Career specialist eager to work with SBM Representative Assembly

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

As one of two coordinators of career and professional development at Cooley's Auburn Hills Campus, Alana Glass often tells students and alumni to remember to network, get involved, keep developing that career.

Now that she's been elected to the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly, Glass is following her own advice.

"I'm a new young lawyer, and I realized I wanted to take my career as well as my service to the State Bar to another level," said Glass, 32, of Pontiac. "Sometimes as new lawyers, we get a little intimidated by more seasoned attorneys, or think it's for them to take leadership roles. I wanted to really step out of the box and take on a role and get active in the profession I'm a member of."

The SBM Representative Assembly was formed in 1971 to improve the proportion of members who may actively participate in bar policy making. The Representative Assembly was structured to reflect the lawyer population from the state's judicial districts.

Glass represents the 6th Circuit in Oakland County.

She said she considers it a privilege to be a member of the legal profession, and thinks it's important that all members of the bar take an active role. Glass is also eager to do her part to close the generation gap she senses among attorneys.

"The seasoned attorneys can teach me a thing or two," said Glass, a liaison to the assembly's Arts, Sports, and Entertainment Committee. "They can also understand the concerns of new young lawyers."

After graduating from Cooley, Glass worked in the patent area and did some solo work.

But it wasn't particularly satisfying for this "people person."

"After a while you can only review so many catheter patent applications before you're ready for a change," she said with a laugh.

So when Glass heard about the Cooley job last year, she jumped at it. As a career coach for students and alumni, Glass helps with résumés, mock interviews and job searching skills, and arranges for lawyers to come speak on campus, among other duties.

Career development isn't the work she thought she'd be doing, but she loves it so far. Even with all the discussion right now about whether a law school diploma is a good investment in a tough economy, Glass said students are optimistic.

"They just know it's not like it was several years ago when you got out of law school and there was your job," she said. "They recognize how it was years ago, but I've yet to encounter anyone who's been discouraged. Students I work with on a regular basis are happy to be in law school, happy to have help from our office, and really excited about their futures.

"The economy is definitely challenging, and one of the things law students and new attorneys can do is really take advantage of the services and programming offered by the bar. By actually getting out there and networking and connecting, recent grads and law students are finding positions."

She said she sometimes has to remind herself what a great accomplishment it was to graduate from law school.

"I look at how it impacts my career in the long run, and I think it was one of the wisest decisions I ever made," said Glass, a Cooley graduate.

She reminds job-seekers to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.

"I also tell them that what they put in is what they'll get out," she said. "If they're attentive to detail, and they take time each semester investigating their careers, upgrade their résumés, and network, they'll find pay off."

She said becoming a SBM RA rep is a great opportunity to network while having a say in the direction of the legal profession in Michigan.

Forty-four attorneys won unopposed races in the State Bar Representative Assembly.

In addition to Glass, the 6th Circuit (Oakland County) members include Dennis Flessland, J. Scot Garrison, LaNita Haith, Krista Haroutunian, John Mucha III, Ava Ortner; Pratheep Sevanthinathan, Mark Teicher, and Vanessa Williams.

Third Circuit (Wayne County) representatives are Terrence R. Haugabook, Katherine Kakish, Solon M. Phillips, John C. Philo, and Margaret M. Van Houten.

Representing the 22nd Circuit (Washtenaw County) are Elizabeth Jolliffe, and Erane Washington-Kendrick.

Published: Tue, Aug 23, 2011