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Alumni and Faculty Share Career Expertise with Students at Inaugural January Jumpstart Program

01/21/2021

More than 200 students and alumni convened online Jan. 13–15 for the inaugural January Jumpstart career development program. The program featured a full slate of engaging conversations with alumni leaders in their fields and faculty on breaking into the legal job market and how they seized opportunities to advance in their careers. The program’s sessions explored an array of topics, including careers in intellectual property law, health law, criminal law, entertainment, and finance, as well as panels on clerkships, entrepreneurship, and attorney well-being. Breakout groups gave students and alumni an additional opportunity to obtain career mentoring.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace was front and center of many discussions. In the panel on “Professionalism in a Virtual World,” members of the Alumni Association Board’s Professional Development Committee discussed how recent graduates could further their professional development during a period of dynamic changes in the workplace.

“There is a real opportunity for recent graduates and young associates right now,” said Colleen Caden ’99, partner and chair of the immigration group at Pryor Cashman. “If you're successfully navigating all of the new challenges in the workplace, you show that you are a superstar.”

The three-day program culminated with the panel “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession,” led by Dean Michael T. Cahill and featuring David Djaha ’88, managing partner at Ropes & Gray; Gloria Greco ’98, global wealth & investment management compliance and operational risk executive at Bank of America; and Alphonzo Grant ’98, managing director of the legal and compliance division in the global litigation group at Morgan Stanley. Cahill described the efforts to reshape the legal profession as “an ongoing and important discussion for all of us,” and identified legal education’s unique responsibility to make the legal community more diverse and inclusive.

“Concrete quantitative goals are an important part of any diversity and inclusion initiative,” said Grant. “On Wall Street, you learn that the numbers are the fundamental essence of how you track success. You need to, as a team, set a target, and then have a conversation on how you are going to reach those goals.”

Concurrently with the panels, the Career Development Center ran a mock interview program, giving students experience speaking to alumni employers, who offered advice for navigating a virtual interview.

See list of participating alumni

Watch the sessions