The Catholic University of America





Alumni Offer Tips, Advice, and Encouragement for Life After Law School


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Three recent Columbus School of Law graduates returned to speak to current students on Oct. 16 with a shared message: planning, hard work, and networking make all the difference in successfully launching a postgraduate legal career. 

Students listened attentively as Nick Myers, 2010, a legislative assistant to Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA); Julya Heywood, 2012, an associate with Reed Smith LLP; and Leah Quaile, 2012, a staff attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services, shared their stories of how they landed their present jobs and described the skills and duties their positions require.
Speaking first, Quaile re-emphasized one of the cardinal rules of job-hunting: quite often, it is who you know.
“I networked a lot. That was really beneficial. When I went to my Neighborhood Legal Services interview, I already knew everyone on the panel,” she said.
Students interested in careers on Capitol Hill have many options, but must be proactive about searching them out, said Myers.
“There are a lot of CUA Law alums on the Hill,” he encouraged the audience. “They’re a pretty active group. You’d be surprised at how quickly doors can open.”
Many of the students in attendance were first-years, and for them, Julya Heywood’s insights were especially helpful. She advised them hone their research skills, serve on a law review in any capacity, take advantage of clinical opportunities, and always stay in touch with professors.
“It really is important to have someone in your corner,” said Heywood.
As a final piece of advice, students were admonished not to ease up on their studies during their final year of law school.
“It’s never too late to focus on good grades, even into the third year. It helps with landing a position with a big law firm,” Heywood noted.
The alumni career panel was part of the ongoing professional development program sponsored by the Law School’s Office of Career and Professional Development.