As published by Bloomberg
Tracking national trends over the last decade, John Marshall’s Career Services Office recognized that recent law school graduates entering the job market require the professional “soft skills,” or personal skills, necessary to succeed in their careers. In response, John Marshall’s Career Services Office created professional soft-skills development workshops to augment its already expansive lineup of career preparation programing.
First piloted in the spring of 2015, the Professional Development Series was created with two primary goals: to provide students with an interactive and substantive introduction to legal professionalism and job search topics essential to career success and to encourage students to develop and maintain a strong one-on-one relationship with their career counselors to maximize the potential success of their job searches. Due to early success, the series was expanded for the 2015-2016 year to ensure all first-semester law students receive the professional development lessons.
“We looked at academic studies and talked with our hiring partners, and we kept hearing the same thing: ‘We need lawyers that are practice-ready and professional from day one’,” Justice Margaret O’Mara Frossard, Associate Dean of Professionalism & Career Strategy, said. “Those hiring firms did not have the time or resources to train young attorneys and instead wanted graduates who were ready to succeed and who would not demonstrate unprofessional behavior on the job.”
Initially available solely to first-year, second-semester students, the Professional Development workshops were administered by career advisors as part of John Marshall’s Lawyering Skills and Expert Learning programs. The workshops offered interactive and reflective exercises, including videos, small-group discussions and role playing scenarios on personal branding, networking, informational interviewing, elevator pitches, professionalism and communication in the workplace.
“We believe the program has been successful in making our students more marketable to future employers by giving them the tools to excel in both the job search and once a job is secured,” Chanté Spann, Assistant Dean for Career Services, said. “Through the program, students learn to develop a professional identity, cultivate and leverage relationships for future employment and hone soft skills that make them more successful at their job.”
In addition to the Professionalism Series, the Career Services Office offers more than 30 career-related programs, including alumni mentoring and mock interviews.