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Steven N. Hargrove quit recently as assistant dean of career services at Atlanta’s Emory University School of Law, citing frustration and dismay at the attitude of students. But other career service professionals at Atlanta area law schools say the problems Hargrove suffered are part of the profession as students press for jobs. Hargrove resigned at the end of December, he says, after a “particularly grueling fall,” during which he worked 14-hour days, seven days a week. He never developed a strong relationship with students, Hargrove says. And some students say there was a perception that Hargrove wasn’t personally accessible and that the office focused too much of its efforts on big firms. But career services professionals say it’s an inherently stressful job because students sometimes have unrealistic expectations. “The reality is that job hunting is not a fun process,” says Carolyn R. Bregman, who worked under Hargrove as outreach coordinator for the Emory Law School career services office, “When you are trying to search for a job and be an excellent law student at the same time, it’s a pretty stressful process. All career services offices experience this.” Bregman says she doesn’t think most of the 600 Emory law students are dissatisfied with the career services office. “In fact, I think we get a lot of appreciation for what we do,” she says. “I know from seeing them in the office from day to day.” Susan A. McAvoy, who also worked for Hargrove as director and public interest adviser for the Emory law career services office, says she receives positive feedback from Emory students. “They’re very appreciative because they’re so vulnerable in that part of their lives,” she says. McAvoy says, “I know that we always have that perception of being the conduit for these large law firms because that’s the most visible thing we do.” When career services office personnel meet individually with students, McAvoy says, it’s not as visible as the big-firm recruiting. While students at Emory law school say they were surprised by Hargrove’s resignation, they were also aware of criticism of his office. Gregory O. Shenton, an Emory Law 2000 graduate and commercial real estate associate at Morris, Manning & Martin, says, “Dean Hargrove put forth a really good effort.” But he also notes that “students were indeed vocal about their dissatisfaction. One glaring statistic is when you look at the top 25 law schools, the employment rate coming straight out of Emory is somewhat lower than its peer schools.” U.S. News and World Report‘s 2001 rankings of the top law schools places Emory Law at No. 26. The survey says that 61 percent of the 1998 graduating class were employed at graduation. But 93 percent were employed nine months after graduation. But at top-25 law schools, employment rates for the class of 1998 ranged from 72 percent to 99 percent at graduation, the survey shows, and nine months later, the figures reached 94 percent to 100 percent. Shenton suggests that criticism of Hargrove stemmed from the perception that he wasn’t accessible. “Dean Hargrove had very good intentions and good ideas, but he wasn’t exactly a very approachable person initially to a lot of students.” ALTERNATIVE CAREERS Shenton also says some students felt that Hargrove neglected to focus on alternative legal careers for students. He put too much emphasis on large law firms that recruit at Emory Law, says Shenton. “He concentrated his efforts on individuals who probably didn’t need the assistance,” Shenton says. “Too much of his emphasis was put on big firms and big-salary jobs, and I think that’s where the source of criticism came from.” Stephen B. Kaplan, who graduated from Emory Law in 1999 and works with the administration as chairman of the Young Law Alumni Council, is general counsel for D & D Aviation Services in Marietta, Ga. Kaplan says he personally had a good relationship with Hargrove but is aware of criticism the dean received. “Students were not always so moderate in the way they dealt with him,” says Kaplan. “They were aggressive in their criticism and didn’t always take into account the positive things that have happened in career services.” Hargrove reiterates that he never felt a “connection” with Emory law students. He worked at Marquette University Law School and Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, before his tenure at Emory. There, he says the students were friendly with him and frequently would drop by his office to report on their job searches. “I never felt like I established that connection” at Emory, says Hargrove. STRESS NOT UNCOMMON? Beth S. Kirsch, director of legal career services at the University of Georgia School of Law, says feelings of stress are not uncommon within the career services profession. “I see it as more of a challenge,” Kirsch says. Kirsch says she feels appreciated by the law students but adds the profession is marked by a student attitude that career service personnel within law schools can never do enough to help. “You have X number of students with different career dreams,” she says. “You’re seen as falling short if you’re not helping them with their specific dreams.” The big law firms that pay the highest salaries have a more prominent on-campus profile and are the most organized in their recruiting efforts, says Kirsch. They are more accessible and visible, Kirsch says, which contributes to students’ attitudes that career services offices only help students target large law firm careers. Rachael B. Schell, director of career services for the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., says she knows Hargrove well and was surprised by his resignation. Schell says she agrees with Hargrove that “fall is the most grueling period.” Between 45 and 50 employers interview on campus at Mercer Law during the fall, says Schell. Her staff of three works harder for the 450 Mercer law students in the fall and the months leading up to the busy recruiting season, she says, than any other time of the year. Schell recognizes the dissatisfaction, she says, though she feels students appreciate her office’s efforts. “The one office the students are most dissatisfied with is career services by virtue of the fact that a job search is the most stressful aspect of law school,” Schell says. “For the most part, we’re fairly appreciated. [The students] know the amount of time and energy we put into it.”

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