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Designed for Success
New Office of Career Planning to help students chart their courses


June 8, 2011
Contact: John Masson, 734.647.7352, jpmasson@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A beefed-up and retooled Office of Career Planning debuted this week with the aim of helping Michigan Law grads become even more marketable to employers than they already are—which, based on the office's existing strengths, is no easy task.

The most dramatic change in the new office—which will be known formally as the Office of Career Planning for the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors—is the merging of the Office of Public Service and Office of Career Services. The new entity will be led by assistant dean Susan Guindi, a 1990 Michigan Law grad who began her career at the law school in 1995, as the first associate director in the Office of Public Service, before being selected to lead the Office of Career Services in 1998. Her own path—which includes two clerkships and private practice at a large D.C. firm—equips her well for carrying out one of the missions of the new office: allowing students to more seamlessly explore opportunities in a variety of practice areas.

But the key motive for reorganizing the office, Guindi said, was the actual course of most students' and graduates' professional lives.

"In studying the careers of our students and alumni, we've learned that most enjoy a combination of opportunities across public, private, and nonprofit sectors," said Guindi. "It makes sense to structure the office to mirror that fact."

The reorganization brings with it additional counseling staff, more programming for career planning and networking, post-graduate and summer funding opportunities to allow students to explore different practice options, and more outreach to employers outside the school's traditional network. It also will help Michigan Law continue developing the strong, well-rounded academic and clinical programs for which it is globally recognized.

"We are committed to beginning the career counseling relationship with our students, literally, before they're even students," said Sarah Zearfoss, a 1992 graduate who, in addition to her duties as assistant dean for admissions, last year began overseeing the offices of Career Services, Public Service, and Financial Aid in order to coordinate a consistent approach to employment and financial resource issues throughout students' law school tenure. "And we continue long after they graduate and leave Ann Arbor. These organizational improvements will allow us not merely to continue helping them find top-tier opportunities, but to improve our efforts—whether the opportunities they seek are in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors, or some combination of all."

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