WILL THEY BE READY?
Michael Scharf, Dean of the School of Law at Case Western Reserve University, can assure firm leaders when it comes to another concern — about the caliber of education graduates received in their last months when the coronavirus forced everyone off campus. “We are an experiential university,” he says. “But our professors worked hard to give them an online curriculum that would send them off on the right foot. We wanted to prepare them and leave them feeling confident.”
Though video lectures and back-and-forth over a computer won’t exactly mirror the quick exchange of the Socratic method, Malek feels secure about not only law school educational adjustments but also technology’s involvement in hiring and even onboarding going forward.
“For us, we are having a conversation on whether we even need an office to hire somebody,” says Malek, whose firm has used a Google platform for some of their interviewing. “We can offer flexibility, and do we need an office for someone to bring them on board?”
Regardless of a firm’s willingness to be flexible, its leaders must be understanding. This period has been a huge adjustment for graduates — many who expected to celebrate now must take a wait-and-see approach to multiple parts of their plan. It’s clear in his voice that Kramer, an attorney himself, feels for this graduating class. “When I graduated, you had so many offers,” he says. “This? There just hasn’t been anything like this.”
Still, if you’re concerned that they won’t be ready, Malek can say that he’s been impressed so far by his recent hires. “Those we’ve hired have done a good job of staying resilient and positive,” he says.
The truth is, being a lawyer means facing seemingly insurmountable odds at times — the workload, maneuverings and more. Malek, for one, looks forward to working with this tested class of 2020.
“There are benefits that cannot be denied about working closely to other attorneys who have more experience when you’re an attorney starting out, and this changes the definition of what ‘closely’ means,” he says. “But so many graduates embrace technology and can teach us how to do it better. … The situation has changed the way a law firm is run. I believe they will help us with this process.”