2020 Reunion

Hiring Buzz

Message from Heather Hayes '95

Dear fellow alumni, 

I am sorry we will not be able to gather in person this year. I happen to be celebrating my milestone 25th reunion this year and have such fond memories of prior BC Law reunions and how wonderful it is to catch up and reconnect with each other. In the short-term, I look forward to joining in the virtual reunion in November and hope you all can participate too.

I am the associate dean, strategic and student affairs at BC Law. I returned to BC Law in the spring of 2013. Prior to that, I was at WilmerHale as the director of recruitment. As I write this update on hiring in October, one thing is certain: This is an unusual time for hiring and placement at the law school. There is no normal, or new normal yet, only an evolution of adaptive strategies.

I will start with good news. Most summer 2020 internships happened in some way, shape, or form. The majority of these internships were conducted remotely, and some were shorter in length. There were students who did not secure an internship or had their internship cancelled. Led by our dedicated faculty, the law school rallied and created two new programs, the Eagle Summer Research Scholar Program and the Covid-19 Legal Services Project (a virtual legal services firm) to provide meaningful experiences to those impacted students.

In other positive news, our graduating class left the law school in excellent shape in terms of jobs. These Class of 2020 graduates were tracking the same as the Class of 2019, the class who had the highest placement results in recent years, with about 70% of the class having secured post-grad employment at graduation. Typically, another 20% or more of the class secures its post-grad employment by the time this placement data is gathered for the ABA, annually on March 15.

Despite this good news, we remain worried about the new graduates. While job opportunities have continued to come in for new graduates at fairly similar rates (admittedly pre-bar exam results is normally not a robust hiring time), and we have not been hearing much about pandemic-related job losses, things could change at any time. Large numbers of our graduates took the new remote bar exams offered here in Massachusetts and across many jurisdictions this fall. Our hope is that the turnaround time for bar admission will be swift so that these graduates whose lives have been upended can finally transition into the profession.

We do not know what’s going to happen for the demand for legal services and the related impact on hiring as this coronavirus recession continues to play out. There will be haves and have nots (K-shaped?). Who will get funding and who will not? While we believe our federal government will have great need for talented lawyers and that clerkships will continue, there are too many unknown variables for private and other public sector new-grad employers for us to speculate.

This fall has seen the start of essentially all virtual recruitment. While there are some small networking opportunities in person, most networking is online and employers are conducting interviews online. Recently, the Massachusetts Government and Public Interest recruitment program, the Equal Justice Works public service job fair (DC), and our own Small and Mid-Size Firm Interview Program (SMOCI) went 100% virtual. As you may recall, all summer OCI programs were postponed. Most are now rescheduled to take place in January, and ours will be held the week of January 18. That means grades for our 2L class this fall are especially important as our students received mandatory pass/fail grading last spring due to the shutdown and rapid switch to remote instruction.

While I can’t predict what will happen, the good news is that hiring remains ongoing at this point. Our alumni network and connections have consistently been a source of strength for our positive placement results and that continues. We sincerely appreciate all that you do to support our students, new graduates, and one another. As we move into this next season, and with uncertainty looming, it is what gives me hope.

Heather Hayes ’95
Associate Dean, Strategic and Student Affairs