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For the first time in its brief history, Drexel Law School saw its 2Ls go through the on-campus recruiting season for summer associate positions. While the legal community responded with sometimes mixed enthusiasm for the unaccredited school, Drexel said its numbers are right on the mark nationally in terms of the number of placements. Amy Montemarano, assistant dean of career and professional development at the school, started working in March on soliciting firms for the recruiting season, which typically goes from August to December. She said about one-third of the nearly 30 firms that came to campus were respondents to a letter sent by Montemarano, another third were unsolicited and the remainder came from requests by faculty. Of the school’s 165 2L students, 14 accepted positions through the on-campus recruiting and at least another 11 found positions on their own, Montemarano said. Those numbers are as of Friday morning. The school follows the general on-campus recruiting process outlined by the National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP), which states that all offers either need to be accepted or rejected by Dec. 1. Montemarano said NALP statistics show that 10 to 25 percent of any given class at any given school is placed in summer positions through on-campus interviews. “We’re really close to that NALP statistic,” Montemarano said. “I think that’s not too shabby right out of the gate.” The school will work to place more students with smaller to midsized firms once the on-campus recruiting season ends Dec. 1. With their successes, however, comes some challenges, she said. “We’re the sixth law school in Philadelphia and our students haven’t been out in the workplace yet to prove themselves,” Montemarano said. Several of the law firms had a wait-and-see attitude and said they were ready to embrace the school, but not until next year, she said. For the students, it might be just as well that those firms stay home. Lindsey Hoban interviewed with 10 firms and one organization and accepted an offer from Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll for next summer. In talking with her classmates, she said there was definitely a sense that some firms wanted to get an early start on Drexel students while others were just testing the waters. The students are by nature an entrepreneurial bunch given that they chose an unaccredited law school, and Hoban said the firms who were really interested in Drexel shared that spirit. She said it worked out to be a great fit. Conrad O’Brien Gellman & Rohn, a small litigation boutique in Philadelphia, certainly embraced the Drexel model. Two of the firm’s three summer associates for 2008 are from the law school. Patricia M. Hamill, a partner at the firm in charge of recruiting, said Conrad O’Brien is interested in all of the local law schools. After recruiting on campus at the invitation of Drexel’s General Counsel Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III, Hamill said she was impressed with the caliber and drive of the students. In echoing Hoban’s comments, she said their entrepreneurial spirit matched the firm. The firm was also struck by the “palpable” quality of teamwork among the students in lifting up the reputation of Drexel. The students also worked as a team in getting through the interview process. Hoban said she and her classmates didn’t have 3Ls to turn to, so they talked with each other about what to expect from various interviewers and gave tips on certain questions to look for. When Joshua Voss, first in his class at Drexel, was interviewing, he knew just the type of firm he wanted and the type of law he wanted to practice. Voss had worked at CVS for four years before entering law school and was really looking for the right cultural fit where he could practice litigation. While he interviewed with firms like Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Voss ended up selecting the smaller environment at Conrad O’Brien. After 15 on-campus interviews, Voss received offers from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and Conrad O’Brien and said he pulled his name out of the running after that. “There was a distinct feeling that some of the firms were putting their toes in the water,” Voss said. Drexel’s law students aren’t completely foreign to the regional law firm community. The school’s co-op program has placed many of the students in unpaid internships with several local firms, corporations and public interest groups. Montemarano said it is easier to get firms to sign on as co-op sponsors because they are not making a hiring decision and the positions are unpaid. Hoban, for example, is currently serving in a co-op position for U.S. District Court Judge Bruce W. Kauffman of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It wasn’t her co-op, however, that helped her in attaining a summer associate position. Prior to the start of recruiting season, Drexel set up mock interviews for its students with several potential employers. Hoban had a mock interview with someone form Ballard Spahr who helped explain what she answered well and on what she could improve. Firms Recruiting, Offering Montemarano’s focus for the first year out was on regional firms from the Philadelphia area along with some New Jersey and Delaware firms. She said she would like to expand that for next year. Most of the students are from the area and looking to stay. She said there is a contingent of the class that was looking elsewhere, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Colorado. More than 70 2Ls at Drexel participated in over 400 on-campus interviews and more than 90 callback interviews, she said. A total of 24 offers were made from the on-campus interview process to the 14 students who accepted. Other than Conrad O’Brien and Ballard Spahr, Archer & Greiner, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Dilworth Paxson, the Federal Public Defender for the District of New Jersey, Lavin O’Neil Ricci Cedrone & DiSipio, Schnader Harrison and Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen will have Drexel students as summer associates in 2008. Outside of the on-campus recruiting process, students received summer associate positions at Duane Morris, Pepper Hamilton and music agency RGK Entertainment Group in Nashville, among others.

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