In Development: Career coordinator helps new lawyers find employment

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 By Jo Mathis

Legal News
 
Mark Jane says he feels right at home in his new job as the Career and Professional Development Coordinator of the Ann Arbor Campus of Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Jane was in the same position as those he now helps.
 
 “I still vividly remember the challenges new lawyers and law students face in finding legal employment and developing a client base,” said Jane, who graduated from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in May 2006 and moved back to Michigan shortly afterwards.
 
Dean Joan Vestrand explained that each Cooley campus has a career services coordinator.
 
“Mark is doing a terrific job in the position,” she said. “He has gone out of his way to meet and develop relationships with the students and is in the community, raising awareness about our graduates.”
 
Jane spends his days at Cooley reviewing resumes and cover letters, conducting mock interviews, creating programs regarding legal careers and job searching, reaching out to the legal community regarding job openings and placement/networking opportunities, and counseling students and alumni regarding a wide array of career development issues.
In addition, Jane will be teaching a course to help students become practice ready. 
 
“We are delighted to have Mark as part of the Cooley family,” Vestrand continued.  “He is, himself, an outstanding young lawyer already recognized for his skill and he has demonstrated early and meaningful devotion to the legal community through his significant bar related service at both the state and local level.” 
 
Job-hunters may be inspired and encouraged that even in a tough market, Jane also works as Of Counsel at Stevenson Keppelman Associates in Ann Arbor, a boutique employee benefits practice.
 
His hours vary at SKA depending on the matters he is assisting, which tend to be medium-sized, substantive projects. 
 
“The good thing about being an employee benefits attorney is that I don't go to court,” says Jane, who pays meticulous attention to his schedule in order to stay on top of things. “As a result, I can often lend a helping hand at SKA when I am not otherwise occupied.”
 
Jane’s father was a teacher, and he was a substitute teacher for a short time between college and law school.  Jane liked teaching so much, in fact, that he looked for opportunities in law school to engage in legal education.  For example, he participated in the Street Law program, in which he was assigned to a Chicago magnet high school to teach fundamental legal principles twice a week for a semester.  He also served as an academic tutor during his third year for two first year courses.
 
While he’s just been at Cooley since August, the most frequent concern he’s heard so far—which is consistent with the concerns he has heard voiced by new lawyers in his past capacity as co-chair of the Washtenaw County Bar Association New Lawyers Section and current position as a representative and officer on the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyer Section Council—is landing that first job.
 
He said the most successful applicants prepare early, network, find a firm clerkship or externship, and compose a great cover letter and resume.
 
Involved as he is in both the Washtenaw County Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan, Jane says he’s a good nexus point for students and alumni to network with the legal community.
Jane lives in Pittsfield Township with his wife, Heather Garvock, an immigration attorney with Ellis Porter, and their two-year old daughter Genevieve. 
 

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