Career Opportunities

The Office of Career and Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin Law School provides a wealth of resources to assist you in obtaining employment. From your first semester of law school, up to graduation and beyond, you will receive information and advice on a broad range of legal career opportunities.

Leading law firms, government agencies, businesses and public interest organizations seek to hire UW Law School graduates. A broad range of legal employers from a number of major cities participates in the on-campus interview program, and the Law School participates in nine off-campus job fairs each year, in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Our students receive assistance from some of our more than 11,000 alumni throughout the country, and in any given year, our students typically accept jobs across the country, from New York to California.

A student's job prospects depend on many factors, including the state of the economy at the time of graduation, law school grades, specialization and experience in law school (e.g., course work, concentrations, moot court, clinical programs),  undergraduate major (for example, science-related backgrounds for intellectual property), work experience, contacts and professional network, geographical flexibility, and personality, professional appearance and interviewing skills.

The Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) provides counseling, materials, resources, and programs to help students and alumni in their searches for employment during the summer, semesters, and after graduation. Every year, the OCPD also gathers and provides to the ABA, the National Association for Law Placement, and U.S. News & World Report detailed employment and salary data containing total numbers and percentages of graduates who are "employed at graduation" and "employed nine months after graduation," and breaking the numbers down into temporary versus permanent jobs, part-time versus full-time jobs, and legal vs. non-legal jobs.    Because prior graduates’ employment experiences have little predictive value in terms of what any particular prospective student’s employment and salary prospects are likely to be, the OCPD encourages prospective students to talk to one of the lawyers on our staff to obtain individualized advice based on the student’s career goals.  If you would like to talk to a member of the OCPD staff to discuss the legal employment market generally and what your individual career options are likely to be, please contact the Office of Career and Professional Development at 608-262-7856.

First-Year Students

Law school is a unique experience, and students are encouraged to focus initially on understanding the educational process, developing good study habits and keeping up with their class work. In recognition of the importance of getting off to a good start, the National Association for Law Placement, an organization comprised of law schools and many legal employers, has adopted a rule prohibiting schools from providing specific career services to first year law students prior to November 1. As a result, first-year students will not hear much from OCPD until after November 1.

During the first two weeks of November, however, the Office of Career and Professional Development will meet with the entire first-year class, in small groups, to introduce them to the office and personnel, discuss the services provided by the Office of Career and Professional Development and provide information on the job search process. Later in the year, OCPD offers general workshops on résumé writing, cover letters, interview skills and a number of other topics for first year students. In addition, throughout the year, we offer speakers on a variety of career service topics.

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Counseling and Job Search Strategies

Each student brings very different skills and interests to law school and the job search process, making employment decisions and issues a very personal matter. Students need to explore and focus their interests and learn how to market themselves to potential employers.  OCPD staff members are available for scheduled appointments to help with résumés, cover letters, interview skills, search strategies,  mock interviews, networking skills, and a wide range of career services.

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Workshops and Programs

The OCPD sponsors many panel discussions and workshops throughout the year. Selected topics include networking skills and strategies, effective interviewing, the value of judicial clerkships and how to apply, and résumé and cover letter preparation. In addition, the OCPD invites to the school practitioners from various fields of practice, as well as types of employers, to participate in various panel discussions and other activities.

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Resource Materials

The OCPD makes available to students and alumni a wide variety of publications and resource materials on career issues. Resources found in the office cover tips on writing résumés, alternative career paths, interviewing techniques and other subjects. The office also has a number of directories listing attorneys, firms, corporate counsel and similar information. Of course, more and more of this information is becoming available on-line. A substantial amount of valuable information for job searches is available through the internet.  A list of resources available, as well as hand-outs and brochures on employment topics, can be found in the OCPD office.

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Clerical Support for Job Searches

Students conducting job searches often need the services and equipment generally available in a business office. To help meet their needs, the OCPD provides a fax machine and photocopier for student use, subject to availability, free of charge for usage directly relating to the job search process. A telephone for limited free local and long-distance outgoing calls also is available for job search related activities.

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Position Listings

Each year the OCPD lists hundreds of openings for students and graduates, including positions which are part-time and full-time, summer and school-year, paid and volunteer, with all sizes of firms, corporations and government agencies. These postings are available on-line and in the OCPD.

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On-Campus Interviews (OCI)

Each year, the Law School sponsors an on-campus recruitment program for second- and third-year law students. Most years, over 100 law firms, government agencies, and a few public interest employers and corporate legal departments, come from various cities around the country to conduct screening interviews of students for summer and/or permanent employment. Most employers participate in the on-campus interview (OCI) process during the fall semester. These employers seek to hire second year students to work for them the following summer, while others are interviewing third year students for permanent positions to commence after graduation. First year students do not participate in the Fall OCI program. Information for second- and third-year students on the OCI program is available each spring.

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Off-Campus Recruiting Programs and Job Fairs

The OCPD also facilitates student participation in a number of off-campus recruiting programs and job fairs, including employers in New York , Chicago, Washington D.C., and California, a patent law conference, job fairs aimed at minority candidates, and the national public interest conference and job fair.

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