The Office of Career and Professional Development

The Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) is located in Room 3221. Our hours are Mon. through Fri., 9:00 to 5:30 p.m. To reach us, please call 608-262-7856, fax 608-265-6289, or email one of our staff.

The OCPD provides counseling, materials, resources and programs to help students and alumni in their searches for employment during the summer, school year and after graduation. Three lawyers constitute our staff.

We encourage you to make an appointment for individual career counseling or to review your resumes and cover letters -- or just stop by to talk.

Here's an overview of some of the services we offer:

First-Year Students

Law school is a unique experience, and first-year students are encouraged to focus initially on understanding the educational process, developing good study habits and keeping up with their class work. In recognition of the importance of getting off to a good start, the National Association for Law Placement, an organization comprised of law schools and many legal employers, has adopted a rule prohibiting schools from providing specific career advice to first-year law students prior to November 1. As a result, first-year students will not hear much from us until after November 1.

During the first two weeks of November, however, we will meet with the entire first-year class, to introduce ourselves and the office, discuss the services we provide and give information on the job search process generally. Later in the year, we will offer general workshops on resume and cover letter writing, interviewing techniques and a number of other topics geared specifically toward first-year students. In addition, throughout the spring semester, we will offer speakers on a variety of career topics.

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Counseling and Job Search Strategies

Each student brings very different skills and interests to law school and to the job search process, making employment decisions and job search questions a very personal matter. Students need to explore and focus their interests and learn how to market themselves to potential employers. We are available for scheduled appointments to help with resumes, cover letters, interview skills, job search strategies, and other career services. 

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Workshops and Programs

The OCPD sponsors several panel discussions and workshops throughout the year. Selected topics include networking skills and strategies, effective interviewing, the value of judicial clerkships and how to apply, and resumes and cover letter preparation. In addition, we invite a variety of practitioners and types of employers to participate in panel discussions and other activities at the Law School.

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Resource Materials

The OCPD makes available to students and alumni a wide variety of publications and resource materials on career issues. Resources found in the office cover tips on writing resumes and cover letters, alternative career paths, interviewing techniques and many other subjects. We also have a number of directories listing attorneys, firms, corporate counsel, public interest and governmental organizations and similar information. Of course, more and more of this information is becoming available on-line. We also have a number of videotapes on subjects ranging from practicing in a small town to working in a specific area of law. A list of available resources, as well as handouts and brochures on employment topics, can be found in our office or by clicking here.

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Clerical Support for Job Searches

Students conducting job searches often need the services and equipment generally available in a business office. To help meet their needs, the OCPD provides a fax machine and photocopier for student use -- subject to availability -- free of charge if directly related to the job search process. A telephone for limited free local and long-distance outgoing calls also is available for job search related activities.

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Position Listings

Each year the OCPD lists hundreds of openings for students and graduates, including positions which are part-time and full-time, summer and school-year, paid and volunteer, with all sizes of firms, corporations, public interest organizations and government agencies. While binders containing paper copies of these postings are available in our office, students and alumni are encouraged to view these postings via the University of Wisconsin Law School Job Bank.

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On-Campus Interviews (OCI)

Numerous employers participate in the on-campus interview (OCI) process during the fall semester. Some of these employers seek to hire second-year students to work for them the following summer, while others interview third-year students for permanent positions to commence after graduation. First-year students do not participate in the Fall OCI Program. Information for second- and third-year students on the OCI Program is available each spring.

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Off-Campus Recruiting Programs and Job Fairs

The OCPD also facilitates student participation in a number of off-campus recruiting programs and job fairs, including programs in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., and California, a patent law conference, job fairs aimed at minority candidates, and a national public interest conference and job fair.

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Rules and Guidelines

The Law School has a non-discrimination policy. in addition, as with any complex professional process, law student placement has its own set of rules and guidelines to ensure students equitable and open access to opportunities. Specific rules and guidelines relate to accuracy in resumes, the bidding procedure for on-campus interviews, penalties for failing to cancel interviews in compliance with OCPD rules, the acceptance or rejection of job offers, and reimbursement of employer-paid interview expenses. You can obtain more specific information on some of these rules through the course of OCPD workshops and programs, through handouts and brochures available in our office, and when and if you register for the on-campus interview program. For additional information, visit the National Association for Law Placement web site at www.nalp.org




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