By Tricia Gould, Assistant Director, Center for Co-op & Professional Advancement
One of the most outstanding things about NUSL is the incredibly wide spectrum of experiential learning opportunities available to students when applying for their four co-ops. Having said that, one of the most important tasks for students is to strategically choose among the options – all with an eye towards building a network that will lead to post graduate employment. Where and how do you begin? Read on to find out.
NUSL’s Center for Co-op & Professional Advancement (CCOPA) guides students through this challenging endeavor by offering one-on-one advising and regularly scheduled programs that cover everything from how to research prospective employers and how to write cover letters to what questions you might ask in an interview with General Counsel of a government agency or the partner of a large law firm. In addition, CCOPA arranges a multitude of programs where alumni/ae working in different legal settings (law firms, government agencies, non-profit associations, etc.) talk about their day-to-day work responsibilities. These attorneys are able to provide students with a candid inside look into the challenges and rewards of practicing in various areas of law and different practice settings.
For example, this year CCOPA brought to campus NUSL alums who work in different capacities in the areas of Business Law, Employment and Labor Law, Health Law, Corporate and Securities Transactions, Intellectual Property Law, as well as in Telecommunications and Biotech Industries. Similarly, alumni/ae working in state and federal government agencies, and public interest organizations also met with students in groups and for individual advising sessions. Students were able to hear first-hand from attorneys currently working as prosecutors, public defenders, legal counsel in federal agencies, and staff attorneys in legal assistance agencies and human rights organizations.
CCOPA also coordinates information sessions with program managers who run the premier fellowship and honors programs. This past summer, representatives and/or current or past fellows came to speak to students about the application process and the innovative projects funded through the Equal Justice Works Fellowship, the Skadden Fellowship, and the Women’s Law & Public Policy Fellowship Program. The U.S. Department of Justice made a presentation highlighting the broad range of opportunities available through its honors program.
As we move into fall, CCOPA will continue to bring legal practitioners from both traditional and non-traditional legal settings to campus. Our program schedule is already booked up until January with a robust combination of application nuts and bolts, introductions to many substantive areas of law and practice settings, and inspiration from our amazing visitors. Along with bringing attorneys to campus, CCOPA staff travel to meet with employers, choosing those employers based on student interests.