Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off to Work We Go

February 1, 2011 - 12 AM

H. J. X., 3L

In late August a week or so before classes begin, a group of 2Ls dressed in suits pace the halls of the Omni Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut. Your classmates politely knock on the interview room doors and patiently wait their turn until a friendly handshake beckons entry. It’s the time of year again for the annual Fall Interview Program (FIP). For one entire week, hundreds of law firms from around the country come to campus to interview rising 2Ls who are seeking a summer associate position at a firm that will hopefully offer permanent employment. But you are not too nervous because you look sharp, you are prepared, and you know the Career Development Office has got your back.

The Career Development Office (CDO) is Yale Law School’s resource for everything employment. During FIP, the CDO is busier than ever, with counselors on-site offering resources from advice to chocolate. I prepped for interviews utilizing the CDO’s brochure of most common interview questions, participated in a video conference call with two CDO counselors, submitted my resume for review during the summer, attended an information session on how to treat the callback interview, even utilized a link to a law firm name pronunciation guide.

During the school year, the CDO is also very active, with counselors available daily for office hours. Because of the diverse career interests of Yale Law students, the counselors have different specialties. One counselor focuses on judicial clerkships and post-J.D. fellowships, especially law teaching; one counselor focuses on advising alumni, LLM students, and students interested in business and alternative career paths; another focuses on domestic and international public interest opportunities and pro bono projects; yet another focuses on the private practice of law, including law firms, corporations, banks, and management consulting firms. Indeed, the Fall Interview Program draws not only law firms but also consulting firms, governmental entities (like the State Department), business corporations, and various public interest employers.

In addition to its counseling responsibilities, the CDO posts available jobs on the online Career Management System and sponsors numerous talks and informational sessions throughout the school year. The Office sends weekly emails with upcoming events at Yale Law School. A sampling of what’s happening next week: the Spring Interview Program for 1Ls seeking summer employment, a discussion by the public interest advisor about “Making the Most of the NYU Public Interest Job Fair,” and a panel of YLS alumni consisting of partners from Wachtell, Debevoise, and Fried Frank discussing “What Do Transactional Lawyers Do?”

FIP can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting, especially walking in the New Haven summer heat wearing a suit. But with all the employment resources available to you and the number of offers pouring in, you realize that being a Yale Law student is pretty cool.