Students Attend Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair

On October 24th and 25th a group of ten students from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law attended the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair in Washington, DC.  Ten students, seven third-years and three second-years ventured to the nation’s capital in order to explore Public Interest opportunities. This was the first time that any of our students attended.

Assistant Dean for Career Services/Public Service, Kathy Urbach, got the ball rolling in September and encouraged students who were interested in attending the conference to meet with her to have their resume reviewed.  There was also an application process to be completed.

Funding for travel and lodging came from two sources.  Some of the money used was from the Career Services budget in lieu of other travel expenses.  Victor Revill, Student Bar Association President, obtained funds from University of Louisville’s Student Government Association.  One student even used frequent flyer points to get to the conference.

A meeting was held prior to the conference to provide information about what students could expect, how they should approach the employers at Table Talk, networking, workshops and other related topics.  Also, students outlined plans of action which gave fellow students ideas of how to assist one another.

Some of the students had specific goals.  Jessica Kingley, a third-year student, knew that she wanted to meet with the New York District County Attorney’s Office as well as Public Service people from New York City and turn it into a job.  Guion Johnstone, a second-year student, attended with four actual interviews scheduled.  Rexena Napier and Melissa McHendrix, both third-year students and both interested in animal law, knew that there wouldn’t be any employers dedicated to solely animal law, but viewed the conference as a way to learn about other related opportunities.  Victor Revill, a third-year student and president of the SBA, knew ahead of time that his approximately “five minute introduction speech” needed to be well-rehearsed and fine tuned for each prospective employer. 

All of the students were committed to public service work prior to attending the conference.  Jamie Izlar, a second-year student, worked in a public interest position before attending law school.  Her work involved working with indigent, undocumented immigrants.  Colleen Hagan, a third-year student said that the rewarding part of going to such a big conference with so many attendees is that the students all are like-minded and want to be part of a greater good.  Students felt encouraged to see so many employers who focus on public service.

Besides the career fair and Table Talk sessions, students attended workshops, sessions, discussions and had the privilege of hearing Ralph Nader speak.  Samantha Thomas, a second-year student, attended a government workshop which supplied her with tips (call specific government agencies, keep applying and find a niche).  Jamie Izlar attended a resume building session which she found extremely helpful and also attended several discussions where she learned which employers will pay for law school student loans.  Rexena Napier attended a workshop that gave her a lot of ideas including applying for grants.

All of the students who attended felt it was worthwhile to attend and felt a deeper sense of commitment to public service.  Duffy Trager came away with connections and a lot of business cards that he intends to follow up with.  Samantha Thomas plans to capitalize on what she observed at the conference and use it to shape what she does in law school.  Melissa McHendrix said that the most worthwhile aspect of the conference for her was meeting other students and discussing what organizations are non-profit and in the public sector.

The three second-year students are looking forward to returning to the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair next year.  This is a great experience for our students and an opportunity for them to represent the law school.  The University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law would like for all students interested in attending the conference in 2010 to have the opportunity to do so.

~Debra Reh, Program Assistant for the Office of Career Services