition, students should schedule individual appointments for resume review, job search strategy advice, and interview skills suggestions. Remember, the success of your job search is in your hands — be as prepared as you can be for the difficult task that lies ahead. Preparation and perseverance are essential.

An Interview Skills Panel Discussion will kick-off the CSO programming for the 2013-2014 year. This program will feature attorneys and legal recruiters who serve on hiring committees and regularly conduct interviews with students. All students are encouraged to attend this program, regardless of your participation in Fall OCI. Many small and mid-sized firms do not have recruitment offices or personnel, but the issues, concerns and questions regarding student and recent graduate recruitment and interviewing are universal in many respects. This program will be held during the week of August 5. If schedules permit, we will have a daytime (12:15-1:15 p.m.) and evening (5:15-6:15 p.m.) session. For planning purposes, please send a note to comas@duq.edu with your time preference.

Department of Justice: Applications for the Attorney General’s Honors Program (entry-level attorney openings) and 2013 Summer Law Internship Program (SLIP) will be available online beginning July 31, 2013. The deadline to apply is September 3, 2013. Additional information about both programs can be found at http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/students.html.

Federal Government: The application deadlines for many entry-level and internship positions with federal government agencies are in the fall. If you are interested in a post-graduate position or a summer internship with the federal government, visit the Government Honors & Internship Handbook, which can be linked to from your DuqLawConnect homepage, under the “Shortcuts” section. The Handbook is updated regularly, so interested students should review it frequently for new information.

Judicial Clerkships: Graduating Students (3D, 4E, 4P): The recommended deadline to apply for federal judicial clerkships was Friday, June 28, 2013. This was the first day on which many federal judges began to review applications, interview candidates and make employment offers. Many (but not all) federal judges require that students apply online through the OSCAR system (https://oscar.symplicity.com).

Graduating students should apply to state judicial clerkships in the summer or early fall semester of their last year of law school. The state courts’ application processes vary, and students are encouraged to review the Judicial Clerkship Guide which provides information about the application processes in each state. Students may link to this password-protected site directly from their DuqLawConnect homepage under the “Shortcuts” section.

Equal Justice Works Fellowship Programs: A variety of fellowship opportunities are available to graduating students (3D, 4E, 4P) through Equal Justice Works. Students may apply, beginning this summer, for the Equal Justice Works Fellowships and AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships. Each of these programs has specific application requirements, and interested should become familiar with them by reviewing the information found at www.equaljusticeworks.org. Applications for the Equal Justice Works Fellowship will be available on July 8, 2013; they are due on September 17, 2013. The application deadline for the AmeriCorps Fellowships has not yet been posted. Students interested in additional public service and government fellowships should create a free account with www.psjd.org (Public Service Jobs Directory) and review their comprehensive listing of fellowship opportunities.

Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program: Graduating students (3D, 4E, 4P) are eligible to apply for the Presidential Management Fellows Program. This is a two year fellowship program that enables graduate degree students to be appointed to Federal positions as PMF’s and to have the opportunity to be converted from a PMF to a permanent position following a successful fellowship. Information for the Class of 2014 PMF Class should be available on www.pmf.gov in summer/fall 2013. As a point of reference, the application deadline was in November for the Class of 2013.

Resumes & Cover Letters – Resources Available to You
Information about drafting a resume, cover letter, and application materials; researching employers; preparing for an interview; and choosing a writing sample is available in the CSO Handbook, which can be found online on The Common Plea (www.duqlawblogs.org/cso – under Career Resources). Additional resources are available to you in the CSO Resource Center.

You are encouraged to have your resume and other documents reviewed before you apply for any employment or internship position. If you would like your documents to be reviewed, please email them to Maria Comas at comas@duq.edu. Because of the increased number of requests to review documents during the summer, please allow one week for the review of your materials.

 

IMPORTANT DATES

June 28, 2013: Deadline to apply for federal judicial clerkships via OSCAR.

July 8 – September 17, 2013: Apply for Equal Justice Works Fellowships.

July 29, 2013: First application deadline for OCI employers. OCI application materials are due on a rolling basis. The application deadline for each employer will be included in their OCI listing.

July 31 – September 3, 2013: Apply for Department of Justice Attorney General’s Honors Attorney Program and SLIP.

August 12, 2013: On-campus interviews begin.

August 2013: Interview Skills Panel Discussion. Details to follow.

TBA: Deadline to apply for Presidential Management Fellowship Program and AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship Program.

* At the request of multiple employers, OCI will begin earlier in August than it has in previous years.  Because employers interview students in cities across the country, we moved our interview dates up in order to give our students opportunities to be interviewed and considered for positions before those positions were filled.
**Special note to Evening Division students: on campus interviews are generally conducted between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  If your work schedule does not permit you to participate in interviews during those times, you may opt to contact employers directly rather than to bid for interviews via OCI.  If you elect to do this, indicate in your cover letter that you are applying directly because your work schedule does not permit you to participate in the on-campus interviews.  If you are a 2E or 2P and wish to apply to a firm, please do not apply through OCI unless the firm indicates an interest in receiving resumes from 2Es/2Ps.  Rarely will larger firms consider 2Es and 2Ps for summer associate positions.  If you believe that you have unique qualifications and wish to apply, please do so by writing directly to the firm’s recruiting personnel.

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