The Career and Professional Development Office is dedicated to providing career-long support and guidance to our students and 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. Our attorney-counselors draw upon approximately 65 years of legal experience in a wide range of practice areas and settings to guide you in your search for the career path that best matches your values, interests, goals and skills.
Whether you are conducting your first summer job search, searching for a career position, or considering an alternative career, our goal is to assist you in maximizing your efforts and equipping you with skills, tools, and tips to ensure that you are as competitive as possible.
The Career & Professional Development Office (CPDO) offers a wide variety of services and popular programs designed to help you identify and achieve your career goals.
Individual Career Advising
Everyone has a unique situation. Individual meetings with Career Advisors are the quickest and best way to get the information you need about your particular areas of interests and to develop a job search strategy that is tailored for you. Our experienced attorney Career Advisors will help you identify your specific goals and the best path to achieve them. They will also help you learn how to market your specific attributes. We strongly recommend that you participate in individual advising sessions, which may be scheduled any day of the work week throughout the calendar year.
Job Search Strategy Seminars and Workshops
Throughout each trimester, we offer a wide variety of seminars and workshops to provide you with the “nuts and bolts” of marketing yourself to legal employers. These include, but are not limited to, programs on legal resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, career planning and networking. These seminars and workshops examine the tricks of the trade and are designed to help you achieve successful career advancement.
We present a series of attorney panel discussions each year. These discussions provide you with opportunities to investigate various areas of practice, while simultaneously learning the skill of conversing with lawyers. Panels will feature practitioners from many law firms and organizations, and provide a realistic overview of specific practice areas. You are certain to learn valuable information that will help you make decisions about your own future practice. Each panel discussion includes a question and answer session, as well as the opportunity to network with participating panelists.
Job Listings Posted on the CWSL Online Job Database, Symplicity
Our staff is active in the local, regional, and national legal communities, and well-equipped to learn of jobs as soon as they arise. Additionally, legal employers from San Diego and around the country frequently notify our office of current job openings for student law clerks, and entry-level and experienced attorneys. We immediately post that information on Symplicity, located at the “Job Opportunities” link on the CPDO section of California Western’s website. Furthermore, many other “job boards” and current listings from local legal newspapers and job posting publications are available online. Check the “Related Web Links” on our website for valuable sites.
Pro Bono and Public Service Programs
These programs provide you with an effective way to gain your first practical legal experience, while also contributing to the needs of the local community. We help connect you with a local public interest or service organization that relates to an area of practice in which you are interested, and you will be trained to serve as a law clerk. The work schedules tend to be flexible, and the experience valuable and rewarding. Almost every pro bono and public service legal organization in San Diego participates in this program, giving our students the opportunity to get their feet wet in the actual supervised representation of clients in many areas of need. Participation in the Pro Bono and Public Service Programs provides eligibility for induction into the Pro Bono Honors Society or the Public Service Honors Society, for an award from the State Bar of California, and for a special notation on your transcript about your successful completion of the Program. Speak with Pro Bono and Public Service Coordinator, Drew Lautemann, about how to participate.
Mock Legal Job Interviews
Interviewing for law clerk jobs is a skill. All skills improve with practice. In mock law job interviews, you practice your interviewing skills with a member of our staff or a practicing attorney and receive feedback and suggestions for improvement. This gives you great practice and will prepare you for your first law clerk interview.
Throughout the year, but primarily in the spring and fall, legal employers come to California Western to interview students on campus for student law clerk and entry-level positions. Many of these employers are from San Diego, but others from elsewhere in California and around the country also participate. A great variety of opportunities are available.
In conjunction with other A.B.A. accredited Southern California law schools, we sponsor and participate in several Career Fairs that offer detailed programs in particular areas of law. The Career Fairs provide opportunities to meet practicing attorneys in various fields and interview for available positions. Look for Career Days in Public Interest Law, Sports and Entertainment Law, and Solo and Small Firm Practice.
Alumni Career Advisors Network
Graduates of California Western from all areas of practice and from all around the country have volunteered to speak with you informally and individually about what they do and how they got there. We have information on each of these generous alumni, which enables you to learn about and connect with practitioners who have current insights in your areas of interest.
Alumni Mentor Program
In your second or third year, arrange with the CPDO to be matched with a California Western alumnus mentor. We endeavor to match you with an alumnus who shares interests in common with you. A mentor can serve as an important guide to the profession and can be a great resource in your career development.
Legal Practice Discussion Group Meetings
We present periodic law practice specialty group meetings with practitioners and small groups of students. The design is for students to practice informational interview techniques in a small group with a Career Advisor present. Students obtain a real life sense of what particular practice areas involve. You are certain to learn valuable information that will help you make decisions about your own future practice. These discussions provide you with opportunities to investigate various areas of practice, while simultaneously learning the skill of conversing with lawyers.
Always check the CPDO website and bulletin boards for notices and our calendar of events, including seminars, panels, career days, community events and other programming. The CPDO bulletin boards are located on the second floor of the 350 Building. Also on the website and bulletin boards are lists of Career Fairs and Local Events to enhance your career development.
BLOG, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Be sure to follow our blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts for notices of professional events including seminars, panels, career days, community events and other programming, as well as notices about deadlines and newsworthy items. Our blog address is http://blogs.cwsl.edu/blog/career/, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CWSL_Career and on Instagram @cwsl_career and find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cwslCareer.
Though much legal job and career development information is available online, there are many printed resources, directories, strategy books and periodicals that are crucial to your career development, but are not online. Talk with a Career Advisor to learn which printed job resources are available in our office and related to your distinct career interests.
Our Office is Your Office
Your career development and job search requires access to a quality printer, copier, scanner, fax machine and the Internet. You also need quality paper for correspondence. You are always welcome to use our equipment and supplies in our office for your career development work. You are welcome to use our office as your office. We sell quality resume paper and matching envelopes, and donate all proceeds to the CWSL Student Public Interest Law Foundation to fund summer clerkship grants. Also, if you just need a quiet place to relax or read, you are always welcome.