November 11, 2021
How Megan Evanich ‘17 Helps You Land Your Dream Job
Even as a student, Assistant Director of Career Services, Megan Evanich, knew the value of the Career Services Office. From panels and on-campus interviews, to robust bridge-to-practice programs and resume and cover letter review, she made sure to take advantage of these door-opening opportunities.
Now, as a counselor to current students, she helps Southwestern’s future lawyers find their place among the breadth of legal career options. We asked her to share about what makes her job meaningful, and what advice she’d give to those considering law school.
What inspired you to join Southwestern's Career Services Office?
I was always that law student who was like, "oh my gosh, you have to go to this networking event, make sure you turn your resume in for OCI," and all of those things. So, when I discovered that there was a full-time, permanent position in the Career Services Office, I thought to myself, "this is perfect," because I was already that person who was taking advantage of CSO programming, and I wanted to help the next group of aspiring attorneys find their dream jobs.
How important is it that entering students take early advantage of Career Services' opportunities and events?
Hugely important! First, CSO supports you with the fundamentals: preparing your resume and administering a personalized cover letter review, so you're fully prepared to submit all of the applications you'll be sending throughout law school.
Often, students arrive in law school unsure of the professional path they'd like to take. To help students find their legal calling, we host a slate of networking events throughout the year. These events feature accomplished alums across a breadth of legal areas who will meet you, take you through their path to getting the job, and offer guidance on the skills you'll need to develop to land the career you want. You'll get to interact with and seek advice from these incredibly successful alums who have networked their way into these amazing positions—everything from Big Law to Netflix to Disney.
It is also common to change your mind about the area of law you'd like to pursue as you progress through the law school experience. We recommend that students attend our lunchtime talks - you won't be missing class, and there is often free food! It's a simple way to explore different areas of the legal profession without really compromising your study schedule or imposing on your life outside of law school.
How does CSO accommodate part-time and non-traditional students whose schedules may prohibit them from taking advantage of daytime events and opportunities?
Inclusivity is paramount in Career Services. We have a designated counselor who keeps office hours designed to accommodate our non-traditional learners and part-time students - they are even available during weekends!
With our events, It can occasionally be challenging to get attorneys to participate in an evening panel, so in instances where we can't host an event at an hour amenable to our part-time population, we record the lunch hour event for later viewing.
Can you share any recent CSO success stories?
Here's a big one - Southwestern dominates the American Board of Trial Advocates Fellowship program. ABOTA is a very cool organization - big on civility in law, emphasizing that attorneys should be kind to each other, even opposing counsel. Of about 15 fellows in Southern California, Southwestern students land about 7-10 of these coveted fellowships every year. The program is fantastic - each fellow spends the first month supporting a civil defense firm, the second in a civil plaintiff's firm, and the final month shadowing a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, both in the courtroom and in chambers. Fellows almost always receive job offers from one of the host firm placements.
Tell us about the role that alums play in helping students with their careers? What support programs exist for graduates who want to take their degree beyond California?
We have a vast, accomplished alumni network across the country who've cultivated and cemented Southwestern's reputation in the legal academy - we're a great law school that graduates practice-ready attorneys, prepared to hit the ground running the moment they land a job. As a Southwestern student, you have full access to the power of our alumni base. We offer an alumni resource network on Simplicity, our job database, where students can contact alumni mentors and experience a day-in-the-life with a mentor, chat over coffee, attend an event together. It's all about networking!
For students looking to move and practice outside of California, we offer lots of support. CSO will connect you with alumni in the area you seek to move to ensure that a Southwestern alum supports you, and we also have a reciprocity program with partner law schools. We connect them with our counterparts at a school local to the alums destination, who are more plugged into the local job market.
What advice do you have for prospective law students regarding their career outcomes? How can they start preparing now for the job they want once they graduate?
Start researching as soon as you can, even before law school, and network, network, network. Attorneys and judges are much more willing to meet you when you're a student, or even a prospective student, than they will be when you're an alum. Networking as an alum, folks often think you're just looking for a job!
Attend those admissions events and talk to current students. These activities will form the foundation of that network that you're building. And that network is going to be so crucial in getting a job.
What is your top tip for job-seeking students?
We say that you should "reverse engineer LinkedIn." So, you find somebody that's doing exactly what you want to do (bonus points if they're a Southwestern alum!) and then reverse engineer it by figuring out where they interned, where they started, how they got their job. And if you can't figure it out directly, you can message them through LinkedIn and be like, "I am so impressed by your path. How did you get there?"
You're not only a Southwestern staff member but a graduate as well! What inspired you to enroll at Southwestern?
I had lived in Los Angeles for about a decade when I decided to go to law school. I was looking at different schools, considering my options, seeking a place where I felt, "hey, I'm excited to show up here every day for the next three years." When I visited Southwestern, I recall walking between buildings and seeing a student go right up to a faculty member and greet them -"Oh hi, professor," and I was like, "Wow, you're not afraid of each other!" Everybody is so cordial here. Everyone says hello and smiles and is so personable; there is a real sense of community here. I knew then that I had found the place I was looking for. And then obviously, I liked it so much I never left.