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The route to an in-house summer job is often less obvious than the well-trod path to a big firm. Compared to the formal on-campus recruiting so popular with large firms, the search for an in-house summer position tends to be ad hoc, said Joanne Karchmer, who until recently was the executive director of career development at Boalt Hall School of Law. This year, Boalt and the Association of Corporate Counsel got together to launch a database to make it easier to navigate inroads to an in-house summer internship. About 20 companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley advertised openings in the inaugural In-House Legal Department Opportunity Guide, which was distributed to career centers at Boalt and seven other law schools in and around the Bay Area. Boalt used to rely on its alumni to pinpoint which in-house legal departments were offering summer positions, said Karchmer. To broaden the pool of choices, she initiated the idea for the new guide and linked up with the Bay Area chapter of the ACC, which put out the word to its members. For students, gathering the information that way removes some of the guesswork about which companies are recruiting or who serves as the hiring attorney at each one, Karchmer said. “You don’t necessarily want to contact the general counsel at each company,” she noted. In the past, Sonya Sigler, vice president of business development and general counsel for Cataphora Inc., a Redwood Shores company that analyzes electronic evidence, recruited interns by posting an advertisement at her alma mater, Santa Clara University School of Law. This year she extended her efforts to the new database, prompting about a dozen additional inquiries from law students at other schools, she said. The Santa Clara Valley Water District was already planning to recruit through a variety of law schools. But assistant district counsel Anthony Fulcher tried the new database as well, and credits it with attracting about one-sixth of the roughly three dozen applicants for the new internship with his four-person legal department. Though he, like Sigler, ended up hiring applicants who’d applied through the old methods, both said they plan to use the database again next year. “That’s just an added resource to put the job announcement out there,” Fulcher said. “I think we got some really quality candidates.”

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