Help Wanted! Legal Project Bank Links Students, Attorneys

Two constants of the legal profession are that law students could always use ways to gain real-world experience, and practicing attorneys could always use help managing their case loads.

A few years ago, the Career Services Office (CSO) launched an innovative program to meet both needs—the Legal Project Bank.

“The Legal Project Bank helps attorneys get excellent legal assistance without committing to hiring a permanent intern or attorney before they are sure about their future needs,” says Kati Scannell, assistant dean of career services. “At the same time, it helps students get hands-on experience using the skills they are learning in class.”

The process is simple. Attorneys who need help post to a confidential online job board describing their projects. Students then submit cover letters and resumes for consideration. Once selected, students can work remotely, making it easier to keep up with the demands of their coursework. The CSO will also help with video or telephone conferencing needs.

“We have made the process as simple as possible for both parties,” Scannell says. “It takes five minutes or less to post a project, and the attorney’s company or firm name can be confidential.”

While posting an opportunity takes minutes, the benefit for students is long-lasting. Jessica Mendez, JD ’10 and LLM Intellectual Property ’11, completed her first Legal Project Bank assignment project for the St. Louis firm of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. Attorneys at the firm were so happy with her work that they gave her other assignments while she was in school, and they offered her a position after she received her degree.

“The experience was great not only because it led to my first job out of law school but also because it provided opportunities to work with different attorneys and law offices, ranging from the very small to the very large,” says Mendez, now a second-year associate at Brown & James P.C.’s St. Louis office. “The relationships I developed through the Project Bank are valuable to me. I still keep in touch with the attorneys I worked with through the program.I learned a lot from them. They now serve as references and have helped me develop my reputation as an attorney.”

One recent satisfied client was Adam M. Goffstein of Goffstein Law LLC. “The Legal Project Bank helped me get immediate trial assistance with research for a motion in limine,” Goffstein says. “Washington University law students also conducted research on multiple insurance coverage issues to help me resolve a case in mediation for more than $800,000, and they helped me prepare responses to complex federal motions. In all cases, the students have been reliable, professional, and skilled.”

For more information about the Legal Project Bank, call the CSO at 314-935- 6451, email careerservices@wulaw.wustl.edu, or visit http://law.wustl.edu/legalresearch/projectlist.asp