The Career Center at Brooklyn Law School is home to a team of seasoned experts who educate current students and alumni about the skills they will need to succeed as lawyers, open their eyes to opportunities that exist at BLS and elsewhere, and facilitate relationships among employers, mentors, students, and alumni. Recently, two Career Center staff members – Jill Backer and Tamara Stephen, both experienced lawyers in their own right – published career advice articles for lawyers.
Jill Backer, Associate Director for Employer Relations at the Brooklyn Law School Career Center, recently had the chance to share her expertise with a wider audience when her article, “Amplify Your Networking” appeared in the Associates Career Development supplement of the June 7, 2010 issue of the New York Law Journal.
Backer, whose career has involved such diverse roles as criminal defense litigation and sales, used the expertise she built working in different sectors to provide invaluable networking tips to associate-level lawyers.
“There’s no question that many lawyers change jobs as they follow career paths,” she explained, yet “the current job-seeking climate is dramatically more competitive than in previous years at every level.”
“If and when you find yourself searching for a new job, networking is more critical than ever,” she noted. Backer went on to offer ten tips for better networking, including seeking continuing legal education, keeping bar and other professional organization memberships current and relevant, making the most of social networking, and seeking the advice of career counselors.
Staying informed, seeking the advice of mentors, and being proactive are also part of the winning formula: “Job hunting is not work for the meek or apathetic,” concluded Backer. “You need a sense of tenacity, energy, and a dose of courage.”
Backer joined the Career Center in July, 2002, after five years spent in legal sales and marketing. She holds a J.D. from Quinnipiac University and practiced criminal defense law in Chicago prior to entering the world of sales. Her work at the Law School involves identifying new markets and opportunities and meeting with employers.
Tamara Stephen, Associate Director of Career Services, co-wrote an article featured in the NALP Bulletin, the newsletter of the National Association for Law Placement. “Best Practices for Improving Diversity through Affiliate Organizations” advocates employers’ partnering with nonprofits and bar associations that have existing diversity programming.
The article, which was written in collaboration with Paula T. Edgar, Executive Director of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc. (PALS), recommends several methods for increasing partnerships among career centers, diversity organizations, and employers.
“Diversity efforts can still go forward in an economic downturn without losing momentum,” noted the authors. “The key is to streamline efforts.”
Career centers can maximize their positive impact by partnering with specialty bar associations. Likewise, employers can support diversity by encouraging their diverse lawyers to become involved in specialty bar associations, serve on panels and committees, act as mentors, and write newsletter articles, and by hosting diversity-related associations for events and meetings.
“Pairing up with diversity-focused organizations is a great way to support diverse law students and lawyers, recruit diverse lawyers, and foster general efforts to increase diversity within the legal profession,” noted the authors.
Stephen joined the Career Center in September 2008 after more than five years with the Office of Career Services at Hofstra University School of Law. She holds a J.D. from Hofstra and has spent time as a litigation associate at Kaye Scholer LLP, where she served on the diversity and legal personnel committees. She is past chair of the Law Student Perspectives Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Read Jill Backer’s article.
Read Tamara Stephen's article.