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Matthew Wayman: Assistant Director for Law Graduate Employment, Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, CA

published September 04, 2006

Kenneth Davis
( 14 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
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<<Wayman said he left the practice of law to work in career services because he wanted to work more with people and less with documents. A sentiment echoed by many others in the field of career services, the desire to work one-on-one with law students is often the driving force behind interest in this field.

Currently, Wayman works primarily with third-year law students and recent graduates, assisting with their career and job-search efforts. Additionally, he works with employers to develop more job opportunities for students at Santa Clara University School of Law. The employers he works with include law firms, legal departments in companies, legal temp agencies, and municipalities.

"I basically try to understand their hiring practices and figure out how I can help them achieve their goals, either with sending them applicants or giving them opportunities to meet more students," he said.

Wayman said his prior experience as an attorney was good preparation for his job in the career services department at a Bay Area law school.

"Well, I certainly know the legal market pretty well in the Bay Area," he said. "And I worked in the Bay Area the whole time. And so I learned what it takes to be a successful lawyer. I also learned how to job hunt. I learned by doing."

He also added that he got most of his jobs through networking, not through job postings.

"I tell all my students that they should definitely do that [use job postings]; but if that's all they're doing, they're going to be really hurting their odds," he said.

Wayman also advised law students not to depend solely on on-campus interviews for their job searches, but to have a broader vision.

"If you look at it nationwide, only 15 percent of law students get jobs through on-campus interviews," he said.

He explained that on-campus interviews are particularly unproductive for third-year law students.

"By the time you're a 3L, it may be too late for on-campus interviews," he said. "Some firms will interview third-year law students on campus, but not as many."

Wayman said that students should try to take a variety of approaches in their job searches to ensure the best results.

"You need to network," he said. "You need to do other things to try to get a job."

Wayman graduated from UCLA in December 1993 with a B.A. in History. He then enrolled at Santa Clara University School of Law and earned his law degree in May 1997. He said he got into law by default, because "it seemed like the best option at the time."

"Having graduated as a history major from UCLA during the 1993 recession, I didn't see a lot of other choices," explained Wayman.

As an attorney, Wayman did transactional work, which involved contract negotiating. He said what he liked best about his work as an attorney was working with international teams of lawyers and business people on multinational transactions.

"You know, transactions with people in different countries—that was probably the most fun," he said.

Wayman went on to explain what he enjoyed most about working in career services.

"It's really just when you realize you're really helping students find their first job," he said. "I helped one recent graduate in getting his dream job. That's the most rewarding part."

He said one of the most difficult challenges of his job is getting up to speed on everything and keeping on top of new developments and changes in the legal job market.

"In this job, there's so much to learn," he said. "You know, having been a lawyer for seven years, I was an expert in my field. As a law school career counselor, people also want you to be an expert; but it just takes time to get up to speed."

Wayman had the following advice for law students:

"Pursue something that [you] really enjoy doing," he said.

Looking for an In-house employment attorney job near Santa Clara location? Click Here.

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