Many forces have undoubtedly shaped your vision of the legal profession and your decision to pursue a J.D. degree—family, friends, college professors, employers—maybe even the portrayals of lawyers you see on television, in print and at the movies. Throughout law school, the volume increases as faculty members, administrators, legal employers, and other students share their impressions and opinions about the legal profession and your future in it.
Our mission in the Office of Career Services is to empower you with the information, ideas, and practical skills necessary to gain a clear and accurate vision of your career opportunities and then to begin to build an effective and meaningful life plan. We hope to enable you to hear your own voice clearly above the din of other people's impressions and opinions, so that you can discover and follow your own road to career satisfaction and success.
This process is an active and engaged one, and it requires thought, effort and energy on your part. When we reflect upon those students who are particularly successful in identifying and achieving their career goals, the common thread is not necessarily extensive prior business or law-related employment. This type of professional experience can be invaluable in discovering potential areas of interest and eliminating others, as well as gaining critical skills in effectively negotiating the world of work.
More important, though, are the "life lessons" that meaningful employment engenders—getting along well with colleagues, support staff and bosses, developing sound judgment in managing your time and resources, solving problems, and learning to inspire confidence and trust in others-learning that ethics, manners, and professionalism matter. These skills will prepare any future lawyer for our competitive and service-oriented profession, and for life.
A law student who attends NYU School of Law directly upon graduation from college can be every bit as happy and successful as someone with years of business experience—if that student has developed strong work and life skills through summer jobs, internships, and extracurricular activities, and if s/he approaches law school and the career development process with energy, purpose, and determination. You need not have a definite goal in mind right now, but you must be actively committed to exploring your options and developing the career research and job-search skills necessary to pursue your goals.
Similarly, prior work experience—even great achievement in another career—is not a guaranteed passport to career success after law school. You must be able to convincingly present your plan for career transition in a positive way and demonstrate that your past employment experience has provided you with relevant skills and know-how transferable to the legal profession. In short, whether you're twenty-one or fifty-one, law school makes sense when it's a reasoned decision, not a default option.
The pursuit of a law degree, and the substantial "opportunity cost" and significant debt load that goes along with it, is an awesome undertaking, a choice which deserves 100% of your conviction and dedication.
Effective career development, from our perspective, is so much more than ensuring that each one of our graduates leaves NYU School of Law with a top-choice job. Our mission, our challenge to you, is to graduate from law school with a diploma in one hand and your own "five-year plan" for career development in the other, well-equipped with the tools to manage your career and conduct effective job searches for years to come.
If current statistics are any guide, you will probably change jobs six to eight times or more over a career spanning decades. In the information-driven, project-oriented economy of the 21st century, it is essential above all to know your strengths and to possess the skills to market, network, and interview your way to new and greater opportunities.
Our Career Development Curriculum is ground-breaking and ambitious, and we seek to weave it into your three-year stay at NYU School of Law without interfering with your charge to study with great legal scholars and mix with highly talented law students the world over. We seek to provide you with preparation in 3 key areas: Job Search Skills Training, Career Education and Exploration, and Recruiting and Networking Opportunities.