Claudia Levy has been Director of Career Services at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, TN for 3 years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi.
When the career counselor isn't working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and their Old English sheepdog and Golden Retriever. Claudia explained, "I am a runner so I frequently take our daughter out in the jogging stroller after work and to the park to play. We follow the sports teams of all of our alma maters, Ole Miss, NC State, and Duke. We also enjoy attending Nashville Predators hockey games in the winter."
When asked about her favorite restaurant, she replied, "I am lucky to live in Nashville where a lot of fantastic new restaurants open regularly. I have been enjoying new farm-to-table restaurants including Rolf and Daughters and the City House."
Claudia is currently writing an e-book geared towards helping law students and recent graduates navigate their job search. Her goal is to provide a practical guide that is easy to read and tips that are easy to implement into their job search strategy.
Successful Director of Career Services
Why did she decide to become a career counselor? Claudia claimed:
"I left law practice to work for a legal services company in Nashville where I helped experienced attorneys navigate their career transitions. I decided to accept the Director position at Belmont so I could create the new office and grow it from the ground up the way I wanted. This position has been the perfect way to use my degrees in Psychology and Law, and shift my focus to working with law students."
What is the best part of Claudia's job? "Helping students figure out what they want to do with their legal careers and creating a plan to make that happen."
What does the Director of Career Services have a knack for? "Helping students come up with a realistic and specific job search plan. Students typically come to my office frustrated or stuck with their job search, and they leave with a long to-do list and a more positive outlook."
Claudia was asked how the market has affected students' ability to obtain positions they want. "Fewer employers are hiring law students and new lawyers, despite the fact [that] these employers are busy and probably would benefit from their help. I meet with all types of legal employers to tell them about our program, faculty, and students and discuss ways in which our students can help them."
What does Claudia do to prepare students who are entering the workforce in a downward economy? "This May, our Charter Class will be the first class to graduate from the College of Law. I work with each student individually to create clear and specific job search plans to ensure they get the jobs they want."
What advice would she give to students who are about to graduate and enter the workforce? "Many positions obtained by new lawyers were never advertised. If you have a strong and active network of contacts, you are more likely to hear about and be recommended for these opportunities."
When asked what advice she would give to a student who is struggling with their coursework, Claudia asserted, "Take advantage of the resources available at the school such as academic success programs. Meet with your professors. They want you to succeed and can provide valuable insight. Also, don't get too caught up in what your peers are doing. Figure out what works for you."
What advice does Claudia give to a student who doesn't know what career path to take after he/she graduates? "Keep an open mind and take advantage of opportunities to work as an extern or law clerk while you are in school. You might surprise yourself and realize you like an area of law that previously didn't appeal to you, and you will make some valuable contacts throughout the process."
In regards to her strengths and one weakness as a college career counselor, Claudia admitted, "I am passionate about what I do and I am proud to have been voted Most Outstanding Administrator at the College of Law in 2011 and 2012. However, sometimes I feel like a helicopter parent to 300 law students, which can be exhausting."
What motivated Claudia to become a law school career counselor? "I wanted to become a law school career counselor so I could help students find fulfilling careers."
If she wasn't the Director of Career Services at Belmont University College of Law, what would she most probably be doing? "I'd still be working with attorneys and helping them navigate their careers. It is very rewarding work."
Where does Claudia see herself in five years time? "I will continue to work with Belmont law students and graduates and will remain active in the legal community. I am looking forward to seeing our graduates make valuable contributions to the Nashville Bar and stay involved with the College of Law."
Non-profit Organizations, The Downside of Her Position and Claudia's Goals
Is Claudia involved with any non-profit organizations? She noted:
"I am an active member of the Nashville Bar Association, Lawyers' Association for Women (Nashville) and Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women. I am a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and Mississippi Bar Association and previously served on the Boards of the American Heart Association Young Professionals and Christmas Village. I am the Secretary and Treasurer of the Belmont University College of Law American Inn of Court."
Is there a downside to her position? "I can't make students do what they need to do to have a successful job search, and it is difficult to see students experience setbacks along the way."
Does the director of career services have goals? "I am excited to continue to grow in my career and watch our students become valuable members of the Bar."
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