Call to Action: Connecting Students to the Profession
Now more than ever, alumni play a pivotal role in student career development. When it comes to careers “experience matters,” says Mina Jones Jefferson '90, Chief of Staff, Associate Dean and Director, Center for Professional Development (CPD). Connecting students to alumni is an active pursuit among the CPD, six-attorney team because they know that through networking students refine their career aspirations and make informed employment decisions. “We need your time and your experiences,” says Dean Jefferson. “When students call, be responsive. You may feel that you have little to offer, but your time is everything. If appropriate let them visit your office or attend a function with you…show them what lawyers do.”
The CPD strikes a balance between introducing students to alumni on campus as well as integrating students into the broader legal community. On any given day you will find an alumnus/a on campus serving as a panelist, interviewing students or networking with students at a Coffee Corner or lunchtime event. The CPD also enjoys formalized alumni support through the College’s Board of Visitors (BOV). Led by Dan Buckley ’74, the BOV Professional Development Committee actively partners with CPD to identify and cultivate experiences for students, be it symposia or the expansion of an existing program like C-Start.
Making An Impact
The CPD hosts a variety of programs that expose students to the workplace and two of the most impactful thrive on alumni support – Catalyst and C-Start.
Catalyst is an eight week, micro-mentoring program that delivers a big impact with a small investment of time. Catalyst folds our students into the lives of attorneys and provides practical exposure to the profession. Typically, attorneys introduce students to their work setting and attend an additional event such as a bar association event, a community-based event/program, or a committee meeting; however, you determine what works best.
Although Catalyst draws volunteers from the entire legal community, it is very popular with by Cincinnati Law alumni.
Catalyst 2018 begins on Friday, February 16, 2018, 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the College of Law and concludes the week of April 16, 2018. More than 300 students have benefitted from the program and the impact on our legal community is just as strong. The February Kickoff is devoted to planning. There you will meet your student group. Based on their interests and stated goals and your calendar, you determine when to meet again. In general you are paired with another attorney and together you are assigned three to four students to mentor.
Alumni partnerships increasingly differentiate law schools in the graduate employment arena. Enter C-START, a corporate graduate fellowship program. These one-year, full-time opportunities are as competitive as judicial clerkships and provide a strong foundation on which graduates can build a career in corporate law. During the year, the fellow develops a valuable skill set which allows them to become more qualified for future employment opportunities.
With the help of alumnus Steve Ewald ’94, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Medpace, Inc., Cincinnati Law launched C-START as a pilot opportunity in 2015. Brian Higgins ’15 was the first C-START fellow and worked at Medpace, Inc. for a period of one year, following graduation. He is now an associate in Frost Brown Todd’s Health Law Practice.
“This is a mutually beneficial program that provides new UC Law graduates with great opportunities to gain valuable, supervised in-house legal experience, while providing us as an employer with bright, motivated and enthusiastic new lawyers. We have been so pleased with the program and we have seen strong competition from the soon to be graduating class and very high ranking candidates who have applied. This is not a program of last resort for students seeking jobs, it is an affirmative choice, and that comes through clearly in the quality and quantity of candidates we have seen”. --Steve Ewald, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Medpace, Inc.
Jefferson said that the College is actively seeking alumni participants for both programs – Catalyst and C-Start. The deadline for Catalyst is quickly approaching. If you are unable to participate perhaps you know someone who can. Similarly If you are interested in learning more about C-Start, please contact her (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paula Lampley ‘92 (email@example.com).