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School Bolsters Career Counseling Services

By Kimberly Reich and Eric Williamson

auren Ventre '12 and Marit Spekman '09

Lauren Ventre '12 and Marit Spekman '09

UVA Law welcomed new career counselors to strengthen advising services for students and alumni. Lauren Ventre ’12 and Marit Spekman ’09 are the new directors of career services, and Lawton Tufts is the director of public service and alumni advising.

Ventre began with Career Services last year as associate director, having previously managed the On-Grounds Interviewing program for the University's undergraduate Career Services — a role that involved coordinating the logistics of more than 6,500 interviews annually for more than 3,000 students and recruiters. She also worked with a team that was responsible for maintaining and developing relationships with employers interested in recruiting University students.

Spekman comes from the New York office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where she was an associate for six years and served as a member of the firm’s Professional Personnel/Legal Recruiting and Professional Development committees.

Both earned law and bachelor's degrees from UVA.

Lawton Tufts

Lawton Tufts

Spekman and Ventre advise students and alumni on private-sector positions, helping them evaluate practice areas, firms, and legal markets and develop strategies to compete effectively for the positions they target. They assist students as they create resumes and cover letters and work with them to prepare effectively for interviews. They also are working on a range of office initiatives, including developing online resources and programming for students and assisting with employer relations.

As a member of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center team, Tufts will counsel both current students interested in pursuing careers in public service and alumni who are considering transitioning to positions within the public sector.

Prior to joining UVA Law, Tufts practiced law in Lexington, Va., where he litigated criminal and family law cases at a small firm and served as a guardian ad litem for children. More recently, he worked as an assistant public defender for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender’s Office, a role in which he represented hundreds of indigent defendants in misdemeanor and felony trials, while also assisting in hiring and supervising interns for the office.

In his new position, Tufts will counsel current students to best position themselves for their long-term career goals, including helping them navigate the public service sector, customize their resume, participate in mock interviews, or connect with recent alumni.

Tufts says he plans to expand the Public Service Center’s mentorship program, which links students with alumni working in public interest roles who have similar interests. "I'm excited to get to know our students and alumni and be able to forge lasting connections between the students, alumni, and the Law School,” Tufts said.