Published on October 21, 2020
Rachel Stewart Martin, a 2013 Cumberland School of Law alumna, serves as Cumberland’s assistant director of career development. In her role, her priority is ensuring that Cumberland students and alumni have all the resources they need to achieve their professional goals.
What is one thing alumni may not know about how Cumberland’s Career Development Office can support them?
Something they may not know is that we can support them through the job-search process from start to finish, from polishing their résumé to strategizing for compensation negotiations after they receive an offer. Alumni often feel they should be job-searching experts because they’ve done it before, but everyone can benefit from support and expertise when going through the stressful process of looking for a new position. Our alumni don’t have to approach their professional development alone.
How can Cumberland alumni be more involved in the efforts of the Career Development Office?
We are always grateful when alumni participate in our programs like career fairs, panel discussions, and mock interviews, but the most valuable thing alumni can do is make themselves available to our students for one-on-one informational interviews and casual meetings. Many students have no connections in the legal field, and the kindness and interest of a practicing lawyer can give them confidence as they navigate a complex new professional environment. Time invested in students is never wasted!
Cumberland’s class of 2019 had a record-breaking 93.23% employment rate (including those who chose to enroll in an LL.M. program). How can alumni help ensure that the law school’s employment rate continues to excel?
As I see it, alumni’s role here is two-fold. First, they can help us by continuing to employ our students as clerks, interns and externs. These experiences are vital to our students’ continued success and employability. Second, I encourage alumni to stay in contact with our office and let us know their staffing needs. Sometimes we have an alum looking to make a lateral move or a new grad whose job plans fell through, and we can help fill an open position quickly and efficiently, which is beneficial to all involved.
What is one of your favorite things about helping Cumberland students, and alumni, reach their professional goals?
My favorite thing is seeing a student or alum break free of the self-doubt that has held them back from pursuing the career they truly want and move boldly towards their goals. So many people come to law school with big ambitions, but the daily grind and competitive nature of law can make those original ambitions seem unreachable. By helping students and alumni chart a workable professional path and establish concrete milestones, I’m able to show them that they don’t have to “settle” professionally, and that they can build a rewarding career on their own terms.
Prior to joining the Cumberland School of Law staff, Martin practiced exclusively in the field of domestic relations as a partner in the boutique Birmingham firm Crittenden Partners. She is an active member of the Junior League of Birmingham and the Birmingham Bar Association. She and her husband Roy, also a member of Cumberland’s class of 2013, have one daughter, Maggie.