How do you envision your future? Do you want to become a civil rights attorney? Work for a top New York law firm? Practice cyberlaw in Silicon Valley? With a degree from Berkeley Law, the world is your marketplace. Our Career Development Office (CDO) doesn’t just connect JD students with great job opportunities. We’re committed to helping you embark on a fulfilling career in law that truly reflects your values, goals, and aspirations.
We believe in planning ahead, so beginning in your first year of study, the office will help you create a strategy for transforming your vision into reality.
One-on-One Career Counseling
The CDO is staffed by nine attorney-counselors, each of whom has practiced law and can offer real-world insights into various career paths. They currently include an attorney for a non-profit organization providing assistance to the poor, a former executive director of a grass roots advocacy organization for social change, a former government lawyer, a former partner in a large law firm, and a former small firm practitioner.
The counselors are available by appointment and on a drop-in basis, and will help you with general or specific career planning, job search techniques, resume and cover letter writing, and building a network of professional contacts. They can help you create three years of custom-tailored education and experience here at Berkeley Law that will help springboard you to a rewarding and fulfilling career. You can find bios and contact information for each of our attorney-counselors on the CDO website.
The Career Development Office sponsors programs for all law students throughout the year on such topics as:
● Résumé writing
● Interviewing skills
● the art of networking
● Job-search techniques for the public and private sectors
● Diversity in the legal profession
● Various legal practice areas
These programs take various forms and many feature notable speakers. Past speakers have included Boalt alumni, partners and associates from law firms throughout the nation, attorneys specializing in public interest and public sector work, and experts in areas of interest such as current legal market trends.
On-Campus Interview Programs
In the fall and spring of each year, Berkeley Law offers an extensive recruitment program that includes mock interviews, in which you can develop interviewing skills through simulated job interviews conducted and evaluated by practicing attorneys.
On-Campus Employer Interviews
Typically, more than 200 law firms, corporations, and government agencies interview second- and third-year students for summer and permanent employment. Most employers come from California, although firms from New York, Washington, DC, and other cities around the United States, Europe, and Asia are also represented.
Other Job Opportunities
Many employers—including some not represented at the on-campus event—regularly solicit résumés from students to fill their hiring needs each year.
Career Development Resources
In addition to our online resources, you will also find a library of print materials in the CDO that include directories, periodicals, and other resources about the legal profession.
At the library, you will find information on:
● Employers’ hiring practices, salaries, benefits, gender and minority demographics, and more
● Judicial clerkships
● State and federal government agencies
● Public interest law organizations
● Graduate programs and fellowships
● Teaching opportunities
Berkeley Law’s Career Development Office can help you take advantage of fellowship and employment opportunities targeted towards students interested in pursuing a career in the public or nonprofit sector.
Summer and Postgraduate Fellowships
Berkeley Law encourages students to experience public interest/public service law by making it financially feasible for every JD student to do Summer legal work in this area. Berkeley Law graduates are competitive candidates for all national legal post-graduate fellowships. Our graduates are regularly chosen as finalists for and recipients of prestigious fellowships sponsored by the Skadden Foundation, Equal Justice Works, Soros, New Voices, the Berkeley Law Foundation, and many others.
For Summer 2013, fellowship funding was available through the Berkeley Law Summer Fellowship Program, which provides up to $6,000 of funding to all JD students who request the support and meet the program requirements. The requirements include, among other things, completing at least 25 hours of public service or pro bono work during the previous academic year. Students may use up to $4,000 of this funding during their first summer of public interest/public sector work, and may use the additional $2,000 during a second summer of eligible work. In addition to this $2,000 award, students completing a second summer of eligible work may compete for supplemental funding. In past years, students completing a second summer of public interest/public sector work have generally received funding of at least $5000 through the Berkeley Summer Fellowship Program and other funding sources.
Public Service Employment
Over the past couple of years, more than 15% of Berkeley Law graduates go on to public interest or government careers. Two career counselors are available full time to counsel students who are interested in public interest or public sector employment.
Students can also take advantage of these programs:
Public Interest/Public Sector Internship and Career Fair: Every semester, the office hosts a major event focused on public interest careers. In the Fall, 40 to 60 employers attend this session.
Public Interest/Public Sector Career Day: PI/PS Day gives students a chance to establish contacts with public interest employers in the Bay Area. Each year, more than 100 public interest organizations and state and federal government agencies participate in this event to inform students and graduates about the nature of their work and employment opportunities. Berkeley Law cosponsors the even along with the eight other Northern California law schools and the Public Interest Clearinghouse.
Public Interest/Social Justice Mentor Program: Each year, nearly 50 first-year students are matched with practicing government and public interest attorneys. Students attend hearings, depositions, and negotiations, discovering what a day in the life of a public interest attorney can involve. Mentors also are available to answer career-related questions and to provide networking contacts to students.
Other Public Interest Career Programs: Throughout the year, the office partners with various student organizations to present career programs focused on Summer and postgraduate fellowships, judicial clerkships, international human rights work, and much more.
Berkeley Law subscribes to the Public Service Jobs Directory (www.psjd.org). This innovative national resource helps law students across the country find positions with public interest organizations, government agencies, judges, and private firms with public interest or significant pro bono practices.
What Our Students Do During the Summer
Most first-year students begin an active job search for summer internships during the spring semester. Beginning in November and continuing through the spring semester, the office provides career-oriented programs and opportunities for first-year students.
Firms that employ first-year students for summer positions often solicit student resumes. Other employers participate in a spring on-campus recruiting program. Here are some of the jobs and activities our students do during the summer:
• Intern for U.S. attorneys, public defenders and district attorneys
• Extern for federal judges throughout the United States
• Work at America’s most prestigious law firms
• Conduct cutting-edge human rights fieldwork worldwide
• Study abroad
• Provide direct client services at legal aid agencies in marginalized communities
Where Our Graduates Are Now
• Succeeding at every level of traditional law practice in top law firms, both large and small
• Working in business, banking and consulting
• Running nonprofit organizations
• Teaching at law schools and colleges across the country
• Working as general counsel of major corporations
• Clerking in federal and state courts