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Career and Professional Development Office is About Succeeding in Legal Profession

Matthew Lab at Bar Association Presentation for 1Ls

As a first-year law student, you learn on day one that your legal career begins the moment you set foot on campus.

And one of the most important things you can do as a 1L is to get acquainted with California Western’s Career and Professional Development Office (CPDO) offering more resources to students and graduates than ever before.

At a recent lunchtime presentation, CPDO Assistant Director Matthew A. Lab shared the skills, strategies, and secrets for a successful job interview with a large group of first-year students.

Lab’s entertaining and interactive class covers everything from using a firm handshake to how to dress, make eye contact, and most importantly, how to prepare for an interview.

“Practice makes perfect,” Lab says, urging everyone to take advantage of the mock interviews the law school offers.

A few days later, Lab and his team talk with to another group of 1Ls about getting acquainted with the San Diego County Bar Association—an invaluable resource for them because of the many services, seminars, and networking opportunities the bar association offers.

All of CPDO’s services are designed to help students hit the ground running when they graduate.

“We train our students to be practice and profession-ready at the end of law school,” Lab says.

From the beginning, CPDO gives them the resources they need to be successful.

“Career Development Bible”
“They get everything they need to jump-start their careers in the new ‘career development bible’ CPDO has developed for 1Ls,” Lab says of the Career Development Guide for First Year Students. “It’s a good road map for each year of law school.”

The “1L bible” has networking, cover letter, and interviewing tips. It offers pro bono and public service law opportunities, where to find job listings and important steps toward becoming a legal professional.

Among the other services offered by CPDO are individual career advising, job-search strategy seminars, job listings, on-campus interviews, career fairs, alumni career counselors, mentors, and much more.

But the most important resource CPDO has is its people.

“Our counselors and staff are dedicated partners in your career and professional development as you prepare for, enter, and travel through your legal career,” Lab says. “We regularly work weekends and evenings to accommodate your schedules and to ensure that we are out in the legal community promoting our students and alumni.” 

The partnership between CPDO and students that begins on day one becomes a career-long support system for California Western alumni. 

“We begin our work early with students to facilitate their transition from law student to legal professional and then continue to guide them as alumni throughout their careers,” says Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development Courtney R. Miklusak ‘98. “Our attorney-counselors draw upon more than 65 years of legal experience in a wide range of practice areas and work closely with our students and graduates to help them find the best match for their values, interests, goals, and skills.”

To see the full array of services offered by the Career and Professional Development Office, visit their website.