The Early Birds
Early Interview Week brings out the best
by John Masson
About 450 Michigan Law students gathered a little early for school this year as the first of three annual rounds of employer interviews kicked off in late August.
Early Interview Week, held at a hotel on Ann Arbor's north side, drew about 430 potential employers, meaning interviewers and interviewees more or less took over the hotel.
Assistant Dean Susan Guindi, a 1990 Michigan Law grad who runs the Law School's recently expanded and reorganized Office of Career Planning, said this year's EIW process has been encouraging.
"For the first time in several years, some students are now reporting callbacks well into the double digits," Guindi said. "Many employers are indicating that their summer programs will be larger in 2012, some expect them to be about the same, but nobody has indicated that they'll have smaller programs next summer. It's clearly an improvement over the employment picture of a couple of years ago."
To help Michigan Law students and alumni maximize their opportunities, the Law School this year combined its Career Services office with its Public Service office. Guindi said the move reflects the way careers progress for many of the school's alumni.
For Early Interview Week participants, the vibe was pretty relaxed, despite a situation some might say is fraught with pressure.
"It's really just a 20-minute conversation with a firm," said 2L Aryn Evans. "Most of the interviewers are just really, really friendly."
As many as a third of the employers conducting the actual interviews are themselves Michigan Law graduates, the school's Office of Career Planning said, which adds to the sense of collegiality.
Also feeling collegial were Evans' companions, all 2Ls, who, between interviews, were arrayed in a spray of laptops and notebooks around a circular table in the Holiday Inn banquet room.
"People aren't super-intense in here—it's not a cutthroat atmosphere at all," said Jessica Finz. "And with the interviews, the Michigan connection is very important."
And now that callbacks are in full swing, students are finding tht every connection helps.
More information about opportunities available through Michigan Law's Office of Career Planning is available at www.law.umich.edu/careers/Pages/default.aspx.
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