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Posted Jan. 21, 2010

Duke Joins Law School as Career Counselor

Holly Duke

Holly Duke has joined the Law School’s Career Services Office as the director of career counseling.

In her new position, Duke will help students define their career goals and assist them in identifying the best way to make those goals a reality. Duke, formerly the senior assistant director at Duke University’s Career Center, is a Licensed Professional Counselor.

“In the beginning, I will be spending a lot of time meeting with students to understand their career goals and to help them put together action plans to pursue those goals in this difficult market,” she said.  “I am also connecting with alumni, both to survey the legal market and to learn more about particular legal specialties. Finally, I look forward to serving as a resource for students who wish to go in a nontraditional direction with their degree.”

“The addition of Holly Duke is an important step forward for the Office of Career Services,” said Kevin Donovan, senior assistant dean for career services. “With her professional training and decade of work with students, Holly brings a new perspective to our office. In addition to providing expertise in applying for business and government positions in which many of our students are interested, Holly also will offer a new level of sophistication in helping the students to assess their particular strengths and to understand how these unique attributes make them good candidates for particular practices.”

Duke said building relationships with students will be an important facet of her new position.

“That’s the most critical part of what I want to do,” Duke said. “I want to get to know them, to understand where they are coming from, and to build productive relationships. In this market, we all need to be working together as a team to achieve success.”

It’s more important than ever for students entering the work force to be able to recognize their career interests, she said.

“There is no doubt that this economic climate favors students who can effectively articulate the values that they can bring to firms, businesses and government employers,” Duke said. “My job is to help them identify those strengths and then work with them to effectively communicate them to prospective employers both verbally and in writing.”

It’s also important for professional school graduates to be creative in their approach to the job search process.

“They are going to have to be more eclectic in their searches,” Duke said. “On-Grounds Interviews will be part of the puzzle, but they’ll have to be more enterprising with their searches.”

“We are very excited about the creative approach that Holly will bring to our office,” Donovan said. “Even during her first week — indeed, even during the interview process — we have learned a great deal from working with Holly.”

Duke earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee and a master’s in counseling from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.

Prior to her work in career counseling, she served in AmeriCorps, working on an urban, inner-city farm and providing environmental education to elementary school children.

She later managed a Welfare to Work program in Brevard, N.C., before returning to graduate school to get her counseling degree. As a career counselor at Duke and the University of North Carolina, Duke worked with a broad range of students, but specialized in advising undergraduate and graduate students interested in business, technology, nonprofit and government careers.

“I really like the idea of settling down a bit and focusing on one school with a smaller professional focus, understanding of course that law school students have a wide variety of options. But I like the idea of working within one school,” Duke said.