Job opportunities are posted on Symplicity, the career management program, year round for private firms, government, and non-profit organizations for all class years and post-graduation employment.
In addition, there are two formal interviewing periods in the fall and spring:
- Fall Interviewing Activities for 2Ls and 3Ls (August-September): This is a nationwide hiring period for large firms, some state and federal government agencies and JAG Corps. The employers interview students on campus or in Portland at the Willamette satellite campus. Other employers collect resumes and interview at their office or remotely via the internet or telephone during this time period. The 2L jobs are for the following summer; the 3L jobs are for after graduation and the bar.
- Spring Interviewing Activities for 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls (January-February): Northwest non-profits, prosecutors, and some state and federal government agencies interview at the Northwest Public Service Career Fair in Portland or Seattle the first weekend in February. The Oregon Department of Justice hires 1Ls and 2Ls during this time period also. Some medium and smaller firms also interview 1Ls and 2Ls on campus or in Portland at the Willamette satellite campus. The 1L and 2L jobs are for summer or year round employment; the 3L jobs are for after graduation and the bar.
Factors Affecting Employment
- Grades: some legal employers, particularly large firms, make interviewing decisions based on grades and extra-curricular activities. These may only choose to interview students in the top 33% of the class or higher. Other employers make their decisions based upon past work or volunteer experience.
- Writing Experience: All employers value good research and writing skills. Employers look for evidence of good writing skills through legal writing grades and past experience or participation in law review or other journals. Excellent writing skills can open doors that your grades may not. Most employers will ask for a writing sample, so take your Legal Research and Writing class seriously.
- Classes: First years do not have much choice in their curriculum choices. However for second and third years, besides taking bar classes, you can select classes based on your career goals including practical skills courses such as externships or clinic. Think about which classes can give you experience for your career goal.
- Practical Experience: It is important to gain practical experience while in law school. While substantive classes will give you knowledge for you field of interest, practical experience will give you an edge over another candidate with certain employers.