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Seeking Legal Employers to Host 1L Students for Three-Day Job Shadow Program | Legal by the Bay


Johanna Hartwig, USF Assistant Dean of Career Planning & Legal Community Engagement, and A. Marisa Chun, McDermott Will & Emery, whose efforts launched the Open Doors 1L Job Shadow Program in 2015.

Aimed at opening doors of opportunity for diverse law students, Open Doors strives to help 1L law students enrolled in San Francisco law schools jump-start their professional development through early, day-to-day immersion in dynamic legal organizations.  In its fifth year, Open Doors started with 17 employers participating and grew to over 40 in 2018 from the private, public, corporate, and nonprofit sectors.

Sponsored by the Bar Association of San Francisco, Golden Gate University School of Law and UC Hastings College of the Law, the Program especially seeks to include students who may have had limited prior exposure to professional settings.

When is the Program? The first three days of Spring Break, March 4th to 6th, 2019. (See below for schedule details.) 

How do students get to participate? 1Ls from participating schools will be invited to submit an application describing their interest in participation.  Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and inclusion.

What type of organizations can serve as program hosts? Host organizations include private law firms, non-profit public interest organizations, in-house legal departments, government agencies and courts. See the full list of past program hosts on our website.

How are students matched with hosts? Once selected, students will indicate preference of the categories of employers listed above. The students will then be assigned a placement based on those preferences and availability, as well as other information provided in their applications.

Will I meet our student before the program begins? Yes! Participating employers will be sent an email introducing your student as well as their resume. You will then separately be connected to the student via email so that you can provide any information needed about timing, logistics, confidentiality agreement (see below), etc. The students will review information on your website to familiarize themselves with the organization. In addition, you could also provide via email (or mail) any background material on your organization you think might be useful for the student to review (annual report, recent articles, organizational charts, etc.).

Do hosts need to provide transportation to the students? No, the students are responsible for getting to and from their hosts. However, if you have special company transportation available, feel free to let your student know about it.

What should students do at the host organizations?  The students should participate in a range of shadowing and interactive activities that give them a sense of both what it means to be a successful professional in the organization and how the organization operates. The students will not be undertaking work assignments, such as research and writing or administrative tasks. See below for detailed suggestions of what type of activities the organization could consider including in the student’s schedule.

Are students paid to participate? Do they receive academic credit? No, and no. Unlike an internship, an externship (for academic credit), or a job, the students do not perform work for the host organization during this program. Instead they will shadow, observe and interact with the attorneys and other employees of the organization.  We are happy to discuss further any related questions hosts may have.

How do we ensure that students maintain the confidentiality of information they are exposed to at our organization?  In the program orientation, the organizers will discuss the crucial nature of maintaining the confidentiality of information the students may encounter during the program. The students will also sign a general participation agreement with each school that confirms they will maintain appropriate professional conduct and that they will abide by any restrictions placed on them by their host organizations. Host organizations are encouraged to determine if they would like to have students sign a confidentiality agreement, which could be accomplished either via email before the student’s arrival or upon arrival. This decision is left to the host organization. We can provide samples shared by fellow host organizations of confidentiality agreements they use with volunteers that may provide some assistance for hosts in drafting their own, as desired. We are happy to discuss any further questions you may have about confidentiality.

Will we have a chance to meet the other student participants, host organizations, and the Leadership Committee? Yes! Representatives from your organization are cordially invited to join the student participants, the host employers and the Leadership Committee for a thank-you celebration in downtown San Francisco on March 6. Exact details to follow, but the reception will likely be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m..

Do the hosts have any obligations following Wednesday, March 6? No, however we will look forward to following up in the weeks after the program to secure feedback on what worked and what needs to be improved for next year’s Program. We will also encourage the student guests to maintain contact with their hosts.

Can I consult with someone on the potential schedule for our student’s activities? Certainly! We would be happy to discuss ideas with you.  

UC Hastings College of the Law:

Amy Kimmel, Director for Employer Relations

415-565-4837; kimmel@uchastings.edu

Golden Gate University School of Law:

Neva L. Tassan, Associate Dean of Career Services

415-369-5318; ntassan@ggu.edu


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