Office Description

The Office of Professional Development blog is your resource for up to the minute news, advice, and information relating to your career and professional development.

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Things Summer Hires Must Know

The following ten tips are from career expert, Mary Crane, who firmly believes that "while an individual’s IQ and GPA helps open doors, critically important people skills ultimately land the job, close the deal and help build teams that transform organizations." These ten things are sure to make you a success.

Thanks for sharing with us, Mary!

The most successful summer associates and interns enter the workforce prepared to succeed. Whether you are a career services professional or a recruiting and training professional, make sure every summer hire knows the following 10 things before he or she starts work:

1. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Targeted) goals for the summer.
Know the types of assignments you want to tackle and the people you wish to meet. Ask for assignments. Your request may or may not be granted, but you’re more likely to achieve your goals when others at work know of them and when you actively pursue them. Make notes about the work you complete, highlighting lessons learned. Eventually, these notes will help you expand your résumé. Keep a record of the people with whom you work. Consciously add them to the professional network that you should begin building this summer.

2. Do a Day One “test run.”
Summer hires have one opportunity to make a Day One first impression, and the impression you create must be a positive one. No one should arrive late on Day One. A day or two before you start work, travel to the worksite in normal commute traffic and determine the expected length of your commute. Add 15 minutes more for possible delays in traffic and at office security.

3. Understand appropriate attire.
Where an employer has specified “business conservative,” summer hires should wear suits. Where an employer has specified “business casual,” employees are still expected to dress for an office setting. Generally this means well-pressed and tailored slacks or skirts and conservative tops. It’s always better to be known as the summer hire who dresses exceedingly well than as the summer slob. And please remember, in most offices, the following are never appropriate: torn jeans and t-shirts, low-cut tops, sundresses, and flip-flops. 

4. Know how to introduce yourself and others.
Be prepared to introduce yourself to everyone you meet. State your name clearly and provide a descriptor. (“Hi, I’m Manuel Ortiz. I’m a summer associate currently working with Anita Morgan in Mergers & Acquisitions.”) Extend your right hand for a firm handshake. Make eye contact and smile.

If you have an unusual name, provide others with a clue that will aid their pronunciation. For example, Serena Vaux might say, “Hello, I’m Serena Vaux. It’s pronounced vaux just like faux in faux leather.”

When you introduce others, state the most important person’s name first. So, if you’re speaking to the CEO of the firm, and you wish to introduce the CEO to a fellow summer intern, say, “Ms. Zoff. I’d like you to meet one of my fellow summer finance interns. Aliyah, this is Ms. Zoff, the company CEO.” (Note the use of the social title “Ms.” Plan to use social titles when speaking to someone who is much older, occupies a leadership position within the organization or is from another country.) 

5. Create a professional persona.
As soon as you enter the workplace, stay completely focused on work. Remove your ear buds and stash away your personal smart phone. Greet others in the elevator and as you walk down the hallway. Always carry a pad of paper and a pen, allowing you to record assignments as they are given. Start each day by checking in with your supervisor to confirm whether overnight emergencies require you to reprioritize your work. Before you leave at night, confirm with your supervisor that all loose ends have been tied.

6. Demonstrate your time management skills.
You will quickly encounter a host of demands on your time including assignments, training opportunities, and a variety of business-social events. Please do not ask a supervisor or a recruiter to help you prioritize your tasks. Demonstrate that you can manage multiple demands professionally. At the same time, once you have taken on several assignments, please do not take on additional work if you will be unable to successfully complete an assignment in a timely manner. Be prepared to tell your supervisor, “I’m currently working on three projects. If I take on this new assignment, we’ll need to reprioritize my other work. What’s your top priority?”

7. Turn in client-ready assignments completed and on time.
That means no typos and no stray markings. Show interest in assigned projects. One law student, who did not receive an offer at the end of last summer, reports she’s certain the offer was withheld because she failed to undertake appropriate follow-up, for example, she never asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you with regards to the product liability research I turned in last week?”

8. Attend social events.
You’ll find social events play a critical role when it comes to building your professional network, so by all means, attend them. In addition to meeting key contacts, these events give you the opportunity to demonstrate your comfort level with the social side of business. At networking events, wear your nametag on the right side of your outfit. This will keep your name in another’s line of sight during your introduction and handshake. Before you head to a business meal, brush up on your table manners. Always treat wait staff respectfully. Limit your alcohol consumption.

9. Use your employer’s technology for work-related projects only.
Every email you draft on an office computer must be business-appropriate, i.e., use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Do not write or text anything using office-issued technology that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the local newspaper or posted all over the Internet. Understand expectations regarding your accessibility via smart phone. If you’re expected to be accessible 24/7, when attending a meeting, keep your phone on and turned to vibrate. If 24/7 is not the expectation, when meeting with work colleagues or your supervisor, turn your smart phone off.

10. Ask for feedback . . . but not every day.
At the end of major projects, ask your supervisor for his or her feedback. Listen carefully. If you disagree with the feedback, feel free to explain your decisions and/or actions. However, please do not initiate an argument. When a supervisor suggests areas of improvement, tackle those areas immediately.

Copyright © 2014 Mary Crane & Associates.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Interviewing: An Employer's Perspective

CapLaw alumnus Troy Doucet (L'10), founder and owner of Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A., recently posted on his firm's blog an enlightening post discussing tips for a successful interview with a litigation firm. 

His post is broken down into four sections:

  1. Have a sense of your interests.
  2. Be able to articulate your long term goals.
  3. Be efficient during our interview.
  4. Project a professional appearance
  5. Be positive and enthusiastic.
Take a few minutes to read Troy's blog. His candid advice is applicable to all interviewees regardless of the practice setting in which he or she may ultimately work and solidly follows the three P's of interviewing: being prepared, professional, and persuasive. 

If you have questions about interviewing or wish to conduct a mock interview, contact the Office of Professional Development to schedule an appointment.

Hat tip to alumnus Troy Doucet for sharing his blog post.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

10th Annual Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair

The 10th Annual Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair (HDLJF) will be held August 1-2, 2014, in Kansas City, Missouri.  Students who are interested in becoming part of Kansas City’s dynamic legal community should strongly consider attending this event.  Students who will be returning to school in August and those graduating in May are eligible to attend the job fair, as employers will be interviewing for both summer and post-graduate positions.

The HDLJF is the result of Kansas City's leading law firms, legal associations, and corporate legal departments coming together to encourage law students to practice law in Kansas City.  The HDLJF is designed to expose law students of diverse backgrounds to both traditional and non-traditional legal employers.  In addition, the event is a great way to learn more about living in this wonderful city.

The HDLJF will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  It will kick off with an evening Welcome Reception on Friday, August 1st at the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.  The Saturday schedule includes a continental breakfast, interviewing from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and a luncheon at which participants will be greeted and addressed by a special Keynote Speaker.

Please register as soon as possible.  Students who register before May 16th will be entered into a drawing for exciting prizes.  The final deadline for registering is June 14, 2014.

Students can register on-line at

Monday, March 10, 2014

Agricultural & Food Law Explained

Many law students have never taken an agricultural law or food law course. They do not know what these special disciplines are about or what job opportunities might be available.

We produced a presentation, Why Study Agricultural & Food Law? to provide additional information. We hope your students will find it helpful. Please feel free to distribute this email widely or to incorporate the slideshow presentation into your career services resources.

Here is a link to the blog post containing the Why Study Agricultural & Food Law presentation. 

Here is a direct link to the YouTube posting:  

The code for embedding the video is: 

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

We are accepting applications for 2014-15, and we still have some graduate assistantships available. These are merit based awards that include a tuition waiver.

For questions, please contact:

Susan A. Schneider
Professor of Law
Director, LL.M. in Agricultural & Food Law
University of Arkansas School of Law
Fayetteville, AR  72701
(479) 575-4334
(479) 839-4058 (home)
(479) 466-6361 (cell)
Author, Food, Farming & Sustainability

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 NAPABA Central Region Conference

2014 NAPABA Central Region Conference
April 4-5, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio
Hosted by the Asian American Bar Association of Ohio               

Click Here to Register Now for the 2014 NAPABA Central Region Conference!

General Registration Information
  • Conference and Dinner Gala Package (includes Friday Welcome Reception, all CLEs, and Saturday Gala Dinner):
    • Law students:  $75 per student
  • Saturday Gala Dinner Only:
    • Law students:  $50 per student
  • CLEs Only (includes all CLEs and Saturday Lunch, does not include Friday Welcome Reception and Saturday Gala Dinner):
    • Law students:  $40 per student
  • Friday Welcome Reception (Free for those that have purchased the “Conference and Dinner Gala Package”)
    • Ticket price:  $15

Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 Elliot A. Spoon Business Law Writing Competition

The Journal of Business & Securities Law announces the release of the 2014 Elliot A. Spoon Business Law Writing Competition.


Prize: $500 and publication in the MSU College of Law Journal of Business & Securities Law.

Note: The prize money is contingent on receipt of a signed publication contract.


Eligible students are invited to submit a business or securities law article in law review format to by March 17th, 2014.

Submission Procedure:

If you are a law student at an ABA accredited law school, then submit:
(1) An electronic copy of your article, either as a pdf or as a Word document;
(2) A brief abstract of your article; and
(3) Your curriculum vitae (CV) with complete contact information.

All inquiries should be directed to Mary Oshei ~

Journal of Business & Securities Law
Michigan State University College of Law
209C Law College Building

East Lansing, MI 48824

BarBri Public Interest Fellowship Contest

BARBRI and SAVE THE CHILDREN, the leading independent organization for children in need, proudly offer an exciting career opportunity:

Win a one year $50,000 in-house counsel position at Save the Children’s U.S. headquarters in Westport, CT. Plus a free BARBRI bar review course.

All 3L U.S. law school students are eligible. BARBRI will reimburse your relocation expenses too. 

Create a video that answers, “Why do I want to work for Save the Children?” Be compelling, creative, imaginative.

Enter your video with resume by March 9, 2014.

For more information, visit the Fellowship Announcement.