25 January 2011

Duquesne Law School Re-Launches Its Alumni Mentor Program

By Benjamin Knauff, Staff Writer

Students at the Duquesne University School of Law are about to get an extra boost as they continue their studies and prepare to enter the job market. The Duquesne Law Career Services Office, in conjunction with the Law School Alumni Relations Office, recently announced that they are re-launching the Alumni Mentor Program. The program will enable Law students with interests in a particular area to be matched with an alumnus practicing in that area, whereby the student can gain more information on their specific field of interest, as well as the practice of law in general.

“I cannot overstate the benefit to the students. Building a network of relationships with professionals in your area of interest is vital to career success.” said Assistant Dean of Students Ella A. Kwisnek, who is currently leading the new program. Local Attorney and Duquesne Law alumnus August M. Damian (L ’85), who previously participated in the program, also spoke toward the benefits for students, stating, “I believe the benefits received from the law student's perspective would be their exposure to the daily tasks and work duties of an attorney involved in private practice. The experience of observing the attorney at work and the interaction that takes place in a law office is something unobtainable by the student in the law school setting. Furthermore, the law student may be thinking about practicing in a certain area of the law. By speaking to an attorney who specializes in practicing in a particular area of the law, the law student may gain meaningful insight into the pros and cons of that specialty practice.”

Moreover, Attorney Damien observed that the program is a good opportunity for Duquesne Law alumni to give back to their school and community, making it can be a gratifying experience for both alumni and students. “The reward I have obtained from my involvement in the program is to be able to give back to Duquesne University and the Law School since they have provided me with the education necessary for life's challenges and to practice my profession. My involvement in the mentoring program is also very rewarding if I am able to help a student by answering their questions and making decisions that may affect their legal career,” said Damian.

Students interested in participating in the program can access applications online at http://www.duq.edu/law/career-services/student-participation-form.cfm. Once the form is submitted to the Career Services Office, the CSO, with assistance from the Student Bar Association, will match students with an alumnus. Initial matching is expected to begin in mid-October, but the program is designed to be continuous.

Additionally, it is not too late for interested alumni to get involved. Attorneys interested in the program can find a participation form at http://www.duq.edu/law/career-services/alumni-participation-form.cfm. Along with one-on-one matching, alumni may also sign up to be included in an Alumni Mentor Resource book, which is made available to students who want advice on a particular region or area of law.

A “Meet the Mentor” reception has been tentatively planned for the Spring 2011 semester, but an official date has not yet been set.