UHLC’s Career Development Office: Setting 1Ls Up for Success

Student author McKenna Andrepont is a 1L at the University of Houston Law Center.  

It’s the question prospective law students face even before the first day of their legal education: how will I find my place in the legal market? (Alternatively: how will I get a job?) Determining your legal career options and how to secure them is the ultimate end game of your three years of law school. Lucky for University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) students, our Career Development Office (CDO) is a phenomenal resource for achieving this goal. All of our career counselors have JDs and past practical legal experience and offer a wide range of resources and services to students. One such service is a series designed for 1L students entitled “The Passport to Success.” In the first session of this series on September 10, the CDO partnered with Andrews Kurth and industry professionals to discuss legal career destinations, maintaining a professional presence, and networking. The event concluded with a practice networking session with over two dozen attorneys.

“The Map to Career Success: Exactly Where Are YOU Headed?” was another event filled with local legal professionals sharing their advice on how to determine where you want to go and how to get there. Reece Rondon, who is a UHLC alumnus, former judge, and a current member of Hall Maines Lugrin, PC, began the first workshop with an overview of legal practice and its various branches. Natalie Weakly of Signature Style followed with a workshop detailing how to present oneself in a professional manner in both interviewing and networking environments. She included advice on suit styling and power posing. Amy Hancock of Andrews Kurth, LLP, presented the last workshop; she advised students on strategies of effective networking as a key to lawyer development.

As other posts on this blog have noted, networking is a huge part of integrating oneself in the legal community. After the workshop sessions ended, the CDO finished its first The Passport to Success event with an incredibly helpful session (and my personal favorite): “Networking in Practice.”  For one hour, 1Ls were encouraged to mingle with over twenty-four local legal professionals who in turn provided real-time feedback on their networking techniques. Several of my classmates left with the email addresses of attorneys who specialized in areas they were interested in; one spoke with an attorney specializing in family law, while another connected with an attorney who practiced in the town where they ultimately wish to practice.

Overall, the first session of the CDO’s Professional Development Series was a great help and hugely successful in communicating the importance of building networking skills in the legal community. I’m very thankful to UHLC and the CDO for pouring so much time and effort into building my skills as a growing legal professional and am looking forward to their next event!

Information regarding the UHLC’s Career Development Office can be found at https://www.law.uh.edu/career/.

Houston, sports destination de jour!

With apologies to our neighbors to the north, Houston is fast becoming the prime destination for the sports enthusiast.  Lacking only professional hockey, Houston’s offerings range in scope from the wide range of “amateur,” aka college sports, offered in the city limits (including but not limited to the 2015 Peach Bowl Champions, the University of Houston Cougars) to each of the major professional sports.

The weekend of April 1st is a prime example of the prevalence of sports and the options a sports fan has in Houston, Texas. Not only has the University of Houston Law Center hosted the fascinating debate between NYT columnist Joe Nocera and ESPN/CBS analyst Len Elmore asking “Is College Sports Broken?”, but the city of Houston plays host to the 2016 NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament, as well as the fantastic Shell Houston Open.

Needless to say it’s an exciting time to be in Houston.  With strong economic outcomes, exciting social opportunities (2017 Super Bowl anyone?), and great communities to build a life within, Houston provides significant options for the discerning student looking to establish their professional life with a mixture of sporting and social activities!

A visit from a Star

On Tuesday, March 31st the University of Houston Law Center was privileged to welcome home one of its own. Star Jones, University of Houston Law Center class of 1986, was presented with the prestigious Dean’s Award recognizing her significant accomplishments as a proud UHLC graduate. In addition to her being honored at the award reception, UHLC students had the opportunity to learn from the New York licensed attorney as she shared her perspective in a first year criminal law class. Her open, earnest and engaging interaction with the Law Center community benefited students, faculty and staff.

Ms. Jones’ presence was a unique opportunity to see the success of the UHLC education in action! Later, Ms. Jones said that, “[i]t is clear that my legal education has been the key to my success.”

The Law Center could not be more proud of the success she has accomplished, post-graduation!

SJUHLC

Upperclass Mentor Program

On September 29, 2014 the Career Development Office (CDO) held it’s annual Upper Class Student Mentoring reception to launch that program for the academic year. The initiative, which is a joint effort between the CDO, the associate dean’s office, and the alumni relations staff, pairs upper-division students with practicing attorneys based on the student’s preferred area of interest. The alumni participation level has been strong, and this year ALL 3L and 4L students who requested a mentor have been matched.
Mentors are a valuable resource to UHLC students, providing advice and insight to assist law students in making the transition from law school to practice, and these relationships help students to expand their professional networks. For law students, this is likely the first professional mentoring relationship they have had so to help facilitate those relationships, the CDO provides suggestions to the mentor pairs for how to work together effectively. Mentors offer advice on courses, conduct mock interviews, introduce mentees to colleagues in the field, and allow students to accompany them to court. The CDO also sends participants a list of networking and professional events such as bar association meetings, happy hours, and volunteer events that mentors can attend with their mentees.
The upper class mentorship program is in it’s second year and compliments our 1L mentorship program, which pairs first-year students with upper-class students and faculty. Working in tandem, these programs support students as they navigate law school and begin their careers, helping to ensure their success.
To learn more about the Law Center’s Career Development programs, please visit law.uh.edu/career/students.asp.

Orientation – Class of 2017

August 15th was the first day of orientation for the University of Houston Law Center’s Class of 2017.  The 1L’s were welcomed by Dean Leonard Baynes and received advice from faculty and current students on how to succeed during the first year of law school.  They also toured the facilities, met with library staff, had lunch with mentors and attended a student organization fair.

The second day of orientation was our inaugural “Community Service Day” project.  More than 180 first-year students volunteered at the Houston Food Bank or an immigration clinic. For those that participated in the immigration clinic, the students and faculty helped undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children apply for special legal status under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  About 30 UHLC students helped immigrants fill out forms with about 40 applying for DACA renewals and 20 filing initial applications.

The Houston Food Bank volunteers packaged 11,860 meals containing 14,232 pounds of food.   DSC0113

Congratulations to everyone for their hard work and dedication to service!