February 17, 2012
On February 16, 2012, eight distinguished alumni came back to
campus to present a panel program for first-year law students
titled How to Get Hired: Perspectives from Alumni
Employers. Conceived of by the alumni participants ―Andrea
Alonso '81, Meghan Cannella '07, Nicholas Cannella '75, Kathryn
Cole '02, Richard F. Hans '93, Patrick MacMurray ’95, Rachel Paras
'04 and Sarah Zimmer '10―and hosted by the Career Development
Office, the program offered invaluable guidance on what employers
are looking for in hiring associates, summer associates, interns
and law clerks.
After introductions by
Dean Larry Cunningham, Patrick MacMurray shared that his
background in transactional law compelled him to pinpoint errors in
resumes and e-mails he gets from prospective employees. Echoing
this point, Nicholas and Meghan Cannella explained how job
applicants could avoid having a resume end up in the “typo pile” or
“boring pile” in their offices. They shared examples of well
written cover letters and showed how to communicate one's
background effectively but concisely.
Though they offered humorous anecdotes from past interview mishaps,
both Andrea Alonso and Kathryn Cole focused on a range of interview
steps and missteps ― from physical appearance and voicemail
etiquette to social media profiles and body language ― that send
powerful messages about a person’s competence and confidence.
Summing up her remarks, Cole advised, “Look like a lawyer, not like
a law student.” Richard Hans added that it is also important to
return phone calls promptly and, if a student is fortunate to
receive multiple jobs offers, to decline offers gracefully in order
to preserve business relationships for future opportunities.
All the alumni panelists reiterated how much they want to hire St.
John’s students, pointing out that they know from personal
experiences what a great legal education the Law School provides.
Still, they said, students have to demonstrate courtesy,
professionalism and knowledge during interviews to, as Dean
Cunningham put it, “maximize the potential” of making that hire
"This program gave students a unique insight into the hiring
process. One of the greatest strengths of St. John's School of Law
is the dedication and willingness of alumni to help and mentor
current students. We are grateful to the alumni participants for
taking time out of their busy schedules to share advice with
students," Dean Cunningham said.