Welcome from Dean Grossman: New Initiatives in Career Development, Curriculum, and Financial Assistance
Message to 2L, 3L, and 4L Returning Students
August 15, 2012
I want to welcome all of you back from what I hope was a rewarding summer, and share with you new and ongoing programs and initiatives that will take place this year.
You made an important decision to join our community and we want to deploy our best efforts to satisfy your career aspirations, especially when the current economic climate is posing serious challenges and the legal profession is undergoing important changes. While the value of the education we provide is unquestionable, the economic uncertainty requires us to develop programs and initiatives to support you to the fullest extent of our abilities.
Outlined below are the innovative curricular options and financial aid and career development services we are offering to help you build upon a successful law school experience and entry into the profession. We want to reiterate the importance of experiential learning and practical skills training, financial awareness, and a clear focus on your job search and networking opportunities.
As you work to identify your educational and professional goals, be sure to take advantage of the many programs that are developed to assist you. Make an appointment with a career counselor, take courses and participate in initiatives that advance your goals, and assess your current level of borrowing. As an institution renowned for its commitment to service, we will always offer you our best support and we encourage you to share with us any concerns should they arise. A retreat with student leaders will take place Saturday, August 25 and ongoing opportunities for communication, including monthly luncheons with me and regular access to the Office of Student Affairs, are also available throughout the year.
As you know, the alumni of our law school are important partners in ensuring your continued success. Their involvement in the most important undertakings of this institution, including the new law school campus that will enhance even further the quality of your law degree, is essential. Their continuous commitment has led to the creation of externships and job opportunities, as well as many need-based and merit scholarships. We are engaging in an ongoing dialog with our alumni community about how they can increase their contributions to your future even more.
Our faculty, senior administrators, and I look forward to working with you in the coming year.
AUWCL Career Development, Curricular, and Financial Assistance Initiatives, Academic Year 2012-13
The Office of Career & Professional Development (OCPD) is committed to your success in the legal market and continues to offer a variety of services to assist with all aspects of your career development. In addition to fall and spring recruitment programs, OCPD sponsors close to 100 educational programs and conducts several thousand individual counseling sessions each year.
Examples of programs for the upcoming semester follow:
- 2012 Fall Recruitment Program
- How We Hire Series
- 3L/4L Job Search Series
- Faculty Networking Week for 3Ls/4Ls
- Preparatory Sessions for Internal and External Programs and Networking Events
- Judicial Clerkship and Internship Programs
- Fellowship and Additional Post-Graduate Sessions
- Solo Practice Program
- Opportunities with Small and Mid-Size Law Firms
- "JD Advantage" Career Options
In addition, OCPD is launching several new resources to enhance student networking and counseling services:
- Join SEEN! Housed on CareerLink, SEEN is a new student-to-student employer evaluation network allowing students to share feedback about previous employer experiences.
- Online Scheduling for Career Counseling Appointments – Starting Tuesday, September 4, students can schedule counseling appointments online using CareerLink, eliminating the need for in-person appointment requests or those during business hours.
To become part of the SEEN community and to take advantage of scheduling online counseling appointments, please refer to the instructions that will be sent by OCPD early next week.
We want to hear about your employment successes! Please contact an OCPD career counselor or firstname.lastname@example.org to share an accepted offer for post-graduate employment. To schedule an individual career counseling appointment, please contact 202-274-4090 or access the online appointments system beginning September 4.
American University Washington College of Law has consistently been a leader in developing curricular offerings in new and emerging areas of the law. This year, in response to the particular increase in demand for practical skills training among our student body, we are launching a group of new courses and hands-on initiatives that will increase experiential opportunities:
- The new Legislative Lawyering Practicum combines course work with hands-on experience through an internship in key offices in Congress or public interest organizations to prepare students for work as a successful legislative lawyer.
- The newly created National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP) will host a practicum in "Immigrant Women: Law and Policy" this fall, in which students will work on a project that responds to unmet needs of immigrant crime victims, women, and children, and will intern for credit with NIWAP.
- New In-House Counsel Course: The law school has developed an in-house counsel lawyering course for the fall semester – "Beyond the Law Firm: The Role of Corporate, Government and Non-Profit Institution Counsel" will address the experiences of in-house counsel in both for-profit and not-for-profit settings.
- Human Rights Teaching Fellows Program: The Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, in collaboration with the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, is launching a new program this fall to help law students become effective human rights educators and advocates. The Speak Truth to Power Human Rights Teaching Fellows Program will partner law students with local high school teachers and students to provide them with an opportunity to teach and learn about human rights using the RFK Center's innovative STTP curriculum.
- New Spring Courses: Spring semester offerings will include Consumer Financial Protection Law and Advanced Accounting and the Law that build upon financial regulatory law as an important source of career opportunities.
- Summer Programs: New summer institutes on Hospitality and Tourism and on Anti-Corruption law are planned for summer 2012, building on these current hot practice areas. Our newly-created International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy Summer Program will continue to offer unique opportunities to take classes in Geneva at the World Intellectual Property Organization, World Trade Organization, and International Labour Organization.
These new programs join the law school's international programs, which have allowed us to generate numerous externship and job opportunities for our students, preparing them even better for legal practice and giving them a competitive edge in the new world reality. Adding to this competitive edge is our Externship Program, which helped more than 460 students last year gain on-the-job experience in government agencies, administrative courts/tribunals, non-profit organizations, and law firms engaged in pro bono work. Our Externship Fair, one of largest single law school fairs of its kind in the country, attracting hundreds of students and employers each year, will be held again in January 2013.
American University Washington College of Law has increased its financial assistance and scholarships as well as its financial aid and loan counseling services. The following are ongoing commitments to the student community:
Need-Based Grant Awards: Starting this fall, we increased need-based grant awards -- average award to date is approximately $13,000 up from $11,284 in 2011-12.
Increased Merit Awards for Upper Division Students
- A variety of merit-based scholarships, such as the Mussey-Gillett Fellowships (22 in 2012) and new Dean's List Fellowships for 2013 (20) are available for students who distinguish themselves in their studies.
- Restricted Scholarships (both merit- and need-based) offered through the generosity of donors are also available – more than $280,000 will be awarded this year, helping to alleviate the financial burden of law school for more than 90 students.
- Every year the WCL Equal Justice Foundation awards $4,000 grants to eligible students working in public interest. More than 80 students were assisted last year thanks to the efforts of the students and the matching funds. Dean Grossman renews his commitment to matching funds raised by students at the annual auction.
Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP) was started in 1989 to help relieve the economic burden for graduates committed to public service. In 2012 PILAP assistance increased by 55% to $400,000, allowing funding for more graduates doing public interest work and allowing for a higher salary ceiling for PILRAP applicants.
JD Distinguished Fellowship Program: This post-graduate program supports graduates uniquely affected by the economic climate and changes in the legal profession. Fellows earn short-term compensation for substantive legal work while networking and seeking full-time employment. Funding of $460,000 was provided last year, including a $75,000 contribution from the Student Bar Association. Since its inception in 2009, the program has assisted 88 graduates.
Grant Funded Programs: Thanks to our innovative programs, AUWCL has attracted millions of dollars in grants, providing further employment opportunities for students including approximately 100 dean's fellowships each year. Overall, we achieved record grant activity last year with more than $5 million in pledged awards.
Dean's Fellow Positions: We intend to match the nearly 400 research assistant positions that were awarded last year. Please check MyWCL for position announcements.
New Financial Aid Resources
New "Ask the Loan Expert" Program: Last Spring, for the first time, AUWCL offered a unique program for graduating students to meet in one-on-one counseling sessions with a nationally recognized expert to learn about student loan repayment options and to develop strategies for managing debt. This fall we are expanding that program to include all students. Dr. Jeffrey Hanson will return to again provide one-on-one counseling sessions for WCL students. Notice of how you can take advantage of this free opportunity will be posted soon. Please be on the lookout for this important announcement – counseling sessions will take place mid–semester.
New Budgeting Tool: The Financial Aid Office has introduced a new budgeting tool to help students get a better handle on their finances and minimize student debt. The Budget Worksheet is available on the Financial Aid website.