The Career Services Office, in Room 3221 on the third floor of the Law School, is generally open from 8:30 to 5:00, Monday - Friday.
Main telephone number: (608) 262-7856
Fax number: (608) 265-6289
Our professional staff currently consists of three lawyers:
Trisha Fillbach, Interim Assistant Dean and Director of Career Services (262-6444; email firstname.lastname@example.org);
Nicole Denow, J.D. Advisor and Judicial Clerkship Advisor (265-6684; email email@example.com);
Sara Durston, J.D. Advisor (262-8554; email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The University of Wisconsin Law School recognizes the importance of
first year students concentrating on their classwork during the first
few months of law school. At the same time, students need to develop
proper skills to effectively conduct a job search. Therefore, the
Career Services Office will provide limited services to first year
students during the beginning of the Fall semester. Until November, these services will be limited to resume and cover letter reviews as well as guidance on resources for developing these essential writing skills. However, first year students are encouraged to attend any Career Services sponsored presentations and review the Office's resources, including the Career Services library.
Starting in October, the Career Services Office conducts mandatory orientation sessions for first year students on the Office’s operations and provides information and advice on when and how to begin a search for a summer job, as well as resume and cover letter writing and effective interviewing skills. Students will also receive information on how to access the law school’s job bank and will meet with the J.D. Advisors to discuss career goals.
According to guidelines established by the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), an organization whose members include law schools and certain legal employers (mostly large firms) throughout the country, first year law students should not initiate contact with NALP member firms until December 1st. This is the first date on which first year students hoping to be a summer clerk at sizeable law firms should mail their cover letters and resumes.
The Career Services Office maintains a password-protected, searchable Job Bank online through Symplicity. In that Job Bank are all current job openings that employers have submitted to the Law School Career Services Office. Employers call or fax us with job postings whenever they want to advertise available positions to our students or alums, and the CSO conducts outreach to gain new listings. Thus, the Job Bank contains listings of part time jobs, full time jobs, summer jobs, and, occasionally, volunteer opportunities.
Our students have access to the Job Bank by using a username and password that they receive by email. Frequently, we have additional information, application forms, etc., relating to some of the positions listed in the Job Bank. Students who would like to review or photocopy such additional information should simply drop by the Career Services Office and ask for the supporting documentation, by job number, or name of employer.
The professional staff of the Career Services Office are all attorneys with varying practice backgrounds. Each of them is available for scheduled appointments to help students with résumés, cover letters, interview skills, job search strategies, mock interviews, locating University of Wisconsin Law School alumni in the cities where students want to work, and a wide range of other services. Sample résumés and cover letters are available for students to refer to when drafting their own résumés and cover letters, and can be viewed on our website at http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/draft/sampledocuments.html. Contact the professional staff members directly, by phone or at their email addresses, to schedule an appointment.
Lawyers in the Career Services Office are happy to discuss with
students the law school courses that are most important or appropriate
to take, given a student’s individual career objectives. The
Curriculum Guides on the Law School’s website at http://law.wisc.edu/current/selectingcourses.html are
also very helpful for students who have an interest in a particular
area of practice and are looking for additional guidance in developing
an academic program that gives them a concentration in that practice
area. For students who don’t have a particular interest area or know
what kind of work they want to do after graduation, the Law School has
developed a “Basic Curriculum,” which can be found at http://law.wisc.edu/academics/curriculum-guides/basic.html, which can be used as a general guide.
In the Career Services Office, we maintain a lending library of
excellent books and other publications about the many career options
and practice settings that students need to know about. Resources
found in the office cover tips on writing résumés; the variety of
practice areas available to lawyers; alternative career paths;
interviewing techniques; and many other subjects. The office also has
a number of directories, including the NALP Directory, listing
attorneys, firms, corporate counsel and similar information. (Of
course, much of this information is also available online). Lastly, students should review the many resources highlighted on the Career Services Office website at http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/. For example, students can view calendars to find out what to plan for during their three years in law school under the "Calendars & Handbooks" link and an extensive list of law-related organizations under the "Other Helpful Resources" link.
The Career Services Office permits students to use its fax machine and photocopier in connection with their job searches, subject to availability, free of charge. A telephone for limited free local and long-distance outgoing calls also is available for students to use for phone calls that are directly related to the job search process. We ask that students not use the fax for transmitting documents that are more than 10 pages long, because lengthy faxes tie up our fax capability for too long.
To assist and encourage students in their applications for
post-graduate judicial clerkships, the Career Services Office has
posted extensive information about the clerkship application process on
its website at: www.law.wisc.edu/career/JudicialClerkships.html.
This section of our website explains why judicial clerkships are
universally thought to be great experiences for young lawyers, and how
and when students should apply for clerkships.
Students interested in clerkships are encouraged to meet with Nicole Denow, the Career Services lawyer who is primarily responsible
for clerkship advising, and to visit the “Judicial Clerkships” part of
the Career Services website. Nicole maintains a listserv for
students interested in receiving information about the clerkship
application process. To join the listserv, email Nicole at email@example.com. See also the Federal Law Clerk Information System website at http://www.uscourts.gov/careers/ for information about available clerkships with federal judges.
The Law School participates in a number of off-campus interview
programs and job fairs each year, including the Cook County Minority
Student Job Fair, held in August in Chicago; the Loyola Patent Law
Interview Program, sponsored by Loyola Law School in Chicago in late July or very early
in August; the New York Off-Campus Recruitment Program; the Washington,
D.C. Off-Campus Recruitment Program; the West Coast Off-Campus
Recruitment Program; the Minnesota Minority Job Fair; the Equal Justice
Works Public Interest Law Career Fair; the Midwest Public Interest
Career Fair; and several others. Information on these jobs fairs, and
the deadlines for registering for them, is contained on the Career
Services part of the Law School’s Web site under the heading
“Off-Campus Jobs Fairs” http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/jobfairs.html.
We notify students about job fairs and off-campus interview programs
through announcements in the Career Services Electronic Newsletter, via the job bank,
and via email. Be sure to pay attention to these announcements,
because the registration deadlines for these events often occur many
months before the event itself, and are very strictly enforced. Students can find a list of upcoming Career Services related deadlines at http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/cal.html and http://law.wisc.edu/career/events.html.
New York/Northeast, Washington, D.C., and West Coast Off-Campus
Recruitment Programs: Students generally must register by June 15 and
must upload résumés and bid for interviews by early to mid-July. The
Recruitment Programs are usually scheduled in mid-August.
- The Cook County Bar Assn. Minority Student Job Fair: Deadline for student registration is usually in late April or early May, and the Job Fair itself generally occurs in early to mid-August.
- The Bay Area Diversity Career Fair: Registration occurs by early June and the job fair is around late July.
- The Boston Lawyers Group Job Fair: Held in Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Registration occurs by early July and the job fair is around mid-August.
- The DuPont Primary Law Firm Minority Job Fairs: The student registration deadline occurs in early to mid-April each year, and is completed electronically. The Job Fairs themselves are held in Houston, Texas; Wilmington, Delaware; and Los Angeles, California, in early August.
- Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair: Held in Kansas City, MO. Registration occurs by mid-June and the job fair is in early August.
- The Indianapolis Bar Association Diversity Job Fair: Registration is by mid-July and the job fair is around mid-August.
- The Minnesota Minority Recruitment Conference: Student registration forms must be turned in by mid- to late June, and the conference itself usually occurs in mid-September in the Twin Cities.
- The Rocky Mountain Diversity Legal Career Fair: The job fair is around mid-September.
- The St. Louis Diversity Job Fair: Registration occurs by mid-May and the job fair is in mid-August.
- Loyola Patent Law Interview Program: The student registration deadline typically occurs in late February, and the interview program itself is usually scheduled for the first weekend of August, in Chicago.
- The Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair
- The IMPACT Career Fair for Law Students and Lawyers with Disabilities: Registration is by early July and the job fair is in Arlington, VA in mid-August.
- Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference: Student registration materials are due in mid-January; the Conference itself typically occurs in mid-February.
- Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference: Students must register and submit résumés to participating employers by mid-September; the Conference itself is always scheduled for the D.C. area in late October.
Each fall, in August and September, a number of employers send interviewers to the Law School to conduct screening interviews of our students. Most of these employers are medium-sized or large law firms from large cities. However, a number of government agencies, corporate legal departments, and small law firms also participate in fall on-campus interviewing each year. Many employers come here to interview only second-year students, for summer internships. Other employers interview only third-year students, for permanent jobs.
In the spring semester prior to OCI, the Career Services Office conducts
mandatory orientation sessions for first and second year law students to explain
how the fall on-campus interview program works, and to help students
determine whether they should participate in fall OCI. Detailed
information about participating employers is on the Career Services
part of the Law School’s Web site under the heading “List of Employers
Participating in Fall 2011 On-Campus Interviewing Program” (http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/oci_firms.html), and additional information for students can be found under the heading “On-Campus Interviewing (OCI)” (http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/introductiontofalloci.html).
We utilize an online program called Symplicity (https://law-wisc-csm.symplicity.com/students/) to conduct the fall on-campus interviewing program. Students receive a member ID and password from Symplicity, via email, sometime in their first semester of law school, and that member ID and password remain in effect for all three years of law school. Students use that member ID and password for fall on-campus interviewing and to obtain access to any other services offered by Symplicity that the student may be interested in.
Some of the Off-Campus Recruitment Programs also utilize Symplicity to handle the process of students bidding for interviews with participating employers and signing up for interviews. If you participate in any Off-Campus Recruitment Programs that use the Symplicity system, you will receive a separate web address, member ID and password to use for purposes of those Off-Campus Programs.
From time to time, students are asked by potential employers to participate in an interview by teleconference. Students can participate in telephone interviews by reserving room 3221B at the Career Services Office front desk. Students may also want to interview via video teleconference in place of a telephone interview or traveling for an initial interview. There are several options to help students participate via video teleconference. The Law School has recently purchased video conferencing equipment which is available for students to use in interviewing or other programs as needed. This equipment can be reserved for use in Room 3261 through the Law School’s Technology Service Department. In addition, for a modest fee, video conferencing is available through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Pyle Center located at 702 Langdon Street. If you need to set up a video conference, contact Joanna Binsfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org) in our office to discuss the best option.
Each spring, the Law School hosts a Public Interest Job Fair for Wisconsin public interest employers that are hiring for summer internships and permanent positions. Some organizations that have participated in the past are: the ACLU Foundation of Wisconsin, the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Centro Legal Por Derechos Humanos, the Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, and Community Justice, Inc. In addition, a number of our students participate in the Equal Justice Works Career Fair that is held in the D.C. area every fall, and in the Midwest Public Interest Job Fair held in Chicago each February.
In past years, the Law School has offered Summer Public Service
Fellowships (SPSF) to students doing public interest legal work during
the summer. SPSFs are typically in the amount of $2,500. Students identify the organization that
they wish to work for, and if the organization offers them a position,
apply directly to the Law School for funding. Information
about the Summer Public Service Fellowship application process is
always announced in the Law School Newsletter in February, and
applications are available for students to pick up in the Career
Services Office early in the spring semester. SPSF awards are dependent upon funding each year. The student-run Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) also awards two fellowships. They require a separate application.
Students with a particular interest in public interest law should familiarize themselves with a number of extremely useful web sites, particularly PSLawNet (www.pslawnet.org) and Equal Justice Works (www.equaljusticeworks.org).
Throughout the school year, the Career Services Office sponsors a
number of seminars and workshops directed specifically at students
interested in public interest law. These include tips on interviewing
for public interest law positions, writing résumés and cover letters,
and how and when to apply for post-graduate fellowships.
The Career Services Office maintains information about fellowships that are available each year, such as the Skadden Fellowships, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Georgetown’s public interest fellowships, and many others. Application deadlines for the most sought-after post-graduate fellowships typically occur in the early fall, so a student should begin the application process (finding a sponsoring organization, creating a project proposal, etc.) no later than the summer before the student’s third year of law school.
The Law School sponsors Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) grants to help students who take qualifying jobs with public interest organizations or government agencies after graduation. In the past, the LRAP has covered anywhere from two to four months of loan payments for eligible graduates. Applications for the LRAP are available in the Career Services Office in the spring of students’ 3L year.
“When you have nothing to say, say nothing.“ Charles Caleb Colton