Christy Caves discusses her upcoming transition from Associate Director of Professional Development to Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning.
The past two and a half years as the Associate Director of Professional Development here at TU Law have been absolutely amazing. I truly love working with our wonderful students to help them develop professionally and obtain employment both during law school and after graduation. Watching the students grow and accomplish new feats during their three years here is quite rewarding and I am happy to be a part of the process.
From this position, I have learned first-hand how vitally important obtaining practical experience is to gaining meaningful placement. Although TU Law has consistently held an employment rate above the national average, we must continue to make new strides to ensure our students are as market ready as possible, especially as the current legal market remains tight. Employers are pleading with law schools across the country to provide more “real-world” experience during law school. Dean Levit and TU Law are answering that call by enhancing the experiential learning program available to our law students. Beginning January 1, 2013, I will serve the students as the new Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning where my primary task will be to grow the externship opportunities in a way that honors our students, ABA standards and community needs. I will also keep my role as the Public Service Coordinator.
Through externships, students gain academic credit while working in an actual legal setting which allows them to supplement their classroom learning with practical experience. In order to specifically benefit each individual student based upon their future career interests and geographic preferences, externships are offered across the country in varying capacities such as with non-profit organizations, law firms, corporations and the judiciary. Furthermore, the course component will be enhanced as the classes will be broken down into more specific sections, allowing students to gain more substantive and procedural knowledge in the type of legal setting in which they are placed.
Externships are so vital to the law school experience because they offer law students the opportunity to gain hands-on learning so they can hit the ground running at graduation, while doing so ethically and competently. Additionally, this program allows our law school to help serve the legal needs of our community. As the externship program grows, every law student extern will still be provided with the individual attention and assistance they deserve to ensure their experience is fruitful and one of a kind. I am so excited about my new role and look forward to this innovative challenge. The best part is that I still get to work one-on-one with our incredible students and help them prepare for successful and thriving legal careers!