September 28, 2009
In a piece written in the National Law Journal, serious questions are highlighted over the changing legal field and the implications of a legal education. A recent letter from the Dean of the University of Miami Law School, Patricia White, highlighted the changing legal market and asked students to rethink their reasons in going to law school. Quite bold considering the potential money the school could have lost if students took the Dean up on her advice.
The Dean’s letter was done, in part, to get students to think about the legal profession in a different way than they had thought of it when applying to law school. Dean White wanted to address some of the major elements that many career service offices already address when advising students: Opportunity building and networking. The article recaps much of her letter but emphasized a key concept known as “opportunity-making.” This practice asks students to “1) highlight an area that is most interesting to them; 2) identify the people with whom they want to associate; and 3) understand where key issues in their areas of interest proliferate. These factors give them a sense of direction. Students who take the time to craft this brief plan are not just looking for a job; they are architecting a career.” This sounds like a fundamental aspect of building a career. Pointing this out when entering law school can only help.