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.
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.