February 11, 2013 16:55 Age: 1 yrs

Rethinking the Law Student Experience

In September,  Emory Law launched  the Center for Professional  Development and Career Strategy to work in tandem  with the Office of Career Services to help students  meet lawyers, explore different practice  areas, identify their interests and passions and plan their law school experience thoughtfully and strategically.

“Our students’ legal careers begin on their first day of law school,”  says Greg Riggs 79L,  associate dean for student services and community engagement. “Traditionally, the law school experience has been viewed as an academic exercise, as the last three years of a student’s  formal education. We are empowering  our students  to engage the profession actively in their first year.”

The new center provides a web portal  where students can access tools and resources  needed for their professional development while building their career and job search strategies.

“The center provides our students  with the ready-for- practice  knowledge  and skills that  employers are looking for,”  says Robert  B. Ahdieh, vice dean for Emory Law.

Center Components

Practice Areas: The center’s framework incorporates 23 practice  areas for guided exploration. As students  begin to identify their professional  interests and passions, the center’s resources  highlight relevant  courses, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities so students  may more effectively plan their law school path.

Practice Societies: The “action wing” of the practice areas, practice  societies bring together faculty advisors, student leaders, key alumni  and practice  or legal experts and career strategy advisors to plan substantive events and create opportunities for students  to “window shop”  and build bridges between the school and the real world.

Professional Development: Students complete a professional development plan to help them to think about  their professional  and personal  growth.  The information provides a framework to create a customized  plan for professional development inside and outside the classroom.

Career Strategy: The center’s staff works to develop and enhance its relationships with community members whose knowledge,  when combined  with the counseling and train- ing of the career strategy  advisors,  will create a powerful partnership that  leads students  to align their law school path  with their career objectives.

"The Center for Professional Development and Career Strategy extends what we learn in the classroom to places well beyond the law school walls — to firms, courtrooms and local bar associations — by connecting  us with practitioners in various legal disciplines,”  says Molly Parmer 12L,  president  of the Criminal  Law Practice Society. “This  center provides an opportunity to better understand what it is actually  like to be a lawyer and to discover an area of legal practice  that students  find inspiring.”

Employer and Alumni Outreach

“While Emory Law continues  to offer strong faculty and innovative  programs to help prepare  students  to become outstanding lawyers, our alumni  now play a critical role in the professional  development of our students,” says Robert Schapiro,  dean and Asa Griggs Candler  Professor of Law.

The center is asking alumni,  faculty, staff and practitioners  to partner with Emory Law in the professional development of students  to help them learn more about  the practice  of law and to build greater  networking opportunities so students  can make an immediate  impact in their field of choice.

Through the center, Emory Law connects with alumni  and the legal community to identify potential job opportunities. Using the information collected through the Professional Development Assessment Plan, Emory Law can assist firms by better identifying candidates who match their particular needs.

“Through this unique matching  process, Emory Law is able to help employers efficiently recruit the most suitable candidates to fill their needs,”  Ahdieh says.

To learn more about  the Center for Professional Development and Career Strategy, visit https://cpd.law.emory.edu.

For more information about  hiring Emory Law graduates, contact  the Office of Career Services at 404.727.6512 or visit https://cpd.law.emory.edu.

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