1L Career Conference Kickstarts Student Focus on the Future

students studyingIn October the Office of Career Development and Public Service (CDO) hosted its second annual 1L Career Conference, a two-day event designed to get students thinking about life beyond law school just weeks after they step foot on campus. First-year students attended panel discussions with employers to learn about a range of practice areas, professional skill-building sessions, a networking luncheon and more. The event offered not only information on various practice areas and settings, helping students hone their interests, but also invaluable advice regarding the job-search process.

“We’re working hard to get students, from the moment they enter law school, to think about their careers as a process that will extend throughout their lives,” says Douglas Saphire, an assistant director in the CDO, which organized the conference.

BU Law’s alumni network of 20,000-plus attorneys working in diverse fields across the globe has long been a significant professional resource for students, and the conference demonstrated its value to this newest class. Over 40 alumni returned to campus to share their experiences and network with students.

“Alumni are very active in providing opportunities for our students,” explains Saphire, “but they’re also extremely important from an educational perspective. We’re constantly working to provide our students with access to alumni in whose fields they might be interested.”

With 1L career advising and job searches beginning the week after the conference, the timing was ideal. But the conference also stressed the importance of forging life-long professional relationships, which can help grow a first job into a fulfilling career.

“A strong professional career is built on strong professional relationships,” says Saphire, “and success in many cases is determined by your ability to develop and cultivate relationships in a way that is beyond getting your first, or second, or third, job. It’s going to help you get clients, and it’s going to help you become a valuable member of the community that you’re trying to build yourself into.”

In a notoriously competitive legal job market, it is more important than ever for students to be aware of the variety of legal jobs available and to be able to articulate what they want to do as an attorney. According to Saphire, the 1L Career Conference is an integral part of the mission and activities of the Office of Career Development and Public Service.

“Our office works to guide students through the job search process, but we also have a significant educational aspect to our mission—helping students figure out what opportunities there are and what opportunities they’re interested in. We want them to be aware of the various directions a legal career can take, and what skills are necessary for those career paths.”

Reported by Sara Womble

November 22, 2013

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