Amy Sladczyk Hancock
Allison Hickey Regan
Oct. 7, 2015 - Andrews Kurth has partnered with the University of Houston Law Center's Office of Career Development to develop and deliver an inaugural, mandatory professional development curriculum for the entire 1L class.
The Passport to Success program was the brain child of Amy Sladczyk Hancock, director of Attorney Professional Development at Andrews Kurth, and UHLC Assistant Dean Allison Hickey Regan. Hancock is chair of the Professional Development Consortium, the preeminent attorney professional development-related organization, and a member of the National Association for Legal Career Professionals. Regan is the 2015-2016 member-elected Southwest law school representative to NALP’s annual conference planning committee.
"I commend Assistant Dean Regan and UHLC for being a pioneer and excellent partner for us to deliver these critical skills to law students wanting to distinguish themselves in a competitive legal market, as far as legal employment opportunities are concerned,” Hancock said. “A prospective law student deciding between UHLC and other institutions would be wise to select the law school willing to go the extra mile to ensure they will stand out and later succeed in their chosen careers. With the offering of a program like the Passport to Success Professional Development Series, UHLC has proven they are that institution.”
The innovative Passport to Success program consists of six learning sessions that are designed to address facets of new attorney professionalism most sought after by legal employers. The series includes four mandatory and two optional sessions for 1Ls. The sessions are being taught by nationally known industry experts along with distinguished UHLC alumni and Andrews Kurth professionals.
The first session, "The Map to Career Success," was held on Sept. 19 at the University Center Ballroom on the UH main campus. The program featured a workshop taught by former judge and Andrews Kurth alum, Reece Rondon, on various legal practice areas; a panel led by past and present judicial interns,clerks and briefing attorneys; and a session on tips for successful networking strategies.
The day concluded with an exciting, interactive opportunity for the students to practice their newly-gained networking skills, which was facilitated by more than 30 licensed attorneys in the greater Houston area, many of whom were also UHLC alums.
"Passport to Success was a really great opportunity to see how I can further my career outside of a classroom setting,” said Erin Kaufmann, a first-year student “I definitely have a better understanding of what I can do now as a 1L that will help me meet my career goals later on.”
“Session I of the Passport to Success series was an exciting opportunity to officially start our legal careers,” said Carson Severson. “Not only did it provide insightful information on the different avenues that law can take you, but it also allowed students to exercise valuable networking skills while interacting with prominent, practicing attorneys in the Houston area. These conversations were inspiring and truly give the students something to strive toward in the demanding law school environment.
“I am looking forward to the rest of the series,” he added, “and also thankful for the Career Development Office and Andrews Kurth’s dedication in planning these events.”
Regan considers the inaugural program an unqualified success. “One of the most common messages we get from employers is a desire for students who can converse competently and navigate knowledgeably through the world of practicing law,” she said, “Working with Andrews Kurth and trusted industry professionals, we have designed the Passport to Success curriculum to support our goal of developing professionals who are truly ready for practice.
“The mission of the Career Development Office is to prepare our students to be both compelling candidates and consummate professionals,” she continued. “Through this series, our expectation is that UHLC students will better understand their legal career choices and will develop skills such as networking and the art of effective communication to help them shine as young professionals. We are convinced that students who attend all six sessions will have a competitive advantage when starting their careers.”