Jonathan J. Rusch, Chair of the American Bar Associations section on administrative law, spoke to students on Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus on Monday, January 24 about how to improve their chances of finding work by looking in the area of administrative law.
Over 50 students attended the event, which was held in L202 and sponsored by the Law and Government Institute
Rusch started by informing the assembled students that there is a continuing volatility in the legal profession as a response to the economy. He referenced a study by the National Law Journal from November 2010 that indicated that the nation’s top 250 law firms decreased in size by 1,400 lawyers. According to the American Lawyer Survey from September 2010, midlevel associates biggest complaints were reduced benefits and salaries, heavier workloads, and new promotion models that only advanced associates based on performance reviews and mastery of certain skill sets.
Advising students to look in for work regulatory law because of the endless possibilities, Rusch singled out several areas of regulatory practice, including agriculture, antitrust and trade regulations, communications, government personnel, intellectual property, housing and urban development, homeland security, and veterans affairs. He also mentioned that there are several types of regulatory practice such as private, corporate, public interest organizations, and government agencies on the local, state, regional, federal and multinational level.
Rusch encouraged students to create a strategy for getting into the regulatory and administrative law field, and he called career management critical. Noting that branding and business intelligence are crucial to successful career management because they increase an employee’s marginal value to employers, he also suggested that the students in the audience identify profitable areas of practice they might be interested in pursuing.
Rusch suggested students set up Google alerts, follow legal blogs, or subscribe to business or law publications that are relevant to the areas of practice they are interested in. He also noted that they could start that process at the ABA website, where they have recently started their own blogs.
Explaining that by branding and using business intelligence a student lays a foundation for the potentials of their career, he offered a quote from Dr Judith Sills, saying, “For a successful long term career, do not look to your company or industry to help you. As in every other area of life, you must take care of yourself.”
Rusch concluded by advising the students to start networking during law school with employers, supervisors, and general bar associations.