By Andrew Cohen
As part of its diligent efforts to help students and alumni during the economic downturn, Berkeley Law’s Career Development Office (CDO) has added Robert White and Alex Lee ’04 as attorney counselors. White is the school’s first Director of Alumni Career Services, and Lee will share public interest career programming and advising responsibilities with fellow attorney counselor Linda Maranzana ’02.
With the increase in layoffs and hiring deferrals creating a huge spike in the CDO’s workload over the past year, Terry Galligan—the Assistant Dean in charge of the office—is thrilled to have White and Lee on board. “They’ve both dealt directly with the challenges of this current legal climate,” says Galligan, “and their arrival will help our entire office provide better service to the law-school community.”
White has worked as a corporate lawyer and as a professional development manager, trainer, and career coach. He practiced law at Jackson Tufts Cole & Black, and then served as Senior Counsel in Wells Fargo Bank’s legal department for several years.
Moving toward professional development, White managed corporate training programs for the headquarters personnel of Robert Half International, a Fortune 500 professional staffing and consulting company. There, he developed a consulting practice that included organizational development, training, and professional coaching.
Of Berkeley Law’s peer institutions, Georgetown is the only other law school with an alumni career counselor. And while most schools shut down their career services to alumni from August through December in order to focus on student recruiting, Berkeley Law won’t have to do that with White on board.
“Robert’s focus on our alumni community will free up other counselors’ time as we’ve all been sharing that load,” says Galligan, who notes that White will conduct programs and provide regular career tips for alumni. “His help will extend beyond those who have been laid off or recent grads looking for work, and there’s a lot of value he can bring even in a good economy.”
As a Berkeley Law 3L, Lee received a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship to create the Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersex Justice Project, a legal services and policy organization that works to stop the abuse of transgender people in prison. In doing so, he worked closely with LGBT legal organizations as well as racial and economic justice organizations, California legislators, and correctional agencies.
Lee also worked as a staff attorney at Justice Now, where he helped prisoners fight the termination of their parental rights and receive competent health care for life-threatening conditions. Throughout his career, Lee has mentored law students and young attorneys seeking public interest careers.
With private sector jobs increasingly tougher to get, Galligan expects more students to pursue public interest work after graduation. “It’s always been a difficult road even for our most committed public interest grads,” he says, “and Alex will provide them with much needed support. We also have folks who have been deferred from their firm and are looking for volunteer opportunities, and Alex can play a key role in facilitating that.”