Road trip: Wayne Law students explore career opportunities in west Michigan

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

In a bleak job market, Adam Blaylock is looking for any edge that will increase his chances of landing a job after he graduates.

That's why the Royal Oak resident was eager to participate in a recent trip sponsored by Wayne State University Law School's Career Services Office.

Wayne Law students traveled by bus to Grand Rapids to visit local law firms as a lead-up to Fall On-Campus Interviews.

"I had the opportunity to see four different law firms that typically I would not be able to see," said Blaylock, a second year Wayne Law student. "The trip offered an opportunity to see the culture of four firms inside their offices, as well as learn more not only about the firm, but about west Michigan."

He said any opportunity to talk and make a positive impression on a potential employer is huge.

The law firms of Varnum, Mika Meyers, Smith Haughey, and Warner Norcross each took the students on a tour and conducted a meet and greet where Wayne Law alumni discussed why Grand Rapids is a great place to practice law and why these students should consider these firms as potential employers.

The trip gave all of the attendees the chance to ask questions, get advice, and make contact with professionals in the field, which added up to one great networking event, he said.

Blaylock said he learned a lot about the differences between western and eastern Michigan law firms.

"Though larger firms are oftentimes considered interchangeable, the people and the culture are not," he said. "As employers, each firm is a little different, and offers different opportunities and relationships."

Noting that Good Morning America viewers just voted western Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes as the most beautiful place in America, Blaylock said the western part of the state has much to offer, and he'd love to be offered a job in the area one day.

Amanda Haverty-Harris, who'll graduate from Wayne Law in December 2012, said she learned that Grand Rapid residents are a tight knit group who are also very welcoming and eager to recruit Wayne Law students.

"I learned that Grand Rapids has a lot to offer young professionals -- trendy downtown bars, restaurants, and condos, outdoor events, and light traffic for a short commute into the city for those living in the suburbs," she said. "Attorneys proudly noted that it's possible to live halfway between the city and some of the most beautiful beaches our state has to offer."

Krystal Gardner, assistant dean of Career Services at Wayne Law, said the trip was a big success.

"In this economy, this is precisely the type of program that students need to gain an advantage in the job market," she said.

Published: Thu, Sep 1, 2011

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