7.1 CAREER SERVICES
Career Services Team
The Office of Career Services (OCS), overseen by the Associate Dean for Career Services and Policy Initiatives, is an experienced team that includes several directors who counsel students in many areas ranging from summer opportunities to judicial clerkships to public interest and government service to corporate opportunities and private law firm practice. Two coordinators oversee job postings and announcements as well as programming, office activities, and schedules. Finally, the Law School’s Pro Bono Service Initiative is administered through the Office of Career Services.
Career Workshops and Counseling
Throughout the year, the Office of Career Services does individual counseling and offers workshops and other educational programs on a variety of topics including interview skills, resume preparation, practice areas and practice settings, and issues affecting lawyers’ personal and professional success.
First-Year Job Searches
The National Association for Legal Professionals (NALP) Principles and Standards state that law school career service offices are not to offer services to first-semester first-year students prior to October 15. The Office of Career Services staff will hold an orientation meeting to introduce students to the services they offer and to the first-year job search. In October and November, the Office of Career Services also presents a series of programs covering the various types of jobs available for the first-year summer and preparing for that job search. In October, information about the orientation session and the Job Options Series will be sent to all first-year students. The Office of Career Services also encourages all first-year students to meet individually with one of the career counselors during late October and November to discuss the 1L job search.
Legal employers that are members of NALP may not accept 1L resumes, interview 1Ls, or make offers to 1Ls until December 1. Smaller firms, government agencies, and public interest organizations frequently do not make hiring decisions until the winter and spring of a student’s first year in law school. (One significant exception to this is government agencies with extensive security checks, like the FBI and the CIA.) In addition to job fairs, job postings, and other job search avenues, a small on-campus interview program is made available to first-year students each February.
Second- and Third-Year Fall Interview Program
The on-campus interview program (OCI) for second-and third-year J.D. students attracts several hundred employers to campus in August. Most employers who participate in OCI are large law firms, but some government agencies also participate. Employer prescreening of student resumes for the purpose of on-campus interviewing is not permitted.
Call-back interviews are primarily scheduled in late August and early September. Students should schedule their call-back interviews so that they do not interfere with class time.
Judicial Clerkship Opportunities
The Office of Career Services and the Faculty Clerkships Committee work individually with all students interested in a judicial clerkship. Each year, OCS updates a Judicial Clerkship Manual in addition to providing programs, individual counseling, and technical support to students in the application process.
Public Interest Careers
The Office of Career Services provides counseling, information, and support to students interested in working in the public sector, and the Director of Public Interest Law and Policy serves as a primary resource for students seeking careers in public service. The Director coordinates educational programs, networking opportunities, and job fairs; maintains an electronic library of public interest job search materials; provides individual counseling to interested students; administers a public interest listserv; and works closely with the Public Interest Law Society, Chicago Legal Foundation, and the Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid to identify and publicize financial support programs that make public interest careers more financially feasible.
Most of the information in the Office of Career Services is geared toward students pursuing traditional legal careers. Students interested in non-traditional opportunities should arrange for an individual appointment with one of the counselors. Law students may also use the University’s Office of Career Advancement located in Ida Noyes Hall, 2nd and 3rd floors. The Office of Career Advancement maintains information on a wide range of employment opportunities and fellowships. More information on the Office of Career Advancement is available at careeradvancement.uchicago.edu.
Posting of Job Opportunities
Throughout the year, the Office of Career Services receives hundreds of requests from legal employers in the U.S. and abroad seeking students for summer, permanent, and part-time positions. These opportunities are posted to the OCS web-based job postings service. These postings are password protected for University of Chicago students and alumni only.
OCS provides multiple sources of information on types of employment and specific employers. The OCS resource center contains materials on job search skills and strategies, reference volumes for use in OCS, and access to various databases and web-based information about specific employers and employment opportunities.
Historically, at the time of graduation, approximately 60-70% of students enter private practice; 10-17% obtain judicial clerkships; 4-7% choose corporate, finance, and business positions; 11-20% find positions in the public service and public interest sectors; and the remainder continue their graduate education, work in academia, or accept non-legal jobs.
Policies Concerning Student Recruitment and Employment
- The Law School subscribes to the University’s non-discrimination policy.
- In accordance with guidelines established by the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and the Law School Committee on Rules and Petitions, students who are employed on a part-time basis must work fewer than 20 hours per week during the school year.
- As a member of NALP, the Association for Legal Career Professionals, the Office of Career Services subscribes to NALP’s Principles & Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities and expects students and employers who use OCS services to abide by these principles and standards as well.
- Law students, as members of the legal profession, are expected to be vigilant about the ethical and professional responsibilities expected of lawyers who have graduated and been admitted to a Bar. In seeking and engaging in legal employment, law students are expected to demonstrate the same level of “character and fitness” required for membership in the profession.
7.2 SPOUSE/PARTNER EMPLOYMENT
The University’s Human Resources Office (6054 S. Drexel Ave., 773-702-8900) lists job postings. Interested people should visit the office, submit a resume, and complete an application. Employment counselors are also available for individual appointments. Full-time positions on campus are listed in The Chronicle and on the University web page at hrservices.uchicago.edu/jobs/index.shtml.
7.3 RESEARCH ASSISTANTS
Faculty members post notices for research assistants throughout the year. In addition, many faculty members hire a research assistant for the summer. Interested students should check the OCS job postings database and the Administrative Notices Bulletin Board (above the mail folders). You also may approach a faculty member for whom you are particularly interested in working.
Clerkships provide graduates with writing experience and insights into the judicial decision-making process. Over the past several years, approximately 15-25% of each graduating class obtained a judicial clerkship at some point, either immediately following graduation or after working. Following an initial judicial clerkship, some graduates elect a second judicial clerkship. Over the past decade, from October Term 2004 to October Term 2014, the Law School has placed 27 alumni in Supreme Court clerkships among 9 different justices. From October Term 1992 to October Term 2014, the Law School has had 82 clerks at the Court.
The Office of Career Services and the Faculty Clerkship Committee coordinate meetings with students interested in pursuing clerkships, advise students about opportunities and strategies, and provide students with mail-merge data used to prepare applications.
Copies of The Judicial Clerkship Manual are available from the Office of Career Services.