Recruiting Guidelines for Private-Sector Employers

Recruiting Guidelines for Private-Sector Employers

Effective March 2019

To best meet the pedagogical goals of the Law School, in response to NALP Recruitment Guideline modifications, and in consideration of student feedback, the Dean has approved the following guidelines for prospective private-sector employers.

Employment Applications, Interviews and Offers

Applications from and Interviews with First-Year Students

Our primary goal is to ensure that students have clear study periods at critical times during the first year. 

Initial Date for Applications

We ask private-sector employers not to solicit employment applications from first-year students before November 1, particularly if they are not planning to make final offer decisions before grades become available in January. 

Interview Dates

Employers should not conduct interviews of any first-year student (i) between Thanksgiving and the end of first semester examinations (December 19, 2019 this year) or (ii) between April 15 and the end of second semester examinations (May 10, 2019 this year), unless the student has been offered alternative times outside this window and has expressed a preference to interview during this period.

At all times while classes are in session, employers are asked to inquire about and make all reasonable efforts to avoid class conflicts.

Offers

Offer Consideration Period

For offers made to first-, second-, or third-year students for summer or permanent employment, we request that private-sector employers provide a period for consideration of those offers that is no less favorable than the period provided to students from any other law school. 

Extensions

We ask employers who have reasonable assurance that a student is seriously considering their offer to grant requests for extensions liberally.  Our experience from talking to thousands of students suggests that students who feel that they have been given the opportunity to reach an informed, voluntary decision among offers are far more likely to be confident in their decision when they face the demands of private practice.  We believe that confidence in the decision-making process correlates strongly with retention.  We urge employers to grant extensions to students who have remained in active contact with them.

Offers for 2L Summer Employment Made Prior to OGI:  If an employer extends an offer of 2L summer employment to a student before our On-Grounds Interviewing Program (“OGI”) (August 5 to August 9, 2019 this year), we request that the employer grant an extension allowing such student to participate in OGI if such student has remained in active contact with the employer.  The length of that extension should be guided by the paragraph on Offer Consideration Period.

Second- and Third-Year Students Pursuing Public-Sector Positions:  For offers made to second- or third-year students for summer or permanent employment, we encourage private-sector employers to grant extensions to students pursuing positions with public interest or government organizations, provided such employer is the only private-sector employer from which the student is holding an open offer.

Open Offer Limit

As a condition of employing our recruiting resources, we will ask our students to agree to hold no more than five offers open at any one time.  Students will have three business days to reduce their number of offers if they exceed five.

Employer Events

Events Before October 1 and After Thanksgiving

In keeping with our goal of having clear study periods at critical times during the first year, prospective employers are asked not to initiate, arrange, or participate in events involving first-year students before October 1 or after the start of Thanksgiving Break (November 27, 2019 this year), except upon invitation from a member of the Law School community and only if such events are (i) sponsored by one of the career offices or (ii) purely academic in nature and of general interest to the Law School community (e.g., an academic symposium, conference, or presentation on recent legal developments open to all classes).  We have informed our student organizations that other student-sponsored events involving employer representatives (events targeted to the first-year class or related to practice areas, networking, professional development, career planning, etc.) will not be allowed during this time.

Events from October 1 Through Thanksgiving

Between October 1 and the start of Thanksgiving Break, employers may work with student organizations or one of the career offices to arrange events directed to recruiting first-year students. Events focused on practice area education, networking and other professional skills, advice about career planning and strategies, and discussions of trends in the legal market are of particular value at this stage. 

In order to have adequate attendance at these events and to avoid overlapping content, we strongly encourage employers to involve the relevant career office(s) in the planning of your events.  We are encouraging the student organizations to do the same.  Please note that there are a limited number of available dates for employer events and that multi-employer events are strongly preferred.  We have provided the student organizations with detailed guidance on expectations for hosting events with private-sector employers based on your feedback.

Private-sector employers should not hold off-Grounds events for first-year students, including in conjunction with student organizations, during the first semester of law school.

Events During the Second Semester

Employer events may be held at any time prior to April 15.  As with first-semester events, we strongly encourage you to include the relevant career office(s) in your planning.

In order to help you better connect with our students, we surveyed the Class of 2020 about their experiences with spring employer events.  Almost half of the students thought there were too many off-site employer events in Spring 2018, and these were viewed as the least effective way to meet, learn about, and build relationships with employers.  Students felt that employer dinners, office hours, and student organization diversity receptions were the most effective (as compared to speaker panels and off-site receptions), and they repeatedly requested that employers host more on-site events with lower attorney-student ratios to facilitate meaningful conversations.  All of the students were open to follow-up messages from prospective employers with which they interacted during the spring, and the vast majority of students would prefer if employers sought to maintain a relationship with them (as opposed to simply sending out information about the employer).

In light of this feedback, we discourage single-firm, off-grounds 1L recruiting events during the spring.  Our office hosts some number of multi-employer educational and networking events, and we are excited to work with you on other ways to connect effectively with students.

For a summary of the above guidelines, please see the attached chart.  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us.  Thank you for your interest in our students.

Kevin Donovan
Senior Assistant Dean for Career Services
kdonovan@law.virginia.edu
(434) 982-6119

Marit Slaughter
Senior Director of Law Firm Recruiting
mslaughter@law.virginia.edu
(434) 924-1998