University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Law Works: Volume 5 Issue 19 - March 25, 2010


Clutter can prevent you from capitalizing on advancement opportunities. Here are ways to spring clean your career:

Your desk:  Your ability to locate items and act quickly is critical -- time spent sorting through papers to find that printed posting could be spent on sending out the applications themselves.  Positive work habits benefit your career in other ways:  an organized office desk allows others to find your work and take action in your place. A tidy desk can also improve your image at work.

Do one of three things with each item on your desk:  leave it, file it or toss it. Papers that you reference often or will need in the immediate future should stay on your desk. Those that must be saved, such as old business cards or contact information, should be filed. Everything else can be tossed. (Don’t worry:  if you haven't looked at something in six months or more, chances are you won't miss it.) Don't tackle the entire task at once. Set aside a few minutes a week to clean a small portion of your desk. If you make this a routine, you'll not only clear your workspace of clutter but also prevent it from becoming overrun again.

Caveat:  Don't become so focused on organization that you put off your work or your job search.

Your résumé:  The résumé is the primary tool in your job search arsenal. But few people work on their resume except when searching for a new position.  Keeping your résumé in shape ensures you can quickly capitalize on intriguing employment opportunities that suddenly arise. It can even come in handy during a performance review.

Start by adding any recent positions or accomplishments:  focus on quantifiable results that clearly indicate how you contributed to your work environment. If you have an extensive work history, consider removing less relevant positions.  Next, make sure your wording is spotless. Carefully review the piece with an eye toward grammar and spelling. One or two errors in a résumé can remove a candidate from consideration. The last step: Revamp the format if necessary. While you don't want a design-heavy document, which may not translate well to all computer systems, you do want the piece to look clean and modern.

Your network:  The final area of focus for your spring cleaning efforts should be your network. Professional contacts can be valuable sources of employment leads and advice. But this group will do you little good if you have trouble remembering who's in it or how to get in touch with them.

Create an electronic record of those you know.  Make sure you have a complete profile -- including job title and employer, phone number, and e-mail address -- for each person in your network. Consider making notes about your contacts' birthdays, children and spouses. These details are useful when reaching out to people, especially those you don't speak with often. Another option is to take advantage of online networking sites, such as LinkedIn. These services enable professionals to create online profiles. By keeping tabs on your contacts' profiles, you can remain up-to-date on developments in their careers and reach out to them quickly and easily.

If you get in a cleaning mood, don't let the momentum go to waste. After sprucing up your desk, résumé and network, work through your briefcase or purse, computer desktop, and even the trunk of your car. Being organized in several areas of your professional life will help you in the long run.


…There are, in fact, many different organizations that are recruiting people just like me to carry out their missions overseas. By far the largest number of vacancies for these positions is found within the federal government, and the more I looked into it, the more irresistible a federal Foreign Service position became to me.

 There are a variety of different ways to research these opportunities. The first step [is] to visit Fedscope is a database compiled by the Office of Personnel Management that provides information regarding federal human resources. By refining the search terms, [you will be] able to see that almost 10,000 new federal employees were hired to work in foreign countries last year! Fedscope is a great resource to use to get a better sense of which agencies are hiring individuals for positions abroad.

 You can use the information you get from Fedscope to visit each agency’s Web site and learn more about their mission and hiring needs in foreign locations. Or, if you know what country you want to work in but aren’t set on a specific agency, you can use to run an advanced search by keyword or location for open positions.

These types of jobs are not just for students who have studied foreign languages or international relations. As a matter of fact… research turned up a broad range of opportunities with agencies ranging from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of State, all of which have a significant number of employees stationed abroad. Some of the federal opportunities … include positions at the:

  •                         Department of Agriculture;
  •                         Department of Commerce;
  •                         Department of Defense;
  •                         Department of the Air Force;
  •                         Department of the Army;
  •                         Department of State;
  •                         U.S. Agency for International Development;
  •                         U.S. Information Agency; and
  •                         Department of Homeland Security.

 The incredible thing about these positions is that [you] could be working in almost any field… For example, there are currently vacancies as Nutritional Officers in Spain or as Educational Services Specialists in Japan…[Next up? Learning…] how to apply for Foreign Service positions in the federal government.

 Taken from an article by  Layla  Zaidane,  Education  and  Outreach  Fellow  at  The  Partnership  For  Public  Service.  For more information, visit      



Equal Justice Works is pleased to announce the launch of Summer Corps 2010. Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that in 2010 will provide 577 law students with the opportunity to earn an education award voucher for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. The application will be available on our website opens April 1, 2010 and closes April 16, 2010. Program highlights and changes for 2010 include:

  • Course credit policy change: For the first time, Summer Corps members receiving course credit are eligible for the program. Visit the website for more details.
  • Summer Corps Standout awards and publicity: The Summer Corps Standout program launched in 2009 to recognize members for their innovative approach to meeting the needs of an underserved or marginalized person or community. Winners received an article promoting their service on our public interest blog (top 10 nationally among all law blogs) and website. They are also qualified as finalists to receive an Equal Justice Works Exemplary Public Service Award for a Student or Student Group. Scott Burrill (University of Iowa College of Law ’10) became the first Summer Corps member to win an Exemplary Public Service Award for a Student.
  • Improved efficiency: The paperwork requirements have been drastically reduced to further improve the service experience. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is now available electronically and students are now able to apply the voucher soon after they finish their service.
  • Being part of the movement: National service is as important as ever and law students play an important role. Summer Corps members have consistently reported that their summer internships solidified their commitment to public interest law, while reigniting their passion for the legal profession. As a result, Summer Corps has become a launching pad for the next generation of public interest attorneys.



Upcoming Law Student Teleconference: Tips on Securing a Job in Health Law
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 5pm
This final teleconference in our series will give law students practical advice on pursuing a job in the health law field. The speakers will talk about how they arrived at their current positions and will provide tips on what potential employers look for from new graduates.

Speakers include:

    • C. Joyce Hall, Watkins & Eager, Jackson, MS;
    • Kathleen Scully-Hayes, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, MD; and
    • Joel D. Wakefield, Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer, & Brockelman, PLC, Phoenix, AZ

To participate on the call please dial 1-800-504-8071 and when promoted key in meeting code 988 5824 and you will be connected to the group.



Legal Writing Seminar on Brief Writing

April 14, 2010, 2:00 p.m.  at the US District Court for the Western District of PA Courthouse

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania is hosting a free, three-credit CLE on legal writing presented by Ross Guberman, Esq., President of Legal Writing Pro (LWP).  

LWP has presented advanced writing seminars for nearly every major law firm in the country, as well as the U.S. Departments of Defense, Education, HHS, and Justice.  In addition, Oxford University Press recently has asked Mr. Guberman to write the first book ever on how the nation's top advocates write.

As former Chief Magistrate Judge Kenneth Benson has attested, "I have attended many CLEs and seminars on brief writing. This is by far the best I have seen."

To RSVP, please contact Subcommittee Member David C. Donehue, Esq.,


Financing a Public Interest/Service Career (RSVP Required)

Tuesday, March 30, 1:00-2:20 p.m., ALCOA Room (please note the room change—it was originally Room 111)

The CSO in conjunction with the Women in the Law Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association is co-sponsoring this program on how to finance your public interest/service career. For students and graduates facing high student debt, this program, presented by Heather Jarvis, Senior Program Manager, Law School Advocacy and Outreach at Equal Justice Works, will explain how you can benefit from the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, particularly if you are considering a career in public service. You will learn and be able to ask questions about:

• How Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness works
• What you need to know about loan forgiveness programs while you are in school
• What steps to take after you graduate to manage high student debt

Please note that if you are unable to attend the program at Pitt Law, the Women in the Law Division will also be presenting programs at Duquesne University Law School (Monday, March 29, 4:30-5:50 p.m.) and at the Allegheny County Bar Association President’s Conference Room, 4th Floor Koppers Building Downtown, Pittsburgh. (Monday, March 29, 12:00-1:20 p.m.). To attend any of these sessions you must RSVP to pday@pitt.eduand indicate which program you plan to attend.


“Why Building Your Community Is Building Your Career”—ACBA Diversity Collaborative (RSVP Required)

Thursday, April 8,  from 11:30-1:30, 9th Floor Auditorium, City-County Building

Join the ACBA Diversity Collaborative for its latest program, “Why Building Your Community Is Building Your Career.” It is well known that networking is critical to professional career development. Far too frequently, however, professionals are guided to industry and trade associations as a means to network and develop their career. But what if your interests and passion lie elsewhere? Are you forsaking career growth by focusing your time and attention on organizations close to home? Our informed panel including: Evan Frazier, Senior Vice President of Community Affairs, Highmark, Inc.; Hon. Michael F. Marmo, Court of Common Pleas, Family Division; Marilin Martinez-Walker, The Law Office of Marilin Martinez-Walker; and Nicola Henry-Taylor, Law Office of Nicola Henry-Taylor, will discuss why community involvement is not only critical to your personal growth, but how it too can propel your career forward.

There is no cost to attend this program. RSVP to Marlene Ellis at Please note that if you would like to travel downtown with the Career Services Staff and fellow law students please e-mail Pam Day at but you must also RSVP directly to Marlene Ellis to attend the program.


Please Save the Date:

Preparing for the 2L Job Search**

**This program is mandatory for all 1Ls

Wednesday  April 7   12:00-12:45pm Room 109 OR

Thursday April 15 1:00-1:45pm Room 107

This program will cover what you need to know now to start planning for your Fall job search as a second-year law student. The program will discuss the job searching steps all law students should take this Summer and in the Fall. Topics covered will include the Fall On-Campus Interviewing Program, the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia Interview Trips, the application processes for government positions and public interest organizations, opportunities for judicial clerkships and the small firm job market. This program will be offered two different times - students need only attend one session.



NATIONWIDE:  The National Association of Law Placement (NALP) is pleased to announce the annual online Apartment Exchange. It is now available for use through NALP's website. Law students and 2010 summer clerks may go to where you can register to have access to the Apartment Exchange. You will be able to search and post available summer housing opportunities from all around the country. The service is free and easy to use. It is a proven resource for success in the search for temporary summer housing!


NEW YORK:  Pitt Students:  Coming to New York City for a Summer internship can be really, really challenging.  And really, really cool.  However, the last thing it should be is really, really stressful.  And it won’t be if you live with EHS.  Each residence offers 24/7 security, lounges, kitchens, a trained Student Life team and tons of other amenities and activities.  Plus there are no hidden fees.  You will meet the kind of people you will probably know for years, and be surrounded by the kind of environment only the hippest hotels in the world can provide.  But there is a tiny glitch…space is running out in our residences, and so is time.  Call us now at 800 297 4694, visit for more information


NEW YORK:  The New York University School of Law has a Summer Living in New York program.  Each year they open their residential buildings to summer interns in the law and business communities.  The residences are designed for graduates and also faculty.  Summer 2010 accommodations are available from May 23 to August 14, for periods of four or more consecutive weeks. 

To learn more about this housing opportunity, please visit   


PHILADELPHIA:  Available:  large home in The Art Museum area of downtown Philadelphia.  It is walking distance to just about anywhere in the city.  Professional couple offers a double bedded room with private bath, washer and dryer and some kitchen privileges for free to a student who in exchange is willing to care for 2 cats and 2 birds, plus water a city garden for all the days that we are away.  This will include just about all weekends and several weeks vacation during the summer.  The husband in this couple is a Philadelphia Judge and will remain at home most weeks from Monday to Friday.  The time period we are interested in is Memorial Day to Labor Day/mid-August. 

Sandy Dych at   




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