The Career Development Office at the S.J. Quinney College of Law recently launched a traveling interview program to allow students to explore out-of-state opportunities.
“We know that our students are among the best in the nation, and we want to make sure they have our full support in pursuing opportunities outside of Utah,” said Assistant Dean of Career Services Arturo Thompson.
Second-year law students Jacob Robson, Joseph Sanders, and Chandler Blount recently traveled to Los Angeles to interview with local firms as a part of this new program.
According to Thompson, traveling to interview in person allows students to build a strong rapport with interviewers and explore the new city to get a feel for what it would be like to live and work there. It also allows students to compete on a level playing field against students from local law schools.
The trip included a networking reception with local alumni and interested employers.
“The networking reception gives the students a chance to make even more connections with alumni and practitioners who may not be hiring themselves, but can be a connection to other opportunities and offer critical mentoring support,” Thompson said.
The Career Development Office hopes to continue to grow this program, eventually expanding into a handful of cities with strong legal markets that law students show interest in.
“As we increase our name recognition nationally it also becomes easier to recruit from outside Utah, bringing us more diverse classes because potential students know we will help them go anywhere,” Thompson said.
The traveling interview program is just one of the many ways the Career Development Office fulfills its mission to provide lifelong career support for Utah Law students and graduates.
“The trip was a wonderful way to gain necessary interviewing experience while being able to network with the U’s alumni pool in LA,” Blout said. “I could not recommend the program more. It was fantastic!”
Learn more about this innovative new program with this Q&A with Thompson.
How did this new Traveling OCI Program come about? How is it different from traditional OCIs?
We know that our students are among the best in the nation, and we want to make sure they have our full support in pursuing opportunities outside of Utah. Traveling On Campus Interviews (Traveling OCI) was an idea the dean and the Career Development Office developed to do just that. In essence, it is as though we took the career office and moved it to another city, along with our students, so that employers in those cities can interview our students just as easily as students from a local school. One of the biggest elements of the program is that the school pays for everything, including student travel, meals, meeting space for interviews, and a reception for alumni.
What are the benefits for the school?
Improving employment outcomes is an obvious one, but the benefits go well beyond career services. As we increase ou name recognition nationally it also becomes easier to recruit from outside Utah because potential students know we will help them go anywhere. It helps us build stronger ties with alumni who not only meet the students at the receptions, but also spend time with myself and others from the school, enabling us to convert these alumni from a passive to a more active role with the school and students. It also helps with fundraising, as current alumni can see how their donations directly impact students and their careers, and we believe it will have current students become donors as they recall the way the school invested in them and their peers.
What are the benefits of this program for students?
For students, it gives them the chance to interview on a level playing field with students at local schools, interacting in-person and building a rapport that is not always as easy to find in a video interview. It is also a chance for them to explore the new city, getting a feel for what it would be like to live and work there. In addition to the interviews, we host a reception with alumni and employers, giving the students a chance to make even more connections with alumni and practitioners who may not be hiring themselves, but can be a connection to other opportunities and offer critical mentoring support.
What are the benefits for law firms?
For any employer, not just firms, it is the ability to personally meet and interact with a candidate. Virtual interviewing has become much more common following the pandemic, but with the incredible cost involved in onboarding and training new hires, the opportunity to meet in-person can really help an employer feel comfortable with a candidate. This is especially true if the employer interviews in person at local schools and may have a bias toward those local schools because many partners are also their grads. The other way to think of this is that it lets our alumni be better advocates for hiring SJQ grads. Finally, it gives firms in incredibly competitive hiring markets the opportunity to hire incredible talent from a top school at no additional cost.
What are the future plans for this program?
With a successful first year under our belt, we will be looking to expand the program to two or maybe three cities a year. We will be sending a survey our to students this fall to help us understand the markets they are most interested in, and tailor our destinations accordingly. Besides LA, we might be in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston DC, or San Francisco, to list just a few possibilities.
Photo — Utah Law students mingle with alumni and local attorneys at a networking reception. From left to right:
Mark Atwood, Atwood Gregg (SJQ Alum)
Arturo Thompson, SJQ Assistant Dean of Career Services
Vivianne Mbaku, Justice in Aging (SJQ Alum)
Jacob Robson (L’ 2024)
Joseph Sanders (L’2024)
Chandler Blount (L’2024)
Cary Jones, Snell & Wilmer (SJQ Alum)
John Dunsmoor, Dunsmoor Law (local attorney)
Jess Gregg, Atwood Greg (local attorney, partner at Atwood Gregg)
John Atwood, Mark Atwood’s Son