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Thursday, December 19, 2013

5 Things to Do Over Winter Break

Whether you are seeking your first legal job for the summer or looking for post-graduate employment, the winter break is a good time to organize your job search campaign.

1. Reconnect with old contacts and establish new ones. Send a holiday card to former employers and colleagues updating them on your academic and career progress. Use the networking section of the Symplicity site to contact alumni in the area and ask if they are available to meet after the New Year. Check the LinkedIn Alumni feature to identify and establish connections with fellow graduates from your undergraduate school who are practicing law.

2. Let everyone know that you are looking for a job. Use holiday parties to update old friends, relatives, and neighbors with your interests and where you would like to practice. You never know who has valuable contacts that could lead to opportunities. Listen to a free podcast by the ABA for more tips on holiday networking.

3. Update your resume. Be sure to add any clinics you are taking during the spring semester. Re-read previous blog posts on resume writing for frequently asked questions and resume suggestions. The Career Services Office will be available to review resumes and cover letters starting January 6.

4. Apply to jobs and research potential employers to contact directly. Search job postings on the JobNet and other websites listed on our “Job Search Resources” handout available on the Symplicity site. Utilize our handout “Targeting Small to Medium-Sized Law Firms Using Martindale-Hubbell” to do a targeted search for firms and organizations in your geographic area and field of interest.

5. Relax. Focus on a little rest and relaxation so that you will feel rejuvenated upon your return next semester: sleep in, catch up on your favorite TV shows, do some non-law school related reading, and spend quality time with your family and friends.

Have a happy and productive winter break, from your friends in the Career Services Office!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What I Did This Summer: Lianne Henderson ’15, Judicial Intern, Barnstable Probate and Family Court

Lianne Henderson is a second-year day student at New England Law | Boston. This past summer she worked as a judicial intern for the Barnstable Probate and Family Court. As part of our the November blog series highlighting student work, Lianne writes about her summer experience and explains how she found her internship.

This summer, I had the opportunity to work as a judicial intern at the Barnstable Probate and Family Court through the Boston Bar Association’s (BBA) Summer Judicial Internship Program. I found the BBA’s posting on the school’s Symplicity website, which I checked daily beginning in December of my 1L year. I secured this position the same day I learned I would receive a generous stipend if I secured an internship that qualified as public service. My summer stipend was provided through New England Law | Boston’s Center for Law and Social Responsibility Summer Fellowship Program. Everything lined up perfectly and I was anxious to get the summer started.

I worked for two judges doing a lot of research and writing, and observed many trials and hearings. The probate and family court was far more diverse than I imagined. I worked on matters involving divorce, custody and visitation, guardianship and conservatorship, and some jurisdiction. I reported directly to the judges, and drafted numerous findings, judgments, and orders. I also observed trials and hearings and conducted research to compose memoranda to submit to the judges. I often joined the judge after an interesting hearing and discussed how we both felt about it. It was an amazing experience to see the judge’s perspective.

I was based in Barnstable, but through the BBA program I had the opportunity to have an orientation in Boston run by Attorney Denise Fitzgerald, the Administrative Attorney for all probate and family courts in Massachusetts. Additionally, I was connected to the BBA’s network and awarded the opportunity to do observation in other courts, like oral arguments in the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the Whitey Bulger trial in federal court, and a tour of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Whenever I got an e-mail about one of these opportunities, I took advantage of it, despite the long commute.

My biggest piece of advice is to be flexible. Had I limited my internship search solely to Boston, I would have had much more difficulty securing an internship. Additionally, most of the notices I received to observe other courts came within less than twenty-four hours of the event. Although it was inconvenient to travel to Boston for a one hour hearing, it allowed me to network and meet judges and attorneys, which was extremely valuable. Through this internship, I sharpened my legal research and writing skills and was able to see the judge’s perspective on numerous matters. I am extremely grateful for my summer experience through the BBA’s Summer Judicial Internship Program.

- Lianne Henderson, Class of 2015

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I Did This Summer: Joyell Johnson ’15, Law Clerk, Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Esperanza Center

Joyell Johnson is a second-year day student at New England Law | Boston. This past summer she worked as a law clerk for the Catholic Charities of Baltimore’s Esperanza Center. As part of our the November blog series highlighting student work, Joyell writes about her summer experience and explains how she found her internship.

This summer, I had the pleasure of being a law clerk at Catholic Charities of Baltimore’s Esperanza Center. Had it not been for my professors and the Center for Law and Social Responsibility (CLSR), I would have missed out on the best 1L summer experience. I did not enter law school with an interest in immigration law. However, working with real clients applying for lawful status in the United States strengthened my legal skills, and provided me with a strong foundation for becoming a practicing attorney.

After taking a couple of years off following college graduation, I decided to pursue law school for international human rights law. It was not until I met with my constitutional law professor, that I discovered my interest in working for the government. He was the first person to put the immigration law “bug” in my ear as a way to merge my interests in government and international law. Unfortunately, I did not meet with him until the middle of January, when many application deadlines had passed or were too soon for me to be fully considered as a possible candidate. Because I started my application research later than expected (and yes, January is late for internships in certain fields of law) I was not eligible to apply for most legal positions I found. Nevertheless, I was determined to find a summer internship. I decided to continue meeting with various legal professionals who may have suggestions for securing the right internship.

At the end of January, I met with the CLSR’s fellow, Erika Barber, to discuss whether I would be a good fit for the new public interest fellowship offered at New England Law | Boston. Little did I know that the fellow would connect me with New England alumna, Adonia Simpson’09, in Baltimore, Maryland. During our informal meeting in the school’s lobby, I expressed my law interests and flexibility with interning outside of Boston. Erika then mentioned she knew Adonia, who is a managing attorney at Catholic Charities of Baltimore, hired summer interns to work on immigration cases. She asked me to send her my personal statement and resumé so that she could then forward them to Adonia. I immediately scheduled an appointment with Mandie LeBeau in the Career Services Office to make sure my resumé was up to par. I am grateful Mandie spent quality time restructuring my resumé. Since then, I have met with Susan Molinari and Mandie to update my resumé after my summer internship. I am more confident in my resumé highlighting my experience and being a good first impression for future employers.

By February, I had sent my personal statement and resumé to Erika. She forwarded my materials to Adonia, who offered me a summer position before March. Additionally, I was selected to be a public interest fellow through the law school’s summer fellowship program, which funded my law clerk position at Catholic Charities of Baltimore. I thought my time at Catholic Charities of Baltimore would just consist of research, but I was asked to write a motion on my first day! I worked directly with clients applying for asylum, lawful permanent residence, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), and u visas under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). I drafted motions, personal affidavits, and research conditions on a regular basis. The supervising attorneys treated me more like an attorney and less like a student, which I appreciated.

Looking back, the only reason I secured such a great internship was because I networked. I did not come to law school from a legal background, so I asked many questions about how to find the right internship to give me quality experience. I was lucky enough to do just that.

- Joyell Johnson, Class of 2015

Students have access to internship and postgraduate job postings and can participate in on- and off-campus recruitment programs through our Symplicity site. To access, you will need your Student ID# and a password (sent to you in November of your first year.) If you don't have a password, please email the Career Services Office (CSO) at To identify your own career goals and create a personalized job search strategy, call the CSO at 617-422-7229 to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.

Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 Summer Employment Survey Results

This year 181 New England Law students completed our 2013 Summer Employment Survey giving us valuable information about where students worked and how they found their jobs. Of the students who completed the survey 59% were from the class of 2015 and 40% were from the class of 2014.

Types of Employment
The majority of students who responded worked in a legal job. 
  • 85% worked in a summer or permanent legal job
  • 6% worked in a non-legal summer  or permanent job
  • 4% participated in a study abroad program 
  • 5% did not work
Of those who worked, 45% were in paid positions, and 55% were unpaid.

How Students Found Employment
It is important to remember to use a variety of methods when searching for employment. While many respondents found their summer employment through a job posting on the CSO's JobNet many others found their job through someone they knew, a networking connection, or by contacting the employer directly. 
  • 27% found their job through a referral from someone they knew
  • 27% found employment by responding to a job posted on the CSO JobNet on Symplicity
  • 12% found their job through networking or contacting the employer directly
  • 18% found employment through a law school program (such as a clinic or the Honors Judicial Internship Program), an outside organization, or other means not specified
  • 6% returned to or continued with a pre-law school employer
  • 6 % found their job through an on-campus interview or job fair
  • 4% responded to a job posting on a commercial job website
Where Students Worked
  • 75% remained in Massachusetts
  • 20% worked out of state
  • 5% worked internationally or participated in a study abroad program
While the majority of New England Law students worked locally, a number of students gained experience in Florida, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Washington, DC. Students also participated in study abroad programs in Galway and Prague. 

Below are just a few of the law firms and organizations who hired New England Law Students this summer: 

Greater Boston Legal Services
Law Offices of Mary Wynne Gianturco, LLC 
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Department of Public Safety
New Hampshire Public Defender 
The Boston Public Health Commission  
U.S. Attorney's Office
Sheff Law Offices (Boston, MA)
Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers, P.C.
Volunteer Lawyers Project
Federal District Court of Massachusetts
United States District Court - District of Massachusetts 
Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender 
Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Office of Administrative Law Judges 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Civil Service Commission 
MA Attorney General's Office 
City of Boston Law Department 
Law Office of John M. Iacoi & Associates 
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office 
Ablitt Law Offices, PC
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Probate & Family Court
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1
Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts-Office of Attorney General
Massachusetts Department of Revenue 
Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development 
Boston Municipal Court Department
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau 
City of Boston, Office of Labor Relations 
Massachusetts Appeals Court
Rosencranz & Associates 
Massachusetts Superior Court 
Community Legal Services And Counseling Center 
Milligan Coughlin LLC 
Supreme Judicial Court 
Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP
Sweeney Merrigan Law 
United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts 
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. 
Middlesex District Attorney's Office 
Gordon E. Meyer & Associates, P.C. 
Bain & Company, Inc.
David Marshall Datz, P.C. 
Kenneth Levine & Associates
Neighborhood Legal Services 
Essex County District Attorney's Office 
Massachusetts Land Court 
The Law Office of Peter A. Moustakis, LLC

Where did you work last summer? If you have not already completed your 2013 Summer Employment Survey, log on to Symplicity to tell us about your experience!

Looking for a job for next summer? The Career Services Office is here to help you. Call 617-422-7229 to schedule an appointment today. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Preparing for the 2013 Recruitment Programs

On July 3rd, the Recruitment Instructional Packet was emailed to all rising 2LD/3LE and 3LD/4LE students. The first Recruitment application deadline is July 16th. Each year our office receives many questions from students about this program. Please find our answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Q:  What is the Recruitment Program?
A:  The Recruitment Program (RP) includes a variety of public interest, government, law firm, and judicial employers seeking 2013 summer and post-graduate associates and clerks.  RP begins in July and will continue throughout the Fall semester.  

Q:  How do I apply for the Recruitment Programs?
A:  If you are applying for an on-campus interview, resume collection, or off-campus interview, apply through the CSO’s Symplicity site.  If you are applying for the National Recruitment Program, or the Government and Public Interest Interview Program, apply through the Massachusetts Law School Consortium’s (MLSC) site.  For detailed, step-by-step instructions, please refer to the Recruitment Instructional Packet, which was emailed to your New England Law account on July 3rd, and can also be found under the “Job Search Handouts” tab on the CSO’s Symplicity site.

Q:  When I’m in Symplicity, and I click on the “OCI” tab, it says something about a summer survey and I can’t find the participating employers.  Where do I go from here?
A:  Every Fall, all 2LD/3LEs and 3LD/4LEs are required to complete summer surveys and update their profiles including the Transcript Waiver and Interview Policy Acknowledgement before they are able to view the OCI section.  When prompted to complete the summer survey, click “Add New” and fill in the required survey fields.  After you submit your survey, you should automatically be taken to the OCI section.  

Q:  My grades aren't great.  Should I even bother applying to big firms?
A:  You should be realistic when applying to large firms.  They typically are very strict about their grade requirements and most likely will not interview students who do not meet the standards which they have set. That said, occasionally there are exceptions to that general rule when a student exhibits better than average grades with special skills or highly relevant experience. However, there are plenty of other legal job opportunities that are not heavily grade driven.  Review the Job Search Timelines section in Part I of the Recruitment Instructional Packet for more information on law firm, government, public interest and judicial clerkship employers.

Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions: Part II 
Tips for Writing the Perfect Cover Letter
Frequently Asked Questions About Writing Samples

Have more questions about preparing your application? Read our blog entries on resumes, cover letters, and writing samples:  
What are Memorandums? Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tips for a Successful Summer

A summer internship is not only an excellent opportunity to learn more about a particular legal field while developing your legal skills but it is also a critical time to build lasting connections that may lead to future post-graduate employment. Here are a few  tips for making the most of your internship and having a successful summer.

Be prepared.
Avoid starting your internship on the wrong foot by arriving ill-prepared. Have you confirmed your start date and time? Is your first day at the office or are you meeting somewhere else for an orientation? Give yourself plenty of time for your commute on the first day. It is always better to arrive a little early than late. What is the dress code? If you are unsure, call ahead and ask. Ask for clarification if the dress code is business casual or casual as the terms can mean different things depending on the organization. Even if the office dress code is informal, there may be occasions that still call for business attire including court appearances and client meetings. When in doubt, always wear a suit. Also, be sure to take plenty of notes during your tour of the office and training.

Be proactive.
Do not be afraid to ask questions! Questions are expected and welcomed as they usually mean your are engaged and conscientious about doing the work correctly. Also be open and communicative by meeting with your supervisor about how best to keep in contact with them over the summer and consistently keep them appraised of the progress of your projects. Use your down time to offer assistance and ask for new assignments; do not wait for the work to be assigned to you.

Be professional.
While some offices may appear casual and laid-back, it is important to remain professional and take your work seriously. The usual common sense rules apply: be kind and respectful to everyone in the office including the support staff and other interns; do not check your personal email account or make personal calls during work hours; do not drink excessively with other attorneys or staff members at after work functions. Also, remember that some things considered acceptable behavior for full-time, permanent members of the organization are not always considered acceptable behavior for summer interns. Be on time even if every attorney in the office arrives late; do not use bad language even if everyone else in the office curses; and refrain from getting caught up in office gossip.

Lastly, be sure you end your internship on a good note. Identify any loose ends prior to your last week of work, provide case summaries of everything you have worked on and update your supervisor on the status of any unfinished projects. Your summer employer may act as a future reference, networking contact, or be a potential post-graduate employer and it is important to leave a lasting, positive impression.

For further reading:
First Week of Work: Make or Break Your Summer (via Pass the Baton)

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Getting the Most Out of the Alumni Career Forum

There are two purposes to the Alumni Career Forum taking place this Wednesday, April 3rd:

Network: You’ve heard this before - - people often find a job through people they know! The Alumni Career Forum is designed to help you get to know practicing attorneys. While the  Forum is not a job fair (resume exchanges are not allowed), students often gain employment through meeting alumni and following-up with them on their own. The alumni participating will be ready and waiting to meet you.

Exploration:  Over 40 areas of law will be represented at the Forum. This is an excellent time for you to explore many different practice areas of the law and learn about different career paths. You will find out what areas are growing and which are declining and changing. You will gain practical information and realistic insights as to what you can do NOW to prepare for gaining legal experience/employment in the future. You will also learn how New England Law alumni found their first job(s) and how they came to work in their practice area.

The Do’s:

1. Do: Dress in appropriate business attire. This event is taking place after work hours, and the alumni volunteers are coming straight from work in their business attire. You want to impress these individuals. Dress professionally.

2. Do: Be on time. Give yourself the full two hours to attend the event if possible. There will be lots of people for you to meet. Give yourself enough time to make the most of this opportunity.

3. Do: Be aware of how much time you are spending with one person. At this event, 5-10 minutes is enough time to talk with someone. Be mindful of other students who may be waiting behind you to talk with the alum you are talking with.

4. Do: Be open minded in choosing who you speak to. You may receive excellent advice on how to get a job from someone who is practicing in an area that you have no interest. You may also become interested in areas that you haven’t yet explored!

5. Do: Collect business cards from participants. After you have talked with an alum, ask for his/her business card. Try following up with an email, letter or phone call.

6. Do: Be prepared. Review the Participant Biographies booklet before the event and know something about the alumni you would like to meet before you attend the event. Try to think of questions that you would like to ask that person about their career so that you will be well prepared to make the most of this opportunity.

The Don'ts:
1. Don’t: Bring a resume to this career forum. Collect business cards to follow-up with the alumni in the future.

2. Don’t: Ask for a job! This is not a job fair. Focus on building new professional relationships, gathering information for your career plans and making valuable contacts, rather than focusing on the job you hope to gain.

3. Don’t: Limit your questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. For example, there are many aspects of practicing business/corporate law. The simplest question of: “What does a corporate attorney do?” is a great way to start a conversation.

4. Don’t: Limit who you are willing to meet. Look around and see who is by themselves at their table. Go to them and strike up a conversation. Even if you are positively sure you have no interest in their practice area, they may be full of great job search information, or you may learn of a new area of interest or they may know someone to connect you with.

5. Don’t: Feel like you are “schmoozing” people. Attorneys love to share their story. You are allowing them a chance to do so. Also, alums remember what it was like to be a student and they want to help you!

Networking Etiquette and Sample Questions:

Introductions and Closings

1. First, introduce yourself and give the alum relevant information such as your class year, your interests, work experience, student associations/memberships and organizations.

2. Shake hands firmly.

3. Use the list of questions below to help get the conversation started.

4. Be aware of the time. Try not to spend more than 5 minutes with someone if there are students waiting.

5. Towards the end of your conversation, ask for a business card from the participant.

6. Thank the alum for his/her time and coming to meet you.

Suggestions of Questions to Ask
What is a typical work day for you?
What types of cases/projects are you currently working on?
How is what I am learning in school different from what it will be like practicing [insert practice area]?
What does an [insert practice area] lawyer do?
How did you become a [insert practice area] attorney?
If I am interested in [insert practice area], what can I do to make myself an attractive candidate for employment by the time I graduate?
Can you recommend any professional organizations that might be useful for someone interested in [insert practice area] law?

Breaking into Certain Fields
How did you get your first job in [insert practice area] after law school?
Did you work while you were a student? Where? Did it help you get into [insert practice area]?
I have had two experiences within [insert practice area]. Should I continue to work in this practice area, or is it better for me to try a different practice area?
How did you get into a “solo/small/medium/large sized” firm? What do they look for in attorneys?
How important are grades to get my first position in a “solo/small/medium/large sized law firm or government agency/clerkship” opportunity?

The Alumni Career Forum will take place at the Revere Hotel on Wednesday, April 3rd, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, and is open to all current New England Law | Boston students. To attend, please RSVP with the CSO!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 Questions for a Practitioner: Sharon Schawbel '01, Counsel, Staples, Inc.

Prior to attending law school, Sharon Schawbel received a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Tulane University Freeman School of Business in New Orleans, Louisiana and subsequently worked for five years in the field of Event Planning.  After graduating from  New England Law | Boston, Sharon became a litigation associate at a small law firm in Framingham, Massachusetts, concentrating her practice in civil litigation and litigation defense.  After nearly four years in the litigation arena, Sharon accepted an in-house counsel position with RNK Communications (a telecommunications service provider) where she handled a variety of legal and regulatory matters for the company.  Sharon joined Staples in April of 2009 and in the position of Counsel supports both Merchandising and the Staples Brands Group, advising these business units on a variety of legal issues relating to the procurement of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) product for retail stores, as well as the creation, sourcing, production, importation and marketing of Staples' own-brand product line. Sharon is also a member of the Legal Department’s Commercial Compliance Team, which identifies, tracks and informs business units of proposed and passed legislation impacting their functions.

1. How did you get started working as an in-house attorney?
My first few years after law school were spent working for a small litigation firm doing mainly insurance defense work.  That immersion in litigation, although by no means my practice area of choice, gave me a very solid legal background and the ability to truly understand how the legal process and cases work.  When I came upon an opportunity to move in-house, it was that litigation background that ended up sealing the deal for me.  The company I ended up going to was interested in adding someone to its legal team with litigation expertise, so it ended up being a great fit. After three and a half years in that position, I’d gained enough experience and insight into providing legal advice as a company employee to be well prepared for my current position at Staples.

2. What is a typical day like for you?
Working in-house you get to really focus on the work of just one client – your company.  In my case, because I work for such a large company, that gets drilled down even further.  My clients within the company are two business units.  One is the own brand product group responsible for creating, sourcing, manufacturing and marketing the company’s private label products.  The other is the retail merchandising group, which is responsible for choosing the assortment of products in our retail stores and making sure they actually get on the shelves.  The legal work is extremely interesting, and there’s never a dull moment.  On a very regular basis I encounter projects, issues and challenges that are somehow different than those dealt with previously, often requiring creative thinking to resolve them in a manner that is both legally acceptable and beneficial for the business.  My work touches on product creation, including intellectual property issues, negotiating contracts with product vendors and foreign manufacturers, international trade issues (importing/customs) and a lot of advising on consumer product laws, regulations and issues to ensure that the product content, composition, packaging, claims and promotions comply with all applicable laws.

3. Were there any particular law school or post-graduate experiences that especially prepared you for this career? 
The courses I chose in law school were mainly geared toward the bar exam.  I’d take a class here and there on a subject of interest, but was very focused on being as prepared as possible for the bar exam.  I figured without that I was not going to get too far!  Generally though, I’ve found that every experience teaches you something, so any legal work you do and exposure you get is valuable.  For me, I can really just point to my litigation background, as it provided a solid legal foundation and understanding that I was able to build and expand on, transitioning into the role I have today.

4. Are there certain personality traits candidates should have in order to do well as an in-house counsel?
When you work in-house, and for a large global company especially, you’re going to have to deal with different types of people at all different levels of the organization - many who may have little knowledge of legal issues. There might be college interns working for your client for a semester and just learning the ropes and then there are the Vice Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents and higher who you may need to fill in on exactly why the really great endeavor they’re so excited about could pose great risk to the company.  The ability to think things through, be diplomatic, understanding, build rapport and to simplify and explain complex concepts will serve you well if you practice in-house.  Come to think of it, I imagine those traits will serve you well in almost any position – life, career or otherwise!

5. What advice do you have for law students and graduates interested in pursuing in-house counsel positions? 
I think being realistic is probably most important – which does NOT mean being pessimistic!  The reality is that in-house positions are typically filled by lawyers with several years of experience and oftentimes “big firm” experience.  That is not always the case though, as I can attest!  So once you have established your solid legal foundation, I think looking at smaller companies who have in-house legal positions is the best place to start.  At a small company, you’ll be exposed to a variety of practice areas (promotions, advertising, HR, employment, regulatory, contracts, negotiation, intellectual property), and these smaller companies will likely be more flexible on the experience level required.  Note that there are not usually a lot of these positions, as small companies tend to have very small legal departments, but if you’re persistent and keep your goal in sight, the right opportunity will come along. In the meantime, you are gaining more and more experience that will make you invaluable to the company that plucks you up in the future!