Congratulations on your last year of law school! Here you will find general information regarding your job search and professional development in your third year. It is presented in an FAQ format. As always, if you do not find the information you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Do you have a general timeline of what I should be doing my third-year with respect to job searching?
Yes, we have created a handout containing key deadlines, networking opportunities, and general guidelines about how to structure your job search in your third year. We recommend printing out the handout as a reference as you go through the year.
What do I need to do prior to graduating?
To-Do List Prior to Graduation
- Graduates who have already secured employment in any capacity must fill out a graduate employment survey (see below).
- All graduates who have not submitted a graduate survey are required to attend a 3L ABA Report Requirements Workshop at the end of April. Sign up in Symplicity.
- Those who have not secured employment should set up a counseling meeting with a career adviser as soon as possible.
- All graduates should contact the Office of Career and Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org with a non-campus email address to be used after leaving UW Law School.
Graduate Employment Survey
Each year, the Office of Career and Professional Development is required to submit the Law School's graduate employment statistics to the American Bar Association, National Association of Law Placement, and the U.S. News and World Report. We gather this information through the Graduate Employment Survey, which students can complete by visiting the Office of Career and Professional Development website and submitting an electronic Graduate Employment Survey.
The Office of Career and Professional Development seeks the participation of all its graduates - whether they are working part-time in a legal, law-related or non-legal position, or not working and pursuing a secondary degree.
It is important to provide this information as soon as possible and provide updates as your information changes as it helps the Office of Career and Professional Development advise other students on starting salary ranges and concentrate limited resources on those still in need of assistance.
Please Note: The Law School respects the privacy of its students and alumni. No personal or personally identifying information received through the Graduate Employment Survey will be released elsewhere, including salary information.
What should I do once I have accepted a job offer?
There are two very important things that you must do upon accepting a job offer:
- Notify all employers who consider you to be an active candidate that you have accepted a position; and
- Notify your OCPD adviser and complete the Graduation Survey, which collects data required by the ABA for the Law School's accreditation.
Are there On-Campus Interviews available to 3Ls?
Yes! Every year we have a number of law firms and government employers coming to campus to interview 3Ls for post-graduate positions. Additionally, other employers include applications from UW Law 3Ls in their resume collects. Also, interviews for 3Ls are available off-campus through career fairs like the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference and the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair.
Do you have programming to help 3Ls in their job searches?
Yes! In the fall semester we will offer interview workshops and a job search strategies presentation. We will offer similar presentations in the spring. We also have networking opportunities throughout the school year, so make sure that you take advantage of them! Check out Symplicity for an up-to-date calendar.
Do you provide information on the Bar Exam/Diploma Privilege?
Yes! We will have fall and spring semester programming on the logistics of the bar exam for various states. We also work with the Registrar and the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) to facilitate a Getting Ready to Graduate day in November, where you can do a degree audit to confirm that you are on track for diploma privilege and ask the BBE any of your questions before you submit your bar application.
Does the law school offer any loan repayment assistance to recent graduates?
Yes! The University of Wisconsin Law School sponsors a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), with provides small grants to students who accept permanent public interest jobs after graduation. Since its inception in 2002, the LRAP has generally provided from between two to six months of loan repayment in the form of a lump sum payment upon the student's acceptance of "qualifying position". (The size of the award may vary depending upon the applicant pool and the applicants' debt obligations.) "Qualifying position," means a legal position at a nonprofit organization or government agency with a specified maximum salary. For additional information, please see our LRAP page. The new LRAP application will be available in April or May of your graduating year.
What if I graduate without having secured a full-time permanent position?
Most importantly, don't panic! Many opportunities will open up when you are bar admitted or after you sit for another state's bar exam. Smaller firms, non-profits, and many government agencies can't afford to hire far ahead in advance, so they are only interested in candidates who can start in the immediate future. Also some great opportunities - like the Presidential Management Fellows program and the Equal Justice Works Fellowship - are available for application the year after you graduate.
Does the law school provide "bridge funding" for students who are unemployed at graduation and wish to take volunteer positions?
The Student Transition to Employment (STEP) stipend program was created to provide financial assistance to new University of Wisconsin Law School graduates who work for at least eight weeks after graduation in unpaid public interest jobs for government agencies or nonprofit organizations. The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for graduates to maintain their skills while getting a foot in the door with an employer, build their network while seeking full-time employment, avoid employment gaps on the resume, and possibly lead to full-time, post-graduate employment. The STEP application process is announced in April or May of students' 3L year. A limited number of grants are also made available for December graduates. Applications will be accepted by OCPD beginning in early summer for new graduates, and OCPD continues to accept applications until funds are exhausted.
Do you provide career assistance to alumni?
Yes! We provide services for our alumni throughout their careers. Most importantly, we provide extensive assistance to recent grads at least until they find their first permanent job. For more information on services for those beyond their first position, please see our Alumni page.