Monthly Archives: August 2015

2016 Graduates – Fall Alumni Reception

2016 Graduates
are invited to the

Pittsburgh Fall Alumni Reception
Thursday, September 24 * 5:00-8:00 p.m. * DoubleTree Downtown Pittsburgh

RSVP required by September 18
Phone: 412-396-5216

Order business cards to distribute at this networking event or any others this year!
The CSO will provide 30 complimentary business cards to law students.
Orders must be submitted via SharePoint by
Monday, September 14, at 6:00 p.m.
(Use your DORI log-in to access SharePoint.)

*You are welcome to attend as much of the reception as your schedule permits.


Comments Off on 2016 Graduates – Fall Alumni Reception

Filed under Announcements, Networking

U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development Legal Honors Program Information Session

Wednesday, August 26 * 12:00-1:00 p.m. * Room 301

The U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development Office of General Counsel is hiring for its 2016-2017 Legal Honors Program.  Current 3D, 4E & 4P must apply by September 4, 2015.  If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, plan to attend this program featuring Sarah Pietragallo, Esq., who will be able to answer questions about the position and the application process.  Lunch will be provided.  RSVP welcomed, but not required, via DuqLawConnect – Events tab.

Comments Off on U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development Legal Honors Program Information Session

Filed under Programs

Communicate Professionalism in Interviews

By Mary Crane (
August 2015 Newsletter

Every professional services organization seeks candidates who have a firm grasp of one term: professionalism. Recruiters openly tell me that they only hire candidates who look like a professional, sound like a professional, and most importantly, demonstrate professionalism in their behaviors and attitudes.

With this in mind, job candidates and recruiters should focus on the following:

Dress the Part
Dressing the part is a cinch. In most cases, a nicely tailored navy blue suit, with a white shirt or blouse, and a tie for the gentlemen works perfectly. Virtually everyone—tall and short, thin and not so thin—looks like a gazillion dollars in an interview outfit of this nature. Besides, every political consulting firm in the county has tested this “uniform” with focus groups, and they consistently find that it communicates competence and trustworthiness.

Ladies, you have a little more discretion than your male counterparts. To the extent you opt for an outfit other than a navy blue suit, make sure that your attire does not detract from the key messages you wish to convey throughout your interview. Choose conservative over flamboyant.

Sound the Part
Sounding professional can be a bit more challenging. To succeed, focus on three big concepts:

Concentrate. Many students spend their lives texting and tweeting, something you must not do during an interview. Please do not take your smartphone into an interview. If you expect an emergency message—and I do mean a genuine emergency—carry your phone with you, turn it to vibrate, and slip it into your suit coat pocket or a portfolio. At the very beginning of your interview, explain the situation to your interviewer and then concentrate on each question you receive.

Communicate confidence. Avoid verbal mistakes that can make you appear less than secure in your own abilities, including: speaking too quickly; speaking too quietly; and discounting your own comments. In the latter case, know that whenever you start a sentence with, “This probably isn’t important, but …,” you have discounted any words that immediately follow.

Avoid space fillers. When they don’t know what to say next, lots of job candidates use space fillers, including “uh,” “ah,” “you know,” or “like.” As soon as you hear a couple of these creep into your language, stop, look directly at your interviewer, and say, “This is important. Please give me a moment to gather my thoughts.” Then do just that. Think about what you wish to say and then express yourself succinctly.

Prove Your ProfessionalismInvariably, an interviewer will say, “Tell me something about yourself.” This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you already possess attitudes that embody professionalism. To the extent you can reference specific behaviors that demonstrate your professionalism, be prepared to share these.

Following are five key professional attitudes and behaviors that most employers seek:

Preparedness. Employers seek workers who are prepared to tackle tasks from Day One. You can demonstrate your commitment to preparedness by discussing how you currently participate in several study groups in order to avoid last minute cramming for exams. If you worked during the summer, explain how you learned to set aside time each weekend to prepare for the upcoming week. By the way, show your commitment to preparedness by carrying several extra copies of your résumé with you to each interview … just in case an interviewer misplaces your paperwork.

Initiative. Employers seek workers who look for opportunities to solve problems without being asked. If you’ve returned from a summer job, discuss how you constantly stayed on the lookout for opportunities where you could contribute, from never leaving a copy machine without paper to offering to come into the office over the weekend to assist a document review team. If you have not entered the work world yet, talk about a time where you took initiative on a school project.

Feedback. Employers have zero interest in all the positive feedback that you’ve received throughout your life. They are deeply interested in the constructive feedback that you’ve received, and more importantly, how you responded to that feedback. An interviewer learns about your commitment to growth when you explain, “I was told my writing skills could use some improvement. So I immediately met with a recruiter and asked about retaining a writing coach. Within two weeks, my supervisor sent several emails with positive feedback indicating that I had shown improvement.”

Client service. Every professional services provider knows that providing superlative client service is fundamental to success. To the extent you’ve worked in a service industry—even if your employment was limited to waiting tables—explain your commitment to client service. For example, you could say, “I learned that it didn’t matter whether or not the chef thought some item should be served medium rare. If my customer wanted his steak ‘well done,’ I insisted on it.”

Grit. A whole body of research coming out of the University of Pennsylvania indicates that the best indicator of success is grit. It turns out that good old perseverance is more critical to long-term achievement than IQ or GPA. So tell an interviewer about a time when you showed resilience in the face of long odds. By the way, if you want to know just how gritty you are, visit Professor Angela Duckworth’s website.

Copyright © 2015 Mary Crane & Associates.
(Permission granted to share this article with law students. 8/18/15.)

Comments Off on Communicate Professionalism in Interviews

Filed under Interviewing, Resources

Invitation to ALL 2015 Graduates from the Women’s Bar Association

Surviving the Bar Exam Reception

The Women’s Bar Association invites you to celebrate and unwind at the Blue Line Grille – Uptown (outdoor patio -upper level) on Thursday, August 27th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Your first drink is on the WBA. Complimentary appetizers will be provided. This is a great opportunity to network with some of the rising and established stars of the Pittsburgh legal community. The Blue Line Grille is located on Fifth Avenue across from Consol Energy Center. Please RSVP to Stephanie Jones at, preferably by Monday, August 24th.

Comments Off on Invitation to ALL 2015 Graduates from the Women’s Bar Association

Filed under Networking

OCI Interviewing Advice

(Originally posted August 8, 2014.)
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?

Comments Off on OCI Interviewing Advice

Filed under Interviewing