Taylor Kingston 2014-04-01 00:24:31
Early each year, employers seeking law student assistance gather at Arizona Summit Law School (AZ Summit Law) for the opportunity to select from the school’s top students for spring, summer and fall externships and clerkships at the annual Copper Square/Valley of the Sun On-Campus Interview Day, hosted by the school’s Center for Professional Development (CPD). This year, 60 employers conducted interviews for open positions. This was an increase of 50 percent over the number of employers participating in the 2013 program. Growth of the program is attributed to positive word-of-mouth from returning employers, and to the quality of work delivered by Summit Law students. “We are receiving a very positive response from employers who have come to know us for developing well-prepared law students, who contribute immediate value to firms and legal departments,” said Joe Perez, assistant dean of professional development at AZ Summit Law. “We strive to make the process convenient and efficient for both employers and students by bringing everyone together for a day of interviews. We even work in advance to match students with potential positions that offer a good fit.” “The process is so smooth. AZ Summit Law staff handles the administration, we schedule one day to come in and conduct the interviews, and then we’re set for the year,” said Vanessa Smith from the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender. AZ Summit Law’s externship program is designed to provide students with professional legal experience and networking opportunities, while earning academic credit. Employers are also able to hire for the Valley of the Sun Law Clerk Program, where AZ Summit Law matches the wage paid by the firm to provide the student with an attractive compensation base while they provide legal services, and receive experience. On average, 200 AZ Summit Law students have summer externships and 100-150 participate in spring and fall programs. “CPD reviews our resumes and helps us target particular firms, not out of bias, but to match our interests with a firm’s practice area,” said Glennetta Haymon, J.D. candidate. Haymon spent the day interviewing for family and criminal law externships and clerkships while acting as a volunteer. “CPD has been extremely helpful to me, providing support and guidance on how to network and look for a job in the legal field. I’ve had an internship, a clerkship and an externship through AZ Summit Law.” Providing students with experience is why Susan Laurence, recruiting manager with the Arizona Department of Administration, attends the on-campus interview day. She places interns in the department’s Interns-In-Action program, which serves all state agencies. “AZ Summit Law students have experience in community service, externships and internships with other law offices, and fit very well with the public sector,” said Laurence. “State government agencies can equate with any interest a law student might have, from environmental to tax law. We want what is best for the students and advancing their careers. We are interviewing 13 students and hoping to find spots for each of them.” Preparing students beyond lessons in legal theory, and ensuring they receive practical legal educational experience is a differentiating factor for AZ Summit Law. Additionally, the school’s diverse and non-traditional student base offers employers potential employees who are ready to make an immediate impact. “When ASLS students start, they aren’t starting from zero, they are starting at five,” said Smith. “If they’ve interned with a judge, they understand the process. They have life experiences to choose what they would like to try and already know this is their path. Having that base is huge.” “We believe employer demand for our students will continue at a strong pace, as they hear about the benefits of working with our students and the convenience of working with our CPD team,” commented Perez. “Throughout the year, our team will be seeking out, and welcoming new employers to our programs.”
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