King Hall Career Services Office Expands Contract Hiring Program
Seeking new ways to help UC Davis School of Law graduates succeed in a challenging job market, the King Hall Career Services Office launched a contract hiring program last year that has been a hit with both law firms seeking talented new associates and King Hall alumni alike. Now, plans are in motion to expand the program and increase the opportunities available to recent graduates.
"It's really a win-win program, and I would encourage other firms to become involved," said Donald M. Davis '93, a partner at Burke, Williams & Sorensen in Los Angeles, who recently hired Lisa Kurihara '11 through the program. "I don't see a downside for firms. It's a great way to assess whether a candidate is a good fit without making the kind of commitments that come with a long-term hire."
In recent years, many law firms have downsized or eliminated their summer programs, which traditionally have provided a trial period to evaluate potential new associates, explained Craig Compton, King Hall's Assistant Dean of Career Services. In response, Career Services initiated the contract hire program, offering firms the opportunity to employ King Hall graduates on a short-term contract and giving employers the opportunity to assess whether the candidate is right for them, Compton said. Contract positions typically run from three to six months, and although firms are under no obligation, offers of ongoing employment often result.
Kurihara became involved in the program after being contacted by the Career Services office on behalf of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, which was interested in finding recent graduates with public law experience. Having worked the previous summer with the Burbank City Attorney's Office, Kurihara fit the bill, and arrangements were made for a short-term contract hire. Kurihara's work was impressive, and after she learned that she had passed the bar examination, she was hired as an associate.
"This has been a really great experience," Kurihara said. "I feel like Career Services did the heavy lifting and helped to place me in a great firm where I have a lot of opportunities for growth. I feel very fortunate to be here."
"It really worked out well for us," said Davis. "There are so many intangibles that go into hiring a lawyer. Someone might look great on paper, but they might not be the right match for your firm. You need to be able to sit down with them, find out how well they express themselves, and see their work over a period of time. With this program, we were able to do all of that, and to realize Lisa was an excellent fit for our firm. We're delighted to have her with us."
Career Services is set to expand the contract hiring program and is actively seeking to contact alumni and friends of the Law School whose firms may wish to participate. The program is open to firms of all sizes. Potential employers interested in participating may contact Craig Compton at firstname.lastname@example.org.