The Career Development Office (CDO) at BYU Law, headed by Dean of Career Development and BYU Law alum Shannon Grandy Larsen (‘11), wants BYU Law alumni to know how important they are. The CDO’s purpose is to support the professional development of BYU Law students and to enable them to find jobs after graduation. BYU Law was the only law school in the nation with 100% employment over the last two years. With a staff that includes several BYU Law alums, the CDO recognizes that successful outcomes for our graduates are best achieved through connections with BYU Law’s alumni network.
Shannon came to BYU Law with a public interest mindset; she wanted to represent vulnerable populations. Initially, she planned to go to Georgetown, but BYU Law offered her a generous scholarship, which allowed her to graduate debt-free and opened the door to a career in public service. For eight years, Shannon worked at a small firm in New Jersey, representing Spanish-speaking immigrants in workers compensation, injury, and traffic cases. She remembers speaking with clients in their native language and seeing instant relief in their faces, knowing that they could now better understand a complex and difficult system. “One of the most rewarding parts of that experience,” Shannon reflected, “was helping people navigate an unfamiliar system.”
BYU Law Career Development Office
Now, as Dean of Career Development, Shannon uses a lot of those same skills to help law students navigate a system with which they are unfamiliar: the world of careers after law school. She teaches Milestones, a professional development class for all BYU Law 1Ls, and oversees the important work of the CDO’s Career Advisors.
Glen Collyer (‘86) is the Director of Career Development. He focuses on data; tracking student and recent graduate job placement. He also works directly with ABA accreditation reports, which are a large factor in BYU Law’s on-going climb the U.S. News rankings. Other Career Advisors include BYU Law alums Michelle Armistead (‘08), Danielle Dallas (‘07), and Todd Goodsell (‘07). Each BYU Law student is assigned an advisor for one-on-one mentorship, and they are the first point of contact for any career questions students have.
An important point Shannon stresses is the evolution of Career Services to Career Development and how things have changed in the department over the years. “The CDO cares about and supports students across the entire grade spectrum; every student who comes to BYU Law has all of our support,” she said. “The CDO has structural mechanisms that encourage every student to engage with us during the school year, and there are ample opportunities to utilize the office’s services and contacts throughout each student’s law school career.”
Ultimately it’s all about relationships, and there are number of important ways BYU Law Alumni can engage with the Career Development Office to help current students:
- Join the Student Networking Pool. This growing list of nearly 200 attorneys have shared their contact information with the CDO, offering to be a point of contact for students looking for career advice. To join, send an email to Glen Collyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Participate in Networking Events and Student Lunches. Let the CDO know where you will be available or on campus to be part of CDO-sponsored events that may also include mock interviews, informational Q&A sessions, and networking.
- Facilitate Contact Between Your Firm and the CDO. Help the CDO connect with the hiring team at your firm or company and open up opportunities to highlight BYU Law students and their skills for potential employers.
Most importantly, alumni can support the CDO and law students by simply being open and available to talk to students. Countless success stories have come from BYU Law alumni supporting the CDO. For example, the current Alumni Board under the leadership of Richard Salgado (‘06) just started the Corporate Counsel Match Program, placing BYU Law students as externs working in General Counsel’s Office of different companies. In its first year, the program generated six new and specific opportunities for interested students, both in and out of the State of Utah. The CDO and Alumni Board aim to continue to grow this program in future years.
Another success story started with the CDO and other Law School representatives traveling to Texas in 2021 to engage with law firms and alumni in an area where current law students have expressed significant interest in living and working after graduation. As a result representatives from 10 firms are now scheduling trips to Provo for the CDO’s annual “Texas Recruiting Event.” All of this came through alumni connections.
While expanding opportunities continue to develop from new ideas and on-going network building, more important are the individual success stories written as alums make a financial donation, mentor a 1L, support an Academy, recommend a student to their firm’s hiring partner, or simply answer questions over the phone or allow a current student to rely on their experience and connections.
Working closely with four fellow BYU Law alums, Dean Grandy Larson wants every one of BYU Law’s more than 7,000 alumni to know “there is a place for them and their service in the Career Development Office.” Whether giving time (for interviewing or connecting with students), donating money (gifts to support scholarships and programs), or making an internal call to enhance BYU Law’s reputation with their firm’s hiring committee, a difference is made by everyone who is willing to engage.
BYU Law’s Career Development Office is committed to supporting every student at the Law School, and this is best achieved through the on-going involvement and support of our alumni.