Education on all levels has been markedly different since the spring of 2020 and law school is no exception. Addressing the employment outlook for this year’s law school graduates, the Mississippi Business Journal spoke with officials at the University of Mississippi School of Law.
According to Registrar Veda Taylor, Ole Miss granted 127 Juris Doctor degrees in May, a number which does not include any degrees awarded in December 2020 or those to be awarded in August of this year.
“Activity is strong among Mississippi employers recruiting our 2021 graduates,” said Cassandra Latimer, the school’s director of career services. “They continue to connect with us daily with job opportunities.”
Because of the pandemic, internship opportunities were not the same for law students. “Employers had to pivot quickly in mid-March 2020 as a result of the pandemic,” Latimer said. “While many firms and organizations were able to adjust, there were some who could not make the adjustments necessary in the time they had before summer work began to continue their internships as previously scheduled.”
However, she says Ole Miss students did have other employment opportunities that were made available to them as a result of the pandemic. “Remote internship options made it possible for students to study in Oxford or at home while simultaneously working for a business or firm across the country. While the pandemic has certainly been a challenging time, there have been some unforeseen silver linings that allowed our students to continue to thrive.”
Law Dean Susan Duncan says gaining courtroom experience for students had some changes too. “Our students continued to gain experience in oral advocacy through Moot Court, Trial Advocacy and the Negotiation Board throughout the year, even though most of the competitions were switched to a virtual format,” she said. “Additionally, our graduates assisted real clients in need through our Clinical Programs and Pro Bono Initiative. So not only did they still gain practical experience, they learned to provide legal service in an adaptable way. This is a skill that will no doubt benefit them in their future careers.”
Duncan explained that law students don’t have internships in the traditional sense that undergraduates have. “They have either externships, clerkships or summer jobs. Our Career Services Office Director Cassandra Latimer and Assistant Director Karen Peairs meet individually with all students year round to help them find and prepare for summer positions and job opportunities upon graduation,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE – The MBJ reached out to the Mississippi College School of Law but could not get a response.