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A resource for students at The University of Texas School of Law regarding the on-campus and off-campus application and interview process, as well as news about upcoming career panels and professional development workshops.

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Becoming a Professional: Develop a Professional Attitude

Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com), who conducts our 1L Etiquette Dinners, recently posted this in her April 2015 enewsletter.

Becoming a Professional: Develop a Professional Attitude

Virtually every employer reports they have little difficulty finding smart, technically competent students for their summer intern and associate programs. However, many of those same businesses report that too many students lack so-called “professional” skills. To convey that you are a professional, focus on looking the part, sounding the part, and developing a professional attitude.

Develop a Professional Attitude

Attitude is everything. You can wear the wrong outfit to work once and still recover. You can even survive a meeting in which you seem less than confident about a particular assertion. But if you bring an unprofessional attitude to work, I can assure you that your summer work experience will not yield the job offer you want.

Following are five attitudes you need to demonstrate each and every day:

  • Be prepared – At a very minimum, once you enter an office, carry a pen and paper or an electronic tablet with you everywhere. This allows you to accurately record assignments and requests as they are delivered. Trust me on this: you never want to interrupt a senior partner to ask, “Do you have a pen so that I can write this down?” The only thing worse may be thinking that you can remember a very specific request . . . and then failing to do so.
  • Take initiative – Attend every event to which you are invited this summer. This includes every single meeting, training program, and business-social event. Employers schedule training events and meetings to increase your knowledge and skills. Show an eagerness to learn and grow. As to social events, these are scheduled so that an employer can start to know you as an individual. Demonstrate an interest in every single person you meet and the organization that has employed you.
  • Welcome feedback – It’s easy to receive positive feedback. Responding to constructive feedback can be more difficult. But here’s what’s important: if you’re told that you need to show some improvement, and then, if in fact, your performance improves, you will actually make a far more positive impression than the person who performed okay but never improved from their first day of work. With any feedback that’s less than positive, here’s your rule of thumb: own the problem and fix it!
  • Understand client service – In a knowledge economy, employers expect summer hires to bring to the workplace a certain threshold of “book smarts.” Possessing a client-service attitude will distinguish you as a professional. Focus on your internal and external clients’ short- and long-term goals. Demonstrate a desire and an ability to help them accomplish their goals.
  • Show some gratitude – A little bit of gratitude will take you a long way. It communicates that you understand your place in the world, which is not necessarily at the center of your employer’s universe. Gratitude can help you land a job, and showing a lack of gratitude can keep you from receiving an offer. Express your appreciation to everyone with whom you work, from hiring partners to office support staff.

Becoming a Professional: Sound the Part

Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com), who conducts our 1L Etiquette Dinners, recently posted this in her April 2015 enewsletter.

Becoming a Professional: Sound the Part

Virtually every employer reports they have little difficulty finding smart, technically competent students for their summer intern and associate programs. However, many of those same businesses report that too many students lack so-called “professional” skills. To convey that you are a professional, focus on looking the part, sounding the part, and developing a professional attitude.

Sound the Part

Just as it’s important for you to look the part, it’s equally important that you sound like a professional. This requires that you sound confident but not arrogant. Before you open your mouth (or draft an email for that matter), be certain of the message you want to communicate, choose your words carefully, and speak succinctly.

If necessary, address the following specific speech habits:

  • Use of space fillers – When they are uncertain about what to say next, many summer employees allow space fillers, words like “uhm,” “ah,” “like,” and “you know,” to pepper their language. Employers complain that these are distracting at best and make summer hires sound completely unprofessional at worst. If you are uncertain as to what you should say, simply pause. When you next speak, you’ll sound thoughtful and deliberative.
  • Inflecting up at the end of a sentence – This verbal tic communicates that you are uncertain about what you just said. When you ask a question, your voice should inflect up. When you make a definitive statement, your voice should end on a down note. (If you need an example of someone making a series of definitive statements that end in periods rather than question marks, listen to Jon Stewart or any “real” newsperson.)
  • Learn to respond to “thank you” – When you turn in an assignment this summer and a senior employee says “Thank you,” respond, “It was my pleasure,” or “I enjoyed the assignment. Is there anything else that I can help you with?” Please do not respond, “No problem,” which completely diminishes the work you just did.

Becoming a Professional: Look the Part

Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com), who conducts our 1L Etiquette Dinners, recently posted this in her April 2015 enewsletter.

Becoming a Professional: Look the Part

Virtually every employer reports they have little difficulty finding smart, technically competent students for their summer intern and associate programs. However, many of those same businesses report that too many students lack so-called “professional” skills. To convey that you are a professional, focus on looking the part, sounding the part, and developing a professional attitude.

Look the Part

This is one area in which earlier generations had an easier time of it. When previous generations entered the workforce, new professionals donned the “uniform,” which for both men and women consisted of structured suits, crisp shirts/blouses, and well-polished conservative shoes. Today’s rules regarding appropriate attire are less formal, making it easier for a new professional to make a serious mistake.

Before you head to work, if your employer has not specified appropriate attire, plan to dress as you would for an interview—not a bad idea given that a summer internship or associate program effectively is a multi-week interview. Then use your first week to observe key players in the workplace and take their lead. If junior professionals dress in suits, you should plan on doing the same. If instead “business casual” is the norm, you may forego a suit.

Here’s what’s absolutely critical: throughout the entirety of your summer employment, never confuse “business casual” attire with “casual” attire. If you’ve been told “business casual” is appropriate, khaki slacks or skirts and well-pressed cotton or linen shirts/blouses will almost always work. Store a “just in case” blazer or jacket in your office (“just in case” you’re unexpectedly invited out to a nice business meal or to an important client event.)

And please avoid these mistakes:

  • Ladies, sundresses with or without a sweater, are not appropriate in most business offices.
  • Gentlemen, if you don’t need to wear a tie, cover up your chest hair, which no one wants to see.
  • Torn jeans and shorts are never appropriate in an office setting.
  • Any footwear that draws attention is probably a bad idea. If you wear sandals during your commute, change into business shoes before you reach the office.

New Texas State Bar Rule Affecting Summer Employment

Students working in Texas this summer (or might be working here later) should be familiar that the State Bar’s ethics committee has enacted a new rule (State Bar of Texas Opinion No. 644). The rule makes it harder for employers to hire you if you’ve ever worked on the other side of a case that the employer is handling. The Deans of all ten Texas law schools are seeking reconsideration of the rule. In the meantime, though, here are two important recommendations for your summer experience:

  1. Keep a personal conflicts log. Excel example includes instructions.
  2. Be alert to this issue when given a new assignment. If the circumstances allow it, you might ask an employer not to assign you to a particular matter if there is a high risk that it might preclude future employment elsewhere. We do not foresee this happening often. But if (for example) you are clerking for Firm A in the first half of the summer and Firm B in the second half, you would not want to work on a problem at Firm A if Firm B is on the other side.

Southeastern Minority Job Fair (July 24-25, 2015) – Preregister by noon on Monday, April 20, 2015

Southeastern Minority Job Fair (SEMJF)
Friday-Saturday, July 24-25, 2015
Hyatt Regency Suites Atlanta Northwest in Marietta, GA

Texas Law students may now register for the Southeastern Minority Job Fair (SEMJF), which provides legal employers throughout the U.S. an opportunity to interview rising 2Ls and 3Ls (Class of 2016 and 2017) as well as recent graduates (Class of 2015), from 50+ ABA-approved law schools in 12 states.

If you are interested in participating in the fair, you must preregister before noon on Monday, April 20, 2015. To preregister, please send an email with the following information to Alisha Camacho, Job Fair Coordinator, at acamacho@law.utexas.edu with the following:

Email Subject Line – SEMJF Student Registration

1) Your first and last name
2) Your student email address (Please note: you MUST use your school email addresses)
3) Your year in school (i.e., 1L, 2L, etc.)
4) Your graduation date

If you do not preregister for SEMJF, you will not be able to register when bidding begins in May.

Corporate Summer 2015 Legal Internships (April 2, 2015)

Below are links to corporate summer 2015 clerkship opportunities that are not featured on the CSO Job Bank.

Additional job opportunities may also be found directly via employer websites and job aggregation sites, such as LawStudentJobs.netLinkedIn, and Indeed. Read individual job postings and websites carefully and only submit materials requested.

UT Nonprofit & Government Career Fair on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2015 Nonprofit & Government Career Fair
Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Texas Union Ballroom

The Nonprofit & Government Career Fair is a free event open to all students and alumni of The University of Texas at Austin, as well as all residents of Central Texas who are interested in a career with a nonprofit or public service organization.

Registration for Career Seekers is not required. Please check-in at the fair.

The Fair is presented by the University of Texas at Austin Coalition for Careers in Public Service (CCPS), which is a cooperative effort of the career services offices of The University of Texas at Austin. The Coalition’s mission is to develop meaningful opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to gain the knowledge and skills needed in the not-for-profit, philanthropic, and public sectors through the development and sponsorship of University-wide career fairs.

Strauss Center’s Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows – Applications due Friday, April 3, 2015

Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows
Applications Due Friday, April 3, 2015

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law is very pleased to announce the launch of the Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows Program, and the call for applications for the inaugural class of fellows. This is an exciting opportunity for graduate students campus-wide who share our interest in international affairs and who wish to participate more directly in the intellectual life of the Strauss Center. Texas Law 1Ls and 2Ls are encouraged to apply.

The mission of the Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows program is to provide a transformative experience for UT graduate students from an array of disciplines, accelerating their path towards career success with an emphasis on building professional and scholarly skills and networks. Selection is not merely honorific; students selected for the Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows program will participate in the life of the Strauss Center, and receive support, in several ways: research, writing, and professional mentorship; Graduate Fellows Colloquium; participation in other aspects of Strauss Center life; and a fellowship stipend in the amount of $2,500 for the 2015-16 academic year.

Please visit the Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows Program website for complete application instructions. Applications are due Friday, April 3, 2015.

Corporate Summer 2015 Legal Internships (March 26, 2015)

Below are links to corporate summer 2015 clerkship opportunities that are not featured on the CSO Job Bank.

Additional job opportunities may also be found directly via employer websites and job aggregation sites, such as LawStudentJobs.netLinkedIn, and Indeed. Read individual job postings and websites carefully and only submit materials requested.

How Innovation is Changing the Legal Landscape on March 31, 2015 – RSVP

How Innovation is Changing the Legal Landscape
Tuesday, March 31, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Google and Facebook did not exist 20 years ago and yet they have completely changed the way the world works. What role has their rapid growth had on the law? How have they operated in areas where there are no laws? What impact have they had on legislators and policy-enforcers?

Come and listen to a hand-picked selection of Austin’s brightest legal minds discuss how innovation is changing the legal landscape. A panel of four industry leaders will be together on stage for one night to discuss this topic in front of a selection of UT’s best law students. Panelists include:

Paul Tobias, ’91, Partner, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati
Majorie Mastin Winters, ’99, NEST Director and Counsel, DLA Piper
Brian Alford, Attorney, Miller, Egan, Molter & Nelson
Russel Denton, Associate, Andrews Kurth
Nick Spiller, CEO of Freshman Founders, Moderator

There will be plenty of great food and wine included. You don’t want to miss it!

RSVP online.

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