Each January Fordham Law’s Career Planning Center hosts employer receptions for the newest 1L class to welcome employers who participate in the School’s Fall On-Campus Interview Program. Over the years, these receptions have been a wonderful, informal way to introduce employers to the newest 1L class so they can start to develop relationships leading into the summer recruiting season.
This year’s event—the largest ever—drew 56 of the more than 150 employers who participate in the Law School’s Fall OCI Program. Representing their public and private sector employers were droves of Fordham Law alumni—recruiting professionals, assistant district attorneys, public defenders, government counsel, in-house attorneys, and law firm partners and associates—who made the special effort to come to campus to meet the 1Ls.
The interactive table-talk event occurred over two days, January 21 and 26, and saw more than 300 Fordham Law 1L students engaging and networking with alumni. The 1L students had the opportunity to learn informally about the firms and gain a better understanding about what lawyers and legal professionals do in their day-to-day work. The event marked just the start of the conversations that will now continue over the course of the semester.
“This is a great event because it’s a relaxed introduction to what is otherwise a highly stressful process,” said Fordham Law 1L David Kobray. “Large firms can feel enigmatic, so it’s good to put a face to a name, particularly if it’s the face of a recent Fordham Law alumnus. It’s nice to interact with people who have been in my position, who were in my shoes just two or three years ago.”
Melissa Brumer ’15 remembers being in that position. At the reception, Brumer was behind the table representing Cahill, where she is an associate, but it was not too long when she was on the other side.
“When I was a 1L I remember visiting the Cahill table and meeting associates, who were also Fordham Law alumni,” she said. “The event was a good opportunity to learn about all the different firms, and I’m happy now to be back and meeting with current 1Ls in a friendly, pre-interview environment.”
The casual atmosphere of the event facilitates comfortable conversation between students and potential future employers.
“I just walked right up, said hello, asked some initial questions, and listened to them talk about the culture of the firm,” said 1L Amira Yeiser of how easy it was to meet with an employer she is interested in.
Jin Yong Choi ’12, manager at PwC, explained why the professional services firm looks to Fordham.
“PwC comes to Fordham because we recognize that the regulatory environment is dynamic and challenging, and our firm needs highly qualified and intelligent people with the skills to navigate that,” he said. “As an alumnus, I know the quality of the School’s education, and that’s why we look to student bodies at institutions like Fordham Law.”
Paul Giangola, global director of recruiting at Dechert, knows the Law School well, as his firm has hired many Fordham Law students over the years.
“We see tremendous value in meeting the Fordham students as 1Ls. We’ve had a lot of success with Fordham in the past and have found the students who have worked with us to be enthusiastic, energetic, and down-to-earth,” he said. “The 1L reception provides a wonderful opportunity to meet the students and establish relationships. And our Fordham alumni really enjoy reconnecting with the School.”
Alissa K. Golden, director of legal recruiting at Schulte Roth & Zabel, understands why meeting Fordham Law students at this early stage is helpful for her firm.
“Fordham Law School is very important for us,” she said. “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with the School, and we know that Fordham Law students are hardworking, savvy professionals who come from a wonderful law school. They fit very well with the culture at Schulte.”
Building relationships is a key component of the event, and it is also a characteristic of the Law School that Suzanne M. Endrizzi ’96, assistant dean of career planning, is happy to promote.
“Fordham is pleased to have such deep and strong relationships with employers in the New York legal community,” Endrizzi said. “The loyalty of our alumni is most evident at recruiting events such as these. It is that Fordham network that makes it such a special community.”
Dean Matthew Diller reinforced the network aspect of the employer reception.
“This type of employer event—where alumni are meeting and helping out the next generation of Fordham lawyers—encapsulates what we at Fordham Law call The Network Effect,” he said. “Our graduates are enthusiastic in their support of our current students, and our students, in turn, are eager to get connected to the Law School community and the real world of lawyering. This connection is powerful, and it is what sets Fordham Law apart.”