“It’s never a boring day when you’re litigating,” says Anneliese Booher as she recalls her experiences as a practicing attorney at the Salt Lake City law firm Christensen & Jensen. Booher recently joined S.J. Quinney College of Law’s staff as director of the Professional Development office, and is happy to return once again to her alma mater to assume the challenging new role where, one can safely bet, she will rarely be bored. Although new to the position, Booher is eager to assist students as they explore the many career options available with a law degree. Her experience includes serving as a member on the hiring committee at Christensen & Jensen and volunteering as a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Utah, and continues with her membership in several legal associations such as the Utah State Bar, Salt Lake County Bar Association, and College of Law Young Alumni Association. Booher has also been featured among the Legal Elite in Utah Business magazine and was honored as the College of Law Young Alumna of the Year in 2007. When asked why she decided to leave her practice, she states, “It’s an exciting time for the law school right now and I want to help others in establishing their careers.”
Q. Explain in greater detail what Professional Development encompasses.
A. The goal of the Professional Development office is to help students see the bigger picture of their future careers, and to serve as a bridge between students and potential employers. This not only includes helping students with cover letters and resumes, conducting mock interviews, and providing current job openings and clerkships, but showing students the resources and different career paths available to them so that they are able to get the most out of their education. There are many different career options available with a law degree, and we try to show students these options. We encourage all students to visit the Professional Development office for career counseling whether they are in a time of acute need or just beginning law school.
Q. In what ways do you feel prepared to take on the new challenges of director?
A. I served on the hiring committee at my former firm, so I have some understanding of what employers may be looking for in employees. I’ve seen what happens to the cover letters and resumes and how the selection process may be carried out. Also, I am familiar with several firms in and outside of Utah, and I hope this will help in matching a student’s strengths to a given employer. I believe I can offer “real world” advice about interviewing and receiving a job offer.
Q. What guidance or wisdom do you give to students as they begin to develop their careers?
A. I advise students to make the most out of law school and get exposed to new things—even the things you might assume you would not be interested in. It’s these kinds of experiences that open up new opportunities for students and help them realize what they really want out of their careers.
Q. You worked for United Way and volunteer as a big sister for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. How is this kind of mentoring different from your previous experiences and how is it similar?
A. It’s similar, because in both situations you are hopeful that people can set goals and accomplish them, if given helpful tools and resources. For example, my “little sister” once asked me how people acquire nice things. I told her it’s often what appear to be small steps in life that make a difference. For her, this meant doing her homework, doing well in school, and having college as a goal. Likewise, for law student, these steps include doing your best in school, getting along with classmates, and taking advantage of opportunities such as scholarships, fellowships, and clerkships. Mentoring can be as simple as stressing the importance of getting good grades. It means helping others realize and understand the importance of good working skills and relationships.
Q. Is there anything in particular you want students or alumni to know about the Professional Development office?
A. It’s an exciting time for the law school right now with the direction it is heading. There is a great team of staff and administrators, professors, and students all working together to improve the quality of education offered here. I think everyone should get involved and participate by sharing their ideas and experience to help the students make the most of their education. Professional Development is not just for those students who are in a crisis situation and need immediate career guidance. We are here even before roadblocks. We want to know them on a first-name basis.
Q. If you were to look ahead, say, five years, how would you like the Professional Development office to be different than it is now? And how will you gauge the efficacy of your efforts?
A. I think that this office has been continually improving, and I have been pleased to see a strong emphasis on helping students to gain exposure to different legal careers through weekly workshops and area attorneys. I would like to further increase the visible presence of our graduates both in and out of Utah. I think that accomplishing this goal will depend on the ability of this office to understand the interests and talents of the students we are serving, and to that end, we hope to implement a more uniform program of one-on-one counseling all 1L’s before they begin applying for jobs. This will allow our office to better serve students who may have judicial clerkship and career interests –both in Utah and beyond—to reach their goals. In the future, the success of our efforts to increase the visibility of our alums may be measured by greater interest in judicial clerkships and broadened alumni networks, including outside of Utah. I also hope that in five years, the judges and employers who interview our students will find more of our students performing better in the clerkship and job-seeking process, and that this office is providing excellent customer service to them. To that end, this office will invite judges and employers to communicate their expectations and suggestions, and will continue to strengthen this office’s emphasis on resume, interview and other job seeking training.