By Blayre E. Brown
Each year, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law conducts an on-campus interviewing (OCI) process for second- and third-year law students. This process enables students to connect with prospective employment opportunities. During the summer after my first year of law school, I anxiously awaited the employer reveal. However, once the schedule of interviewers was released, I was fairly disappointed to see that there were only a handful of Indianapolis law firms attending OCI. This was important to me because my fiancé lives in Indianapolis, and our plans were to settle down there once I graduated from law school in May 2017. Being a realist, I felt that securing an opportunity to live and work in Indianapolis may not readily present itself given the few Indianapolis firms scheduled to interview Northwestern students during OCI.
I expressed my concern to my career advisor about the limited opportunities, and she recommended that I register for the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair, which took place a few days prior to the start of OCI. As an African-American woman interested in expanding my chances in a sea of candidates, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity for me to get exposure to Indianapolis law firms truly seeking to increase their diversity.
Diversity in the legal field has been a growing concern among law firms. In 2015, it was reported that only 5.6 percent of equity partners in law firms were racial/ethnic minorities and only 17.4 percent were women. I quickly realized that I would largely benefit by attending the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair.
The IndyBar Diversity Job Fair not only gave me an opportunity to meet a copious amount of legal employers in the Indianapolis area in both the public and private sectors, but it also gave me an opportunity to learn about the growth taking place in the Indianapolis legal market. I was pleased to also discover the long-term opportunities that would await me there as an African-American woman looking to develop a career in law.
As a 2015 participant in the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair, I can speak to the success of this particular job fair’s ability to match students with their ideal firms. I was given the opportunity to have a day full of screening interviews, thus allowing me to gain more in one day than in months of scattered interviews. And, one of those screenings led to a callback interview and summer job offer as a law clerk with Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC. This, I’m proud to say, ultimately resulted in a post-graduation job offer from Hall Render. I might never have had the opportunity to meet attorneys from Hall Render in that capacity without the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair.
The legal market needs more job fairs like the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair, which links minority law students to their dream jobs in Indianapolis. It gives students like me avenues to pursue ideal job opportunities in a growing metropolis. Any diverse law student who is serious about launching a career in Indianapolis would be doing himself or herself a disservice by missing the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair. The summer hiring rates are remarkable, and the networking possibilities are endless. Don’t miss your chance to shape your future—attend the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair!•