Nov. 14, 2007
New law school career counseling service brings counselor to alumni
A new program from the University of Iowa College of Law provides career counseling services to alumni in the comfort of their own hometowns.
Steve Langerud, the law school's associate dean for career services, meets face-to-face with law graduates across Iowa and around the country, helping those who want to re-assess their careers and need help figuring out what to do next.
Since the program began last spring, Langerud has met with about 100 alumni around Iowa, as well as such major cities as Phoenix, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City. Langerud believes it's the only program of its kind offered by any U.S. law school.
"Many law schools offer similar career services for alumni, but none that I know of are as comprehensive as ours," said Langerud, who started a similar program at Grinnell College, where he was employed before coming to the University of Iowa.
Carolyn Jones, dean of the law school, said the program was started as a way to create an important connection between the law school and its alumni.
"This is a way we can provide our alumni with a real, tangible benefit for years after they graduate," said Jones. "Many of these people are experiencing vulnerable times and it's a leap of faith for them to pick up the phone and call Steve. It's a good sign that they do because it shows they have a good feeling about us and continue to have a strong relationship with their law school."
The law school's alumni career counseling service offers the more traditional services as well, such as phone appointments, e-mail correspondence, résumé reviews and mock interviews. But with 65 percent of the school's alumni living outside of Iowa, Langerud said it's important for him to travel in order to provide the fullest counseling service possible.
"Many of my clients are what you'd expect from a program like this, recent graduates still struggling to find their way, or associate partners about to become full partner but wanting to talk it through before making the commitment," said Langerud. "Some are also on the verge of retirement and need help mapping out what to do with the next stage of their lives."
Surprisingly, though, Langerud has found many clients who are in the prime of their careers, partners in their firms with 10 or 20 years experience who are re-assessing their goals.
"Some have decided they want to continue doing legal work but in a different capacity and some just need help taking a thoughtful look to review what they're doing with their lives," said Langerud, who is trained as a counselor, not an attorney. "Others are looking for a new profession entirely."
His clients are more than just attorneys, however. He's worked with law alumni who have gone into business, government, journalism, education and nongovernmental organizations, as well, and are looking for something new.
"It's a sign of the work-life balance issues that so many people are trying to deal with in so many professions, as well as the law," said Langerud, pointing to the high turn-over rate among young attorneys working at law firms as evidence of people who no longer want to give their lives completely over to their jobs.
He said he expects to counsel 200 to 250 alumni a year when the program is fully implemented.
For more information on the alumni career counseling service, contact Steve Langerud at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-384-2846.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, email@example.com