Are you thinking about leaving the practice of law, but would like to stay connected with the legal field? If so, have you considered a career in law school administration?
The Barristers Diversity Issues Committee recently presented a panel on Exploring Careers in Law School Administration. The panelists were Edward Tom, Dean of Admissions at UC Berkeley School of Law; Leeor Neta, former Director of Public Interest Programs at Golden Gate University School of Law; Louise Francis, Associate Director and Graduate Class Advisor in the Career Office at UC Hastings School of Law; Kevin Johnson, Dean of UC Davis School of Law; and Monica Davis, Program Manager of the Center for Global Law and Policy at Santa Clara University School of Law.
The panelists discussed their unique paths into law school administration, highlighted the skills needed to succeed in this profession, and offered advice on how to obtain a position in this field. Below are several tips that the panelists provided when considering a career in law school administration:
Counseling skills are valuable assets when working in law school administration. Because many positions in this field will provide you with an opportunity to work directly with law students, you need to be an active listener, have empathy, and be able to build a rapport with students. You can develop these skills through mentoring other attorneys, mediation training, and managing relationships with clients.
Passion for Serving Students
In order to succeed in this profession, you also need to be passionate about helping students. Because the legal market is so tight, many law students are having a difficult time securing legal positions. As a result, it is essential to find creative ways to support and connect with law students.
Build Your Connections
If you decide to transition into law school administration, networking will be important. The panelists discussed a variety of networking opportunities including informational interviews with law school administrators, becoming involved with professional organizations like BASF, and staying connected with your law school.
Careers in law school administration offer an array of opportunities for you to use the skills that you have learned through the practice of law, and develop new skills that will allow you to effectively serve law students.
About the author:
Sara Ayazi is an attorney and is currently getting her masters degree in counseling at San Francisco State University. She obtained her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Vassar College.