By Cynthia Tow McPherson ’05, Assistant Director, Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement (CCOPA)
Reason #1: Co-op allows you to explore the legal profession. For students who have come to NUSL straight from undergrad with little employment experience, co-ops are the opportunity to build your legal skills and professional resumes. There are so many ways to practice law! Use your first co-op to get out into the work force and explore your interests. Of course, some of you know exactly what type of law you want to practice and where. You’ll use your co-ops to verify and solidify those interests.
Reason #2: Co-op allows you to put your budding legal skills to immediate use. Again and Again. Many 1Ls say something to the effect of: “I came to law school with X years of professional work experience. I can’t imagine being in the classroom for three straight years.” Exactly! You have at a minimum, four opportunities to get out into the working world and put your theoretical classroom training to use. After each co-op, you’ll analyze what you liked about the experience and what you didn’t like. You will get a better sense of where you want to work post-graduation and figure out what skills and co-ops you need to get there.
Reason #3: Co-op builds a cohesive and impressive résumé. We will encourage you to use your co-op experiences very strategically. You can use your first co-op to explore, then use your remaining co-ops to build a cohesive story. Why? Because in this competitive job market, post-graduate employers need to see focus and a skill set that allows a potential candidate to hit the ground running.
Reason #4: Co-op results in post-graduate jobs. Time and time again we hear from 3Ls and alumni that a co-op (often a third or final co-op) helped them land their first post-grad job. Whether it’s a direct connection, (i.e. receiving a post-grad job offer from the co-op employer), or an indirect connection, (i.e. receiving a post-grad offer through a referral from or connection with a co-op employer), co-op helps to land post-grad jobs.
How do I know? I have been advising law students for many years AND I am a NUSL graduate who got my first post-grad job because of co-op experiences!
We look forward to working with you in the Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement during all phases of your law school career to make the best use of our wonderful co-op program.