Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

After years of struggle, HLS finally increases employment rate above 100%
Director of Career Services: “We’ve Done It!”

When the Director of Career Services took office in 1993, the Dean of the law school gave him two directives. “Number one,” he recalls the Dean saying, “move the entire career services library of books and brochures from a computer-based system to a paper-and-filing-cabinet approach,” and “Number two, increase the employment rate upon graduation.”

The first goal took almost no time to achieve, as the new director and his staff took hammer to machine and destroyed banks of computers, putting all of the office’s material in old file cabinets and haphazardly inside unmarked closets with no rhyme or reason.

But the second goal proved harder. At the time of the director’s appointment, the graduation employment rate was stuck at 100%, and had been for over seven decades. To increase it, he would have to think outside the box, and achieve what no career services director had been able to achieve in the history of mankind.

He set to work. His first step was to increase the number of law firms that came to campus to hire the 550 graduating students. The number when he began his efforts was a mere 400 firms, each looking for an average of 3 Harvard students, meaning that there were only slightly more than double the potential jobs than available openings, a disappointing ratio that meant some students only got two or three offers. He began an all-out push to increase the number of firms.

This year, a record 14,000 law firms came to campus to recruit, with each firm looking for an average of 37 Harvard Law students. This meant that most students had upwards of a hundred offers, with one law review member remarking, “I had forty-six hundred offers. The mailman actually delivered my mail in a sack. But one firm rejected me. They’re the one I really wanted to work for. What good is being on Law Review when the one firm you really want to work for spurns you anyway?”

But to reach beyond the 100% barrier, he had to do more than just increase the number of firms. He also had to increase the number of candidates. So, in an extraordinary move that will go down in the annals of career counseling history, He dressed up homeless people in suits and ties, armed them with OCS-approved resumes, and sent them to the interviews. Improbably, the law firms were so desperate for Harvard students that 6,000 of them got hired (impacting the Harvard Square homeless population only negligibly), and increasing HLS’s employment rate to more than 1000%. For his efforts, the director will receive a free Cadbury Crème Egg (see “Dean Kagan announces law school easter egg hunt,” above).