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Like other schools, UF law school working to expand fellowships

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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:00 am

Colleges around the country are taking steps to ensure real-world experience for their law graduates, and UF is trying a multifaceted approach to keep pace.

More than a dozen law schools have shown initiatives to increase employment statistics directly after graduation. For example, Arizona State University started its own law firm.

UF, in order to provide its students with a variety of options, has been working to ease the transition from graduating to finding a job.

Rob Birrenkott, the interim assistant dean in career development at the Levin College of Law, said now is an interesting time for law because there is a lot of innovation in the field.

“What UF is doing is taking bits and pieces of different approaches,” Birrenkott said.

For the past two years, UF’s law school has had a postgraduate fellowship program that allows students to partner with entities to help underserved populations, he said.

Students can pick where they would like to practice law, but it only lasts for a few months. The college is working on expanding the program to last a year.

Elliot Mitchell, a 23-year-old first year UF law student, said though this program may not provide the highest paying jobs, it’s mutually beneficial.

“It promotes community involvement,” he said.

Birrenkott said the school is also exploring a legal residency approach for partnering with private firms.

Birrenkott said the law school is trying to make students more aware of non-traditional legal professions.

Ben Pickos, a third-year UF law student, said he doesn’t remember UF focusing on non-traditional legal careers during his first two years of law school.

“I would have really liked to have been informed of more options during my first couple of years,” the 25-year-old said. “I think that could really go a long way in helping people find work.”

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