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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Thursday, February 16, 2006
An unfortunate loss
Posted 3:10 PM by Joshua Claybourn
News that Shannon Williams is leaving the law school staff should come as sorry news for everyone associated with the law school. Given the generally negative comments following the post below I wanted to take the liberty of offering a different take here.

Although Shannon's contributions to the school community are wide and deep, I'll begin with her primary job in leading the Office of Professional Development. In that capacity she is charged with assisting students in finding jobs following graduation. Statistics consistently indicate that 70-75% of all legal jobs are found through networking (see Emory as one example). Many of these positions are never advertised. In other words, the vast majority of law school graduates must rely on their own networking skills to chart their future. It seems as though too many students want less of a job search facilitator in the OPD and more of a job search manager. Besides being impractical, it's ineffective. Ultimately we the students are the best advocates for why we should be hired and it is up to us to make that case.

But that doesn't mean the OPD is irrelevant. It should offer advice on resumes, arrange on campus interviews and, when asked, help connect students with alumni. Under Shannon the office has tripled in size, allowing for tremendously more personalized help. Thanks to improvements in internet scheduling, on campus interviews are easier to arrange. To be sure, there is still room for improvement. There always is. But Shannon's tireless efforts have drastically improved the OPD.

Finally, I've seen Shannon do things for the law school behind the scenes for which she receives far too little credit. She founded the Indianapolis Bar Association's Law Student Division Executive Committee, a committee on which I serve. Shannon was the driving force behind this board which helps put on numerous events such as take a law student to lunch day, kickball, summer connection, and much more.

Shannon often goes about her work with so much humility that she doesn't garner the attention and recognition she deserves. I for one am sorry to see her leave, but I trust that she will make an equally significant impact for new lawyers at Baker & Daniels. I can only hope that Shannon's successor is as dedicated as she is.

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