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Charles B. deWitt III: Assistant Dean for Career and Alumni Services, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

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"I deal with all aspects of career services for our law students, as well as coordinating CLE [continuing legal education] for the law school, assisting with alumni matters, and publishing the law school's quarterly e-newsletter," he said.

"I really enjoy working with the students and helping them find their place in a law career."

The goal of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law's career services department is to "provide information and support to law students in their search for legal employment."

"We aim to help develop skills that will build self-confidence and insight into the expectations of legal employers as we bring students and employers together," the university stated on its website.

deWitt, who worked as an attorney in the real estate and title insurance fields before coming to the university, thinks the career services department is achieving its goal by being focused on its students.

"There are many, many fine career services departments in law schools across the nation. Our strength, like theirs, is being student-centered and having a staff that is genuinely committed to their career needs," deWitt said. "I think this is the core requirement for a good career services counselor, as well. I don't know of any law career services office that isn't staffed with people who want to help their students and who have an open door for assistance."

When it comes to advising students on finding a job after graduation, deWitt urges students to be flexible.

"We are in a tight market right now," he said. "Grads may need to start working with a firm they would not have initially considered at a level of pay that that they feel is less than what they should get or in an area of law that wasn't necessarily what they thought they would be doing. However, it takes much less effort to control the direction of the career rocket once it is in space than it does to launch it initially."

deWitt, who says there isn't really anything he dislikes about his job, feels that career services departments help different people in different ways.

"The offices assist students in all levels of class rank and increasingly numerous areas of law," he said. "For some, it means helping with cover letters, resumes, and other documents they need to send out to prospective employers. For some, it means helping locate employers for part-time employment during the school year, for summer clerkships, judicial clerkships, or for full-time employment after they graduate. For some, who need help deciding what areas of law might be right for them in practice, it means holding seminars throughout the school year to introduce them to attorneys from different areas of practice to help them decide which might be the best. For some, it means providing opportunities for on-campus interviews and job fairs that can potentially match them up with interested employers."

However, the most important aspect of a career services department is simply being there for its students while they adjust to law school and helping them with anything they may need in the job-search process.

"For all law students, it's just having an open door so they can feel free to come in and talk and try to make sense out of this new career—and, believe me, there are times when they will wish they had gone into medicine like their mother said they should," he said.

When he's not working, deWitt enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He also collects autographed photographs, which he uses to decorate the walls of his office.

"There's always one that a student will single out as special," he said. "For a few years, it was Gil Gerard [Buck Rogers], since the students a few years ago grew up with that TV show as a favorite. Lately, it seems to be Mini Me [Verne Troyer of Austin Powers fame]."

School of Law - The University of Memphis


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