Jeremy Bloom, '01, Named New Assistant Dean of Career Planning
By Lori Atherton
Oct. 17, 2013
Jeremy Bloom—a 2001 graduate whose legal experiences include interning for a U.S. district judge, working as an associate at Skadden, starting his own practice, and engaging in high-level financial regulatory work—has been named the new assistant dean for career planning at the University of Michigan Law School.
He joins Michigan Law on Dec. 4, and replaces longtime dean Susan Guindi, '90, who served in the role for 18 years before joining U-M's Ford School of Public Policy in August as director of student and academic services.
"I've always loved the Law School, and I had such a wonderful experience while I was there," said Bloom, who also received a BA in political science from U-M. "This opportunity made me realize that my affinity for the School and my experience of moving through different legal settings put me in a great position to share the joy I've gotten from practicing law with students and other members of the Law School community. I am passionate about working with law students—but I wouldn't want to do this job anywhere else."
Alyson Robbins, Michigan Law's public interest director, said Bloom is a great fit for the Office of Career Planning, and cited his warmth, knowledge of the legal market, and student-centric focus as among his attributes.
"Jeremy is ready to help the Office of Career Planning continue to grow and support students and alums in finding the right job opportunities and career paths in this market," she said. "He offers the right balance of wanting to serve students and understanding the reality of the job market."
"We are tremendously excited that Jeremy is joining us," added Dean Mark West. "He has a wealth of experience that will help him resonate immediately with the people who make Michigan Law such a special place."
Since graduating from Michigan Law, Bloom has pursued a career in corporate law. Except for two years in Florida, he has practiced in New York City, first as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP from 2002 to 2005, then as senior counsel at FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulating Authority) Enforcement Department, where he investigated and litigated matters involving securities law violations.
Bloom left FINRA in 2010 to open a boutique law practice, Bloom & Silver PA, in Coral Springs, Florida, which focused on general commercial litigation, regulatory enforcement, and securities arbitration. He left the practice in 2012 and returned to New York to serve as the senior compliance manager and counsel for Tower Research Capital LLC, a financial services firm specializing in trading and investment strategies. In each of his roles, he was involved in the recruiting and training of law students and practicing attorneys.
"Jeremy has had a fantastic range of jobs, and he has a great Michigan Law network—not to mention the close ties he's maintained with Skadden—which will be a tremendous benefit to students and alumni," said Sarah Zearfoss, '92, senior assistant dean for admissions, financial aid, and career planning. "This is a challenging time in legal education, and Jeremy understands the current world of law and knows what employers are seeking. He's eager to bring fresh energy to his role as assistant dean."
When Bloom was a law student, Dean Zearfoss, who was serving as U-M's judicial clerkship adviser, counseled him and helped him secure a summer internship with the Hon. Avern Cohn, '49, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. Bloom and Zearfoss will work closely to guide the Law School's career planning initiatives. "Sarah helped me to broaden my career horizons and to think about all of the things I could do with a law degree," Bloom said. "I can't think of anyone I would want to work with more."
During a recent phone interview, Bloom answered questions about his new role and how the Office of Career Planning can help students explore career opportunities.
What are you excited about in your new role? I'm excited about helping the career planning office continue to build on its strengths. Career planning is an integral part of the student experience, and we want to be able to match what students are interested in, and what their background and experience lend them to, with the amazing opportunities that are out there. The goal is not to pigeonhole students into a position, but to help find authentic options that speak to their aptitudes, interests, and experiences.
How closely will you be working with students? I plan to have a close working relationship with students. One of the things I'm excited about is being more intimately involved in the student experience—including working directly with student groups, working with alumni and development, and building on existing programs, such as the student-alumni mentorship program. I'll be holding office hours to meet with students individually and also will have a presence at Law School events.
How do think your career experiences will benefit students? The fact that I've had a variety of experiences means that there should be something specific from my background that is very translatable to a lot of students, even though most would not be doing the exact type of work that I did. Hopefully there is something from any one of my jobs that will allow me to make a connection with students and provide tailored advice. I have seen the different settings in which you can practice law, and more and more, looking for creative career opportunities for law students is going to be important as the number of jobs at the country's largest law firms decreases. My experiences, I think, will inspire me to be creative and innovative in thinking about the types of jobs that law students are going to want and that are going to be available in the future.
You started your own law firm, but for various reasons, left the partnership. What lessons did you learn from that experience that would be valuable for law students? You can never completely know the future, and you have to think about a lot of different aspects of your life. For me, it was that I had just started a family (Bloom and his husband, Chris, have 3-year-old twins, a boy and a girl) and was thinking about where I wanted to live to raise my family. The situation I experienced is beneficial for me to draw upon in talking to students, to the extent that it goes back to making authentic choices. Making authentic choices doesn't always mean making easy choices. It means taking a calculated risk to pursue something that is really meaningful to you and being willing, once you take that risk, to honestly evaluate the situation and make changes if things aren't working the way you want them to.
What changes have you seen in the legal market since graduating from law school? The number of associates that are being hired by large law firms has decreased, so Big Law jobs are not as numerous, stable, or predictable as they have been in the past. Even as you move up the ranks from associate to partner, what has traditionally been a very stable, long-term career situation increasingly is no longer the case. In addition, law students are more sophisticated than in the past. There is more information that's readily available to students, so when they come to law school, they are aware of the shifts in the legal landscape and are more sophisticated in their approach to looking for legal employment. They also bring more work experience with them to law school. There had been a time when the expectations of students didn't match the reality, because the reality at large law firms had shifted very quickly, but four years later, the changes at the larger law firms and the changes in the student body itself are coming into alignment. The consequence for the Office of Career Planning is that we need to be as innovative, creative, and proactive as we can be in connecting with students, understanding what's important to them, and giving them expert advice. We also need to work closely with legal employers, including nontraditional ones, to find excellent opportunities for our students.
What skills and qualities are employers seeking? Having an understanding of what it means to interact with a client, to do client intake and interview a client, to listen to what a client is looking for, and to have given some real-world advice and actually put into practice some of the theories learned in the classroom. These skills are incredibly helpful for any kind of legal employer, but particularly large law firms. These skills can be gained through clinical experiences, and Michigan is leading the way in the number and quality of clinical opportunities it offers students.
How would you summarize your Michigan Law experience? It was intellectually stimulating and an incredibly supportive, collegial environment to be in, and not at all what one expects when thinking about the stereotypical law school experience. I made really close friends at Michigan, with whom I remain close today.
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