Proposed Revisions to 1L Summer Employment Provisions in NALP’s Principles & Standards

During their February 2013 meeting, NALP’s Board of Directors reviewed member feedback regarding the current Summer Employment Provisions for First Year Students (Principles & Standards Part V D).

Board members propose deleting the current Part V D 1:

Part V D. 1. Law schools should not offer career services to first-semester law students prior to November 1 except in the case of part-time students who may be given assistance in seeking positions during the school term.

and replacing it with the following language:

Part V D. 1. To position law students to be as successful as possible, their efforts during the first semester of law school should focus on their studies rather than on job search activities. Nonetheless, opportunities to learn about professionalism, professional development and the legal profession are appropriate early in law school. Recognizing that law schools will differ in philosophy as to first-year career development activities, law schools nevertheless should not begin offering one-on-one career counseling or application document reviews to first-year students before October 15 (except in the case of part-time students who may be given assistance in seeking positions during the school term). Individual law schools can set later dates as appropriate.

To conform with the new language, Board Members also propose deleting Interpretation 14: Professional Orientation Services for First Year Students.

The other provisions of Part V D, including the restriction on contact between employers and candidates before December 1, and the two week offer guideline, would remain as is.

A redline version of Part V D is available here (PDF).

Background and Discussion

In reviewing member feedback over the past few years, Board members noted:

  • Some members have expressed an interest in being able to work with 1L students on all matters prior to November 1.
  • Many schools, with NALP’s acquiescence, have long made exceptions for programs with early deadlines that may call for the CSOs to assist 1Ls prior to November 1.
  • Other professional schools work with their students on career matters from day one.
  • Student professionalism and student professional development efforts are playing an increasingly important role in all three years of law school, and many career services offices play a critical role in creating and executing educational programs (including informing students’ social media presence, which must be managed throughout law school) to support a professionalism or professional development curriculum.
  • It remains generally broadly accepted that 1Ls need some time to get settled into their first year of law school.
  • The current guidelines and interpretation are flexible and allow for CSOs to work with 1Ls on a variety of topics.
  • At the same time, many CSOs are very busy with 2Ls and 3Ls earlier in the fall.

Board members propose moving the date back to October 15 to provide some flexibility and allow those schools who have more time in the fall now that OCI often concludes in early September to work with their 1Ls a few weeks earlier. Board members also propose allowing for group activities/programs on the full range of career and professional development topics before October 15 and individual career-related appointments and document review after that date.

Board members would be interested in hearing from members whether the October 15 date would work well for them, or if they prefer to retain the current November 1 date.

Process

The Board seeks member input on this proposal. Members are encouraged to share comments publicly on the NALP blog or to e-mail their thoughts privately to partvcomments@nalp.org (please use subject line "1L Part V Comments"). Please submit your comments no later than Thursday, April 4.

Board members will review member input at their Board meeting in April immediately preceding the Annual Education Conference in Tampa and subsequently, if necessary, at their May Board meeting. If the Board opts to adopt the proposed language, or a modified version of it, it will be adopted on a provisional basis for the 2013-2014 year, and then, after review, members will be asked to adopt it permanently at the Annual Business Meeting in 2014.

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