Proposed Changes to Summer Employment Provisions for First Year Students

Posted by NALP Staff on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

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 using the comment area below or to e-mail their thoughts privately to partvcomments@nalp.org. 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.

Comments (27)

I would appreciate being able to meet with 1L's as early as October 15. Thank you for considering this important revision.
- By Kendra Brodin, Univ. of St. Thomas (MN) on Friday, March 15, 2013


I strongly support the proposed new language as I feel that it more accurately explains the role that CSOs have with 1Ls.
- By Estelle Winsett on Friday, March 15, 2013


I am a strong supporter of this change.
- By Claudia Melo, University of Minnesota Law School on Friday, March 15, 2013


I strongly support the proposed language as it recognizes the realistic provision of 1L Career Services.
- By Vicki Huebner on Friday, March 15, 2013


This change acknowledges the needs of students to acquire critical information and the distinction between information sharing and counseling. Excellent!
- By Susan Gainen on Saturday, March 16, 2013


I believe this is a positive move and am all for it. Elizabeth J. Moreno, Liberty University School of Law
- By Elizabeth J. Moreno on Monday, March 18, 2013


I also think this is a positive move. Below is my attempt to shorten the language of the proposed new rule: Part V D. 1. Opportunities to learn about professionalism, professional development and the legal profession are appropriate from the beginning of law school. Law schools should not begin offering one-on-one career counseling or application document reviews to first-year students before October 15 (except in exceptional circumstances for full-time students or 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.
- By Gihan Fernando on Monday, March 18, 2013


I also strongly support the proposed language and believe that 1Ls can substantially benefit from meeting with the CSO as early as October 15.
- By Erin Guruli on Monday, March 18, 2013


I agree with all the comments above and strongly support this change.
- By Phylis Myles on Monday, March 18, 2013


I strongly support the proposed changes and welcome the additional time.
- By Tasha Everman on Monday, March 18, 2013


This is an excellent proposal. Because the upper-class OCI process has moved so much earlier, it will be helpful to start our programs/services for 1Ls in October.
- By Susan Guindi on Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I support this proposal and would welcome the change!
- By Alyson Robbins (Michigan Law) on Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I strongly, strongly support this change
- By Kristin Flierl on Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I support the proposal and agree that students will benefit from these professional development opportunities provided earlier in the first year.
- By Marguerite Durston on Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I do strongly support this change!
- By Ginna Pastrano on Wednesday, March 20, 2013


We discussed this proposal internally and support its adoption, concurring with many of the prior comments here. The one caveat harkens back to the original intent of the Nov. 1 rule, which is that there will indeed be a shorter period of primary focus by 1Ls on academics and the intricacies of law school. Nonetheless, given the external landscape, students and schools would now have flexibility to make choices within NALP guidelines.
- By Bruce Elvin on Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I believe this is an important change and support it as such. Based on my experience, I believe one-on-one counseling regarding professional and career goals (excluding specific job application support) and resume review are important pedagogical tools used in a PD curriculum. Therefore, I would like clarification of the definition of "one-on-one career counseling or application document reviews." If that definition were interpreted to include one-to-one counseling sessions that include generic resume review not connected to specific job applications (which the deletion of Interpretation 14 may indicate that it does not), then I would propose the amemdment be changed to preclude only assistance in applying to or obtaining employment.
- By Gerald Slater, Suffolk University Law School on Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I concur with the earlier comments and also strongly support this proposed change given the realities of the marketplace and the need to provide early professional development to students.
- By Beth Moeller on Sunday, March 31, 2013


I am in support of the change.
- By LeaNora Ruffin on Monday, April 1, 2013


We support the new language in our CDO.
- By Hannah Fabrikant, Pepperdine University SOL on Monday, April 1, 2013


I support the change, especially in light of the changing employment landscape.
- By Ray English on Monday, April 1, 2013


Overall, we agree with getting industry-wide support that allows schools to assist their 1Ls with career search preparation earlier in the semester. We would request, however, clarification regarding the introductory phrase: “Recognizing that law schools will differ in philosophy as to first-year career development activities…”. Is the purpose of the phrase to recognize that some schools will prefer to follow the November 1st date? If so, perhaps that specific timing consideration could be included in the phrase. (See Gihan Fernando’s comment, supra). Or, is the phrase intended to provide leeway for schools to ignore the guideline and start individual 1L job search prep even earlier than October 15? We are concerned that this language could significantly reduce the effectiveness of the guideline and could risk creating an incentive for some schools to defect, if you will, in a manner much like we have observed recently with courts ignoring Federal Hiring Guidelines.
- By Cinnamon Baker, William & Mary Law School on Monday, April 1, 2013


I am in support of this change and agree that it will be a benefit to the students.
- By Maria Comas on Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I very much agree with and support the proposed change.
- By Dianna L. Kinsey on Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I support the idea of moving the counseling date to October 15th. This year, many students were seeking help before we could speak with them and there were several internships with application deadlines prior to November 1st.
- By Tera Hodge, William S. Boyd School of Law on Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I strongly support this much needed change! I look forward to implementing it.
- By Patricia Hodny, UND School of Law on Thursday, April 4, 2013


While we at Boston College Law School support any proposal that will allow us to meet with 1L students earlier than November 1, we would prefer that NALP remove all regulations limiting 1L counseling. Given recent changes in the legal job market, and specifically the movement of OCI from fall to summer, we believe that this sort of regulation is no longer necessary.
- By Heather Hayes, Boston College Law School on Thursday, April 4, 2013

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