The Career Development Office (CDO) teaches students about the practical aspects of law practice, provides training on conducting efficient and thorough job searches, and helps students match their skills, interests and experiences to the needs of the legal market. For students who get involved early, the CDO can help narrow career choices and tailor preparation accordingly. The CDO begins working with students before classes even begin. During the summer before law school, the CDO staff surveys and meets every incoming student to get acquainted, gather information on students’ career plans and goals, and provide advice on preparing to succeed in law school.
Cumberland School of Law is one of the only law schools in the nation to provide an innovative course designed to give first-year law students a competitive edge when it comes to discovering and reaching their career goals. The course, Called to the Bar, allows students to think and plan for their legal career early, and, unlike most law schools, Called to the Bar is incorporated into the class schedule.
Through lectures, interactive workshops and networking events, students are taught about the legal job market, how to follow the right trajectory for different careers and the actual skills needed to secure interviews with lawyers. Many students walk away with summer jobs from these interactions and gain new mentors.
Called to the Bar events organized and hosted by the CDO include, but are not limited to:
- Information Panels with Attorneys from Various Practice Areas
- Mock Interviews with Practicing Attorneys
- Professional Etiquette
- Resume and Cover Letter Workshops
- Social Media Training
Lunch with a Lawyer
The Lunch with a Lawyer series brings alumni and other attorneys to campus to discuss the practical aspects of their work in traditional and non-traditional legal jobs. These sessions are ideal for networking and getting to know people with a wide variety of experiences. Lunch is provided to students who register to attend these events.
Mock Interview Program
Mock interviews are the most effective means of improving interview skills. Each January, the CDO sponsors a mock interview program drawing local lawyers to campus to “interview” our first-year students and provide constructive feedback. Historically, this is a large and highly successful program, with the overwhelming majority of first-year students participating. Second- and third-year students who feel they would benefit from additional interview practice may also arrange individual mock interviews during this period.
Cumberland School of Law is a regular participant in some of the largest legal career fairs in the nation including the Equal Justice Works Career Fair in Washington, D.C., boasting more than 200 employers, and the Southeastern Minority Job Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, the Career Development Office hosts employers from across Alabama to participate in our own career fairs where they interview students or provide them with helpful information for their career paths. Those events include:
- Public Interest Law Fair
- Criminal Law Fair
- Government Law Fair
- OCI Preview Fair
- Alternative Career Fair
Cumberland’s Career Development Office maintains vast relationships with a variety of legal employers across the country. The list of law firms that recruit Cumberland students range from small local firms to large national firms. Representatives from these firms engage with our students in a number of ways, including On Campus Interviews (OCIs), one-on-one interaction and other networking events hosted by the CDO. Cumberland students interview and secure clerkships and jobs with firms in major cities across the U.S. and the Southeast, including hot spots such as Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Chicago, Houston, Nashville and Washington, D.C., just to name a few.
Our students have worked at firms such as:
- Baker Donelson
- Beasley Allen
- Bradley Arant
- Burr & Forman
- Carr Allison
- Campbell Partners
- Fortif Law Partners
- Gilpin Givhan
- Heninger Garrison & Davis
- Lightfoot Franklin & White
- Marshall Dennehey
- Maynard Cooper & Gale
- McDowell Knight Roedder & Sledge
- Methvin Terrell
- Nixon Peabody
- Rushton Stakely
- Schulte Roth & Zabel
- Scott Sullivan Streetman & Fox
- Tanner & Guin
Career Counseling Services
One-on-one Career Counseling
We encourage students to make an appointment to discuss their career-related questions with a professional staff member. We will also see students who drop by if a staff member is available. Topics covered during counseling sessions include career exploration, résumé and cover letter drafting and editing, interview preparation and skills, job search strategies, resources and tools, networking, career redirection and many others.
Résumé/Cover Letter Review
You may email your résumés or cover letters to the CDO. The documents will be critiqued and returned to you within a few days. In many cases, a one-on-one meeting is necessary to best advise you on your career goals and application documents.
Career Development Advisory Board (Peer Counseling)
Early in your first year, we will group you with a Career Development Advisory Board (CDAB) member. The CDAB members serve as mentors and advisers to first-year students on issues related to succeeding in law school, identifying and securing part-time, short-term, and permanent legal work, and building the legal and career development skills to maximize a student’s marketability. Each CDAB member offers a unique background and perspective on the job search.
I joined the CDAB because of the impact it made on my first year at Cumberland. As an advisee, my mentor and others were open to helping me navigate the first year of law school by giving insight on the classes I was taking, helping me prepare for interviews, and just being there to listen whenever I needed to talk about everything that comes with that first year. As a mentor, I enjoyed assisting the first-year law students as they conquer the first year. Unless you were lucky enough to come from a family of lawyers, I highly suggest having an upperclassman law student mentor to assist and coach you through the first year of law school. It is very different from undergrad, so it is best to have someone coach you through it—and I was happy to be that person for many of our first-year students while I was at Cumberland. – Courtney Howard '21
Career Resource Guide
The Career Resource Guide provides timelines, templates, tips, and resources to help law students proactively launch their legal careers while at Cumberland School of Law.
Career Resource Guide - Log in with Samford username and password
Career Development Library
The Career Development Library includes books, directories, periodicals and video recordings on a wide range of topics related to legal employment and career development. Most books may be signed out for a period of three days.
Career Development Computer Lab
The Career Development Computer Lab contains four computers for students to use to research and apply for employment, prepare application materials or to check email. Each computer is connected to a printer that students may use for job search purposes.
Telephone, Fax and Copier
It is not uncommon for students to need a quiet place to make an employment-related telephone call. Students are welcome to make these calls in the interview rooms in our office. Students may also use the fax machine and copier for job search purposes.
The Career Development suite contains a library with four large, comfortable chairs, as well as two interview rooms that are only used for part of the year. Students seeking a quiet place to study are welcome to use these rooms during our regular office hours.
12Twenty and Online Resources+
12Twenty is Cumberland School of Law's online job bank and on-campus interview management system. In addition, we use 12Twenty as a virtual resource library to store various handouts, videos and other resources that you will find useful during your job search and your professional development.
To obtain your 12Twenty login information you must fill out a registration form and complete several other requirements specified during your first year of law school. Students may access 12Twenty to apply for jobs or on-campus interviews and to explore the resource library. Please direct your 12Twenty-related questions to Allen Howell at email@example.com.
Throughout the year, various employers ask us to post immediate job openings on our 12Twenty job board. These opportunities may be for permanent (postgraduate) positions, summer positions or part-time jobs during the academic year. To search for current job postings, log in to 12Twenty and click on the "Jobs & Resumes Collections" tab. Please carefully review the requirements and make sure to proofread your application materials before you upload them to 12Twenty.
On-Campus Interviews (OCI)
Each fall and spring, Career Development welcomes employers to participate in our on-campus interviewing (OCI) programs. After employer registration ends, you may log in to 12Twenty to see the employers scheduled to interview on campus during a given week. To apply (or "bid for") an interview, simply upload the required application materials and click "Apply." The following week, you should check the status of your bid in 12Twenty to see if you were preselected. If so, please choose your interview time immediately.
Employers who do not interview on campus (often out-of-town employers) sometimes ask us to collect resumes from interested students and to forward the resumes to them in one packet. After reviewing the resumes, an employer will contact the selected candidates individually to arrange interviews.?
Off-Campus Interview Programs
Virtual Resource Library
To access our virtual resource library, log in to 12Twenty and click on the "Resources" tab. Here you will find tips on building your legal resume, writing cover letters and conducting informational interviews, as well as other helpful information that can assist you with your job search and using the 12Twenty system. We have also uploaded links to videos of some of our educational programs, including our Loan Forgiveness Program.
Current Cumberland School of Law Students & Alumni
The Career Development Office has reciprocal arrangements with career services offices at other ABA-accredited law schools. These arrangements typically allow graduates and third-year students to use the resources of another law school, subject to limitations set out in that school's reciprocity policies. You can usually find these policies on each law school's career services webpage. If you are interested in seeking reciprocity from another law school, please review their policies and contact Allen Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org stating the law school that interests you and providing your current address and telephone number. We will copy you on any emails sent to the other law school and will contact you when we know whether your request was granted.
Non-Cumberland School of Law Students & Alumni
Please click here to view Cumberland School of Law's Reciprocity Policy.
Contact the Career Development Office
Allen Howell, Assistant Dean of External Relations and Career Development, 205-726-4300
Rachel Stewart Martin, Assistant Director of Career Development, 205-726-2798
Beth Chmura, Program Assistant, 205-726-2797