University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Law Works: Volume 4 Issue 10 - October 23, 2008



The Scholars in Local Government Program is a highly competitive career development initiative designed to attract recent graduates of master's degree programs in public policy, public administration, social work, business, law, and related fields to work at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.   Scholars join the Department for one-year appointments, during which they complete high profile projects and analyze difficult problems; specific projects are tailored to the Scholars' individual skill sets and interests.    

In addition to on-the-job training, Scholars are given unique opportunities to meet with high-level government officials, foundation executives, and nonprofit and private sector leaders, as well as participate in educational and professional development opportunities.   If Scholars complete their commitment, receive a favorable evaluation and want to continue working for the County, every effort will be made to continue their employment.

Recent graduates in public policy, public administration, social work, business, law, or related master's degree programs graduating within 18 months of the application deadline are eligible for this fellowship program.  Candidates will be selected on the basis of their academic and professional experience, demonstrated leadership potential, commitment to public service, communication skills, and creativity.

TO APPLY:  To be considered for the Scholars program, applicants must provide:

A fully completed application form

A professional résumé

A copy of each application essay, as outlined in the Scholars application form

Two letters of recommendation from professors or employers

An official transcript from every post-secondary educational institution attended

Application materials must be postmarked no later than December 5, 2008. Completed application materials may be e-mailed to or mailed to the address below.

A committee of reviewers from the Department of Human Services and partner organizations will evaluate all applications and invite superior applicants to interview in Pittsburgh in January 2009. Candidates are required to pay their own way to the interview. At this session, applicants will be evaluated based on an individual interview and analytic exercise. Candidates will be informed of their status by late February 2009. Scholars begin work in July 2009.      Scholars will be employed by Great Lakes Behavioral Research Institute.

Additional Information:   The application form, FAQs, and the program brochure can be accessed at

Any additional questions can be directed to:
Ms. Dana Kunzman                               Attn: Scholars in Local Government application
Allegheny County Department of Human Services

One Smithfield Street, 4th Floor Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Phone (412) 350-4015                                               Email:

*The Department of Human Services will be at the William Pitt Union from 10-3 on October 29th.


Permanent positions can be the direct result of contacts and summer jobs. The CSO posts positions for summer and post graduate work.   Additionally, there are many resources available to help you identify other opportunities.   Summer employment, in particular, can help you gain practical experience. Although not all positions develop into offers of permanent employment, these jobs will help clarify career goals and professional objectives. Work experience will also make you a more attractive candidate for post graduate employment.   Students should start contacting and interviewing with employers during the fall semester.   However, please realize that the job search process may continue throughout the academic year.

Check your email daily and Symplicity quite frequently.

August - October:

  • Prepare draft of resume and cover letter for review by CSO
  • Research federal honors and internship programs (2Ls and 3Ls)


  • Per NALP, 1Ls may initiate contact with the CSO on November 1: 1Ls should attend the mandatory group session and the individual 1L appointment
  • Draft/update a resume and general cover letter
  • Meet with the CSO staff to review your resume and cover letter; to formulate ideas for your overall career plan and summer employment plans in particular
  • Work on 1L writing assignments, which are important because they help you cultivate an important legal skill and because they will become the writing sample submitted to employers
  • Arrange job interviews during upcoming Thanksgiving and Winter breaks for summer employment
  • Use personal contacts and Pitt Law alumni to increase your professional network


  • If you are interested, apply for employment with larger law firms (1Ls) and for jobs through the Northeast Consortium Spring Job Fair (all students)
  • Check deadlines for government internship programs (all students)
  • Study for final exams!
  • Continue to arrange informational interviews and/or job interviews during Winter Break
  • Continue developing your job search plan


  • Request law school transcript (at Thackeray Hall) and make additional copies
  • Review sources for public interest, government and judicial internships
  • Enroll for summer study abroad, if desired (CILE has information about study-abroad programs)
  • Compile list of small and mid-sized firms according to geographic and practice area criteria
  • Plan follow-up strategy for all resumes/applications sent

February - March:

  • Work with Danielle Schoch in the CSO to request reciprocity with other law schools in states where you would like to work next summer/after graduation
  • Evaluate/revise your job search plan and follow up as necessary
  • Review the interview section of the CSO handbook
  • Follow state budget process to identify government agencies likely to hire
  • Participate in Mock Interviews and Attorney Expo
  • Begin applying to small and mid-sized firms

April - May:

  • Complete summer employment or graduate employment survey
  • Plan strategy for post-bar-exam job search. Identify resources (alumni, bar newsletters, publications) to be utilized in your search
  • Confirm start dates and stay in touch with employers
  • Make necessary summer housing arrangements


Many of you face not only the challenge of finding a new job, but also the additional hurdle of finding that job outside of Pittsburgh. While it's hard enough to cover all the bases in your own back yard, looking for a job long-distance adds a new set of challenges.

Here some tips and resources to help you find a job and make sure you are relocating to an area that meets your own unique needs:

Developing your target cities.
It is always a good idea to research your target city (or 2). While this process may seem overwhelming, there are a variety of resources to help you get started. Sperling's Best Places ( has profiles on thousands of cities. CNN and Money magazine publish a list of the "Best Places to Live" every year. Their site includes a searchable database of cities to help identify the best place to live. City Rating ( offers information such as cost of living, population statistics, career and occupational outlook, weather and other general relocation information. And don't forget about peers as resources, many of whom are from or worked in other cities.  

Researching the job market.
Once you have narrowed your city list, you need to understand the job outlook in each market. Get an insider's perspective by familiarizing yourself with the local media and other resources. Both Lexis and Westlaw have legal journals in many markets and each journal will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the local legal community. It's also a good idea to subscribe to the local paper, if even just the Sunday edition. You can also check with the local Chamber of Commerce for top local companies and industries and for information about the economic health of the city or to obtain local industry-specific information.

Pinpointing your opportunities.
Next, develop a list of organizations within the area. Read the local papers to find out the movers and shakers in the law. (Again, Lexis and Westlaw will email you pertinent articles for specific practice areas and geographical areas).   Then you can research each organization to find the appropriate contact.  Once you have a list of targets, you can begin mailing materials to organizations and responding to ads for positions for which you are qualified.

Take the "remote" out of your remote job search.
Plan to spend some time in your target city. Winter and Spring Breaks are great times to visit the city and set up some appointments. Follow up with your contacts before your visit to let them know you will be in the area and would like to meet with them, even for just 15 minutes. The organization may not have a position open, but let them know that you are considering relocating to the area and would appreciate a meeting regardless.  Another tactic is to contact all of your acquaintances to see if anyone has a contact in the new area. You never know how a "friend of a friend of a friend" might be able to help you.

Leave no stone unturned.
There are many other resources you can use in a long-distance job search. Most universities have nationwide alumni associations that publish lists of local alumni. Many people are more than willing to help a fellow student from their alma mater. If there are colleges or universities in your target city, you may be able to access their career centers because of reciprocity. (See Danielle Schoch for more information about reciprocity).   Utilize the ABA and state/county bar associations for an insider's look at who is hiring.

The bottom line is that while looking for a job long-distance may take a bit more legwork on your part, hard work, research and persistence usually pay off!


What is Trusts and Estates Law?

No matter how big or small your assets are, when the time comes for you to leave this world, you can't take your assets with you.   The estate lawyer's role is to help a client arrange her or his financial affairs so that, upon the client's death, assets are distributed exactly as s/he wishes and the tax consequences of distributing that property are minimized.

The law of estates and trusts governs the use of certain types of instruments to provide for an orderly distribution of the assets and payment of any debts or liabilities of the estate, which can be very challenging, as each client has a unique set of assets and unique family, business and financial concerns.   The estate lawyer often becomes a true family counselor, helping the client work through both financial and personal issues.

Where do trusts and estates lawyers work and what do they do?

Many lawyers specializing in this area work in law firms, whether in small firms that specialize in estate planning or in estate planning departments of mid-size and large law firms.   Some lawyers specializing in trusts work in the trust departments of financial institutions.   Most of their time is spent drafting and reviewing legal documents.   Since this is a very people-oriented area of law practice, lawyers in this field spend a great deal of time talking with clients or people who advise their clients, such as stockbrokers, business advisers and insurance agents.   Trusts and estates lawyers have the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives, to resolve personal and family conflicts and improve family relationships, and handle a wide variety of tasks.

What skills are most important to trusts and estates lawyers?

  • Good interpersonal communication skills and a desire to work with people.
  • Counseling skills-in order to provide clients with the best advice, you need to get them to open up and communicate with you.   Consider working in a law school clinic, where you're actually advising clients; volunteer to be an alumni adviser or peer counselor; talk with a therapist or career counselor to learn about what makes clients feel comfortable.
  • Technical proficiency and a firm grasp of the complex provisions covering wills, trusts and estate planning documents, as well as a mastery of tax law.   Take estates and trusts classes, including tax law classes, and consider taking basic courses in real estate law, corporate law and negotiations.   Undergraduate business classes such as finance, investments, assets and securities, as well as counseling and psychology, can help develop the skills needed for this communication-oriented field of law.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills and business skills. Gain practical experience in the estates and trusts field by working as a law clerk or summer associate.
  • Excellent organizational skills.


Information sessions scheduled to date include:

October 28                   US Dept. of Education                                                            

4:30-5:30 pm           William Pitt Union, Rm TBD                          

The U S. Department of Education (ED) establishes policy for, administers, and coordinates most federal assistance to education. It assists the president in executing his education policies for the nation and in implementing laws enacted by Congress. The mission of ED is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.  

October 29         DEA                                                                                                      

Time and Room TBA

In order to become a DEA Special Agent, you must pass all phases of the rigorous hiring process, including a written and oral assessment, urinalysis drug screening, medical examination, Physical Task Test, polygraph examination, psychological assessment, comprehensive background investigation and final hiring decision.

The Most Competitive Special Agent candidates:

  • Are 21 years old, and no older than 36 years at the time of appointment AND
  • Have a bachelor's degree, with a GPA of 2.95 or higher
  • o Special consideration will be given to candidates with degrees in Criminal Justice/Police Science or related disciplines; Finance, Accounting or Economics; Computer Science/Information Systems; Telecommunications/Electrical/Mechanical Engineering; Political Science, Psychology; Sociology; Chemistry; and a Foreign Language OR
  • Experience conducting independent narcotics investigations; conducting surveillance and undercover activities, and apprehending persons suspected of violations; and organizing evidence for presentation to prosecution officials and testifying in court OR
  • 3+ years of experience and Special Skills such as Pilot/Maritime, Accounting/Auditing, Military, Technical/Mechanical (includes Information Systems, Telecommunications, Engineering), or Foreign Language fluency and a Bachelors degree or higher with coursework related to the above Special Skill(s). OR
  • LL.B. or J.D. degree with prosecutorial experience.


  • Are U.S. citizens
  • Have a valid U.S. driver's license
  • Are willing to relocate anywhere in the U.S.
  • Are able to obtain and retain a Top Secret security clearance

October 30                   US Dept. of Homeland Security                                

12:30-1:30 pm       Room & Bldg TBD

Would you like to be a part of an exceptional team of bright professionals who are dedicated to protecting our nation? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to hire a handful of students from the nation's best graduate programs. Those selected to join the Department will have a unique opportunity to put their academic achievements, intellect, and professional experience to use during a critical time in American history. Honors fellows will provide direct assistance to top policymakers throughout the Department and will work side-by-side with professionals with expertise in areas such as:

* Policy Development * Strategic Planning * Private Sector Outreach * International Affairs * Science and Technology * Immigration Policy * International Law Enforcement * Cargo Security * Emergency Preparedness* Public Affairs * Civil Rights and Civil Liberties * Intelligence and Analysis

DHS seeks applicants who have keen analytical skills, a demonstrated ability to write well, and the judgment and discretion needed to operate in a vibrant, highly visible, and challenging environment. Those exceptional candidates selected as honors fellows will serve for two years. Upon completion of the fellowship, fellows will have the opportunity to accept to a permanent position at DHS.


Atlanta is the 9th largest metro area in the U.S. with more than 4 million residents in its 20-county metropolitan area.   An average of 1,100 more people move there every day.     From 1992 to 2001, Atlanta led the nation in job creation with 684,300 new jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.   Global Insights has predicted Atlanta will have the 3rd highest job generation rate in the U.S. during the decade from 2003 to 2013 after D.C. and NYC.  

About 120,000 companies have operations there, and Fortune Magazine ranks Atlanta 3rd in its list of "Top Cities with the most FORTUNE 500 Headquarters" behind only NY and Houston. The Home Depot Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., CNN, UPS Inc., Holiday Inns Hotels and Resorts and Delta Air Lines Inc. all have world headquarters there. But the city doesn't just appeal to large companies, ranking 3rd in Entrepreneur magazine's list of the "Best Cities for Small Business."

The Atlanta Bar Association ( has more than 6,300 members.   Search the Pitt Law CSO Attorney Networking Program on the Extranet for networking opportunities if you're interested in practicing law in Atlanta.



Don't miss this chance to hear Judge Ambrose explain what she and the other District Court judges expect from young lawyers in their courtrooms. There will also be a question and answer session.

The event will begin at 12:00 noon on Monday, November 10, 2008 in the Academy Room on the 9th Floor of the City-County Building. To RSVP to this FREE EVENT, please contact Pam Dececco at by 11/6/08. Lunch will be provided.

ACBA Diversity Collaborative Committee:   Journey to the Bench from the Minority Prospective, Nov. 12, 2008  

A panel of minority judges  will discuss their former legal  careers, journey to the bench and give insight to others who may be  interested in pursuing a judicial career.  The program will be held from 11:30-1:30 in the ACBA Auditorium on the 9th Floor of the City County Building. Opening remarks will start promptly at noon and lunch will be provided. Panelists include Hon. Kimberly Clark, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas; Hon. Cathy Bissoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge; and Hon. Justin M. Johnson (Retired), Superior Court of PA.      Please RSVP to by  November 5,  2008.  


October 29 9a.m.-3 p.m. William Pitt Union

This event is for students interested in learning more about internship or employment opportunities in federal, state or local government.

Schedule of events:

9-10 a.m.: "How to Find & Apply for a Federal Job"

10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Career and information fair

12-1 p.m.: "How to Find & Apply for a Federal Job"

To register:   Visit and create a profile; then log-in to the system.   Under CALENDAR, select "Job Fair.   Click on the event, and look for the "Sign Up Information" on the left side of the screen.

Agencies attending:

Air Force  

Allegheny County

Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives

PA -  State Civil Service  Commission

Census Bureau

Citizenship and Immigration Services

Congress and Senate

Customs and Border Protection

Defense Information Systems Agency

Defense Security Service  

Departments of Defense • Education • Energy  

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Homeland Security

Departments of Justice • State • Veterans Affairs  


Federal  Air Marshal Service

Federal Bureau of  Prisons • FCC

Federal  Energy Regulatory Commission

Federal Reserve Board


Government Accountability Office

National Drug Intelligence Center


National Nuclear Security Administration  

Naval Audit Service

Naval Supply Systems Command


NY State Public Management Institute

NIOSH/Pittsburgh Research Laboratory

National Science Foundation

Office of Labor-Management Standards

Office of the Secretary of Defense  

Office of Personnel Management

OSHA • PA DEP • Peace Corps

Philadelphia Passport Agency

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard • SSA

Small Business Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services

Treasury Inspector General  

U.S.  AID • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S.  Marshals Service • USPTO

U.S. Penitentiary • U.S. Postal Service

United States Probation & Pretrial Services

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