“You don’t just go to war, you prepare for it first,” said UF Law’s new assistant dean of the Center for Career Development. “The job search is the same. There is a lot of preparation and research before you
start the application process.”
And Pascale Bishop — who comes to UF from the Chicago-Kent School of Law — is
arming law students and alumni with the necessary tools to find success in today’s job
Bishop acknowledges that the legal job market is tight, owing partly to the soon-to-be-12 law schools in Florida and economic woes throughout the country, but she is working hard to provide the best opportunities for students.
“My plan is to make us as visible as possible starting on day one,” said Bishop, who took over the office Aug. 1.
In this case, increased visibility isn’t just a figure of speech; the Center for Career Development moved this summer to a new location on the ground floor of Bruton-Geer Hall near the cafeteria, a high-traffic and high-visibility spot for students.
The CCD will employ new ways of connecting students — and alumni — with internships, training and jobs, which will also raise the office’s profile, Bishop said. She also emphasizes the importance of one-on-one attention.
“With individual students assigned to a single counselor for the duration of their legal education, the idea will be establishing a more proactive role for the counselor to do follow-up and connect to the student in a more profound way.
Not only do alumni get to participate in events that the CCD offers, but the center provides access to job postings in Symplicity, an online jobs database, and an intercollegiate job bank. Alumni can receive updates on job opportunities, networking events and receptions through an alumni listserv. UF alumni can gain access to the job listing for other law schools. For more information go to www.law.ufl.edu/career/alumni/.
The center will continue to help students with setting up resumes, networking and explaining expectations of employees. Alumni can participate by entering the mentor program in which they are assigned a current student to mentor.
Wes Stephens, 2L and treasurer of the John Marshall Student Bar Association, is hopeful the center can help find his first job in a medium-sized practice or working for the state.
“I don’t expect them to do it for me,” Stephens said. “I just expect the proper tools for me to help myself.”
Stephens said the most important change the CCD has made is Bishop.
“She is very intelligent, poised and dedicated to improving the CCD,” he said. “I think every student will benefit from her becoming a part of our school.”
The center will be advising in new market areas, such as alternative legal careers — anything that doesn’t involve the traditional practice of law, Bishop said. Some students pursue J.D.s to help them in career paths outside of the legal world.
The CCD also began publishing bi-weekly newsletters for 2011 graduates and 1Ls that will point out volunteer and networking opportunities and job leads, and in the spring virtual resume books will be implemented that will put student resumes in front of more employers.
Bishop said helping students is a matter of constant relationship building, and working with motivated students in the career development field keeps her own motivation high.
“The students are excited and it’s sort of infectious,” she said.