Career Planning and Placement Office Launches Law Clerk for Hire Database10/26/2010
The Law Clerk for Hire Database, or “LC4H” as it has become known, is the brainchild of Barbara Weinzierl, Director of Career Planning and Placement. The idea for LC4H came to Barbara after attending a meeting of the Akron Bar Association Small and Solo Practitioners Section. At that meeting, Barbara learned that many small law firms and solo practitioners may need law clerk help, but that the need went unfilled for a variety of reasons, including cost and lack of time to devote to hiring. Specifically, many small firms and solo practitioners do not have a need for a ”permanent” law clerk but might need help for projects on a case-by-case, hourly basis. Section Chairs Diana Colavecchio (’89), Susan Durr (’83), and Lynne Earhart (’07) agreed with Barbara that if Akron Law and its students could meet this need, it would be a great resource for the Akron legal community.
With that in mind, Barbara met with the Akron Law Technology Support to discuss her goals and vision for LC4H. Technology Support, working closely with Joel Holt (’05), Assistant Director of Career Planning and Placement, created a web-based database where students create a profile and upload their resume and potential employers have the ability to search those resumes. Specifically, students create a profile indicating, among other things, what year of law school they are in, their class rank, and what kind of work they are interested in. Students then upload their resume to a confidential, personal “resume page.”
Employers are also required to create a profile and login information. Once logged in, employers can search the LC4H database for students matching the criteria indicated by the employer. For example, employers can look specifically for a second-year law student who has an interest in domestic relations and is in the top 50 percent of their class. The database will then generate a list of all the matching students, including their contact information and a link to their personalized resume page. The goal of the LC4H database is to provide an easy and functional method to “match” employers and students. Once the match is made, the student and employer establish the wages and hours.
The Career Planning and Placement Office (“CPPO”)hopes that LC4H will provide local legal employers with a user friendly means to locate and contact law students who are eager to gain substantive work experience. Moreover, the CPPO is excited that LC4H will provide students the opportunity to reach a previously untapped source of legal work. It is this merger of supply and demand that the CPPO is betting on to make LC4H a huge success.
The CPPO believes that, in this market, there is a growing demand for this kind of service − legal work on an as needed, hourly basis. As law firms begin to hire more and more contract attorneys, it is only reasonable to presume that law clerk hiring will follow suit. Another benefit is that students, regardless of class rankings, now have a means, in conjunction with their traditional job search, to gain substantive experience, perhaps in multiple areas of practice with different levels of responsibility.
“One of the best places to get that kind of experience is often times in a smaller law practice because there isn’t a lot of support staff at a smaller firm and law students may be doing a little bit of everything like drafting motions, filing in courts, research and so you are really seeing what it’s like to be a lawyer,” explains Barbara.
The ultimate purpose of LC4H is to expose a potential need for law clerk help to those who had never considered it and then to help them fill it efficiently and at a reasonable price. While it is important for law students to gain practical experience now, the CPPO hopes that students will be able to parlay their “temporary” job into something long term. The CPPO believes that some of the small firms and solo practitioners will consider hiring students on a permanent basis once they are exposed to students who consistently perform at a high level. At a minimum, law students will gain practical experience and network with local attorneys. Barbara sees LC4H as having far-reaching potential.
“There is nothing else out there that is similar to this at other schools. This database is specific to Akron Law. Maybe in the future there will be a category for recent grads,” says Barbara. “The Office of Career Planning and Placement hopes that the students as well as the Akron legal community will take advantage of it. This is a great thing and potentially will benefit both sides.”
To register for access to the Law Clerk for Hire database, visit here .