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Law Students Get to Know Future Employers

Monday, Jul 17, 2017

Second annual "Meet the Firm Night" helps 2Ls strategize job search efforts

By Anne Bergman
 
Making a good first impression was the primary goal for the USC Gould second-year JD students who convened with law firm recruiters at Meet the Firm Night, an event co-hosted by Gould’s Career Services Office.
 
Aaron Lewis and KeAndra Barlow represented Covington & Burling, and got to know students from USC Gould.
Nearly 90 USC Gould alumni returned to campus on June 29, helping to represent their employers at the second annual event, to which 50 firms accepted invitations to meet Gould’s current crop of 2L students. 
 
“This is the kick off to the job placement process,” said USC Gould Dean Andrew Guzman as he welcomed and expressed gratitude to the firms, lawyers and alumni who packed the Town & Gown ballroom.  “To our students, I say: ‘Take advantage of this opportunity to join a roomful of lawyers whose sole purpose is to get to know you.’”
 
The evening marked the second time that Dean of Career Services Elizabeth Armour has organized the Meet the Firm Night, a precursor to Early Interview Week and several off-campus job fairs, which are held in late July-early August. It’s her goal to prepare USC Gould students to make that positive first impression.
 
“Firms are looking to hire young lawyers who are the ‘full package,’” Armour said. “To that end, we designed this event as a way to encourage interaction and relationship building. By highlighting their emotional intelligence and people skills, we’re showing firms that our students have the temperament to be successful and instill confidence in their clients.”
 
For this year’s event, Armour noticed an uptick in firm interest, including firms with a focus on IP and tech. In addition, she said that firms were not just representing the Southern California region, but also their offices across the nation
Ian Yanniello, Nora Salem (JD 2015) and Kate Ikehara (JD 2016) shared pertinent information about their firm, O'Melveny & Myers.
and around the world.
 
Because 2L Michael Greenwade wants to work in Los Angeles, he prepared himself for Meet the Firm Night by pinpointing L.A.- area firms and formulating a series of questions “to go to if I was at a loss for words.” He said attending the event has helped him concentrate his focus for On Campus Interviews (OCI) efforts. “It showed me there are networking experiences that go beyond simply inputting information into OCI,” he said.  “I’ve narrowed my selection from a wide pool of potential employers to a couple that I can truly focus on."
 
For Paige Smith JD 2015, the evening served not only as a homecoming for the recent Gould alumna, but as a way to assist with her firm’s recruitment efforts.  “It was very helpful to put a face to the name of potential applicants,” she said. “It was also helpful to see who’d done some research on Cooley up front and who was more familiar with ‘the space’ of start-ups and VCs. We were able to meet many USC Gould students who wanted an answer to specific questions about Cooley, and also to familiarize them with our firm’s culture.”
 
Smith also shared what makes a student stand out, from a recruitment point-of-view.  “While I was happy to let anyone know what Cooley is all about, the students I really remembered were those who shared why their background led them to have an interest in Cooley and expressed a curiosity about our day-to-day work life,” she said.
 
Before the meet-and-greet portion of the evening began, Armour hosted a panel with Vanessa Foltyn Roman JD 2011
Dean of Career Services Betsy Armour (left) led a pre-panel with Adam Paris, David Niemeyer (JD 2011), Cherie Conrad Beffa, Vanessa Foltyn Roman (JD 2011) and Kimberley David (JD 2013).
(Entertainment/Media Counsel at Akin Gump); Kimberley David JD 2013 (Real Estate Associate at Venable); David Niemeyer JD 2011 (Corporate/M&A Associate at Skadden); Cherie Conrad Beffa (Director of Attorney Recruiting & Diversity at Kirkland & Ellis) and Adam Paris (Hiring Partner/Litigation Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell).
 
Each participant shared insights from the recruiting side of the table on how students should successfully approach both Meet the Firm Night and upcoming recruitment process.
 
“Firms like hearing that you know details about their them,” advised Skadden’s David Niemeyer JD 2011. “During OCI, I recommend that you print out the information about the firms you’re interested in to read between interviews. And, target alumni who are working at the firms on your list. Ask a lot of questions and prepare your answers to questions about your resume and experience.”
 
Here is a selection of the advice that the panelists shared:
 
• USC has one of the deepest alumni networks in the country, so take advantage of it;
• Be prepared to talk about every item on your resume, including your personal interests;
• Be yourself…mostly (i.e., be professional);
• Keep your thank you notes short and relevant to your conversation; make sure you proofread them before sending;
• Attend the receptions that firms host as they can be a good opportunity to get to know the personality of each institution.
• Don’t be negative. Be positive.
 
Whether you’re an employer, alumnus/a or a prospective student, find out more about Gould’s Career Services: http://gould.usc.edu/careers/jd/

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