August 19, 2013

Resident Associate Mentor Program (RAMP) to provide new lawyers with one-year Resident Associate jobs in small and medium-sized law firms and corporate legal departments

For Immediate Release

August 19, 2013 – NEW YORK, NY – Cardozo School of Law has announced its new Resident Associate Mentor Program (RAMP), which will offer recent Cardozo graduates an opportunity for a full-time associate position at small and medium-sized firms as well as corporate legal departments for one year post-graduation. The firms and businesses will hire recent law school graduates as Resident Associates at a salary similar to a fellowship. Participating employers will make a commitment to train and mentor the Resident Associate for one year. In addition, the law school will provide professional development opportunities for the new lawyers.

Resident Associates are expected to begin their new positions on October 1. An initial eleven firms and businesses with alumni connections to the school have agreed to participate. They encompass a diverse group of specialties, including commercial litigation; intellectual property; bankruptcy; personal injury; real estate; and trusts and estates. Others are actively considering this opportunity.

“We recognize the need for a new approach to the problem of transitioning new lawyers into practice,” said Cardozo Dean Matthew Diller. “This partnership with firms and businesses introduces a model similar to a medical residency, providing on-the-job training and experience in a structured and supported way.”

Recent Cardozo graduates can apply to RAMP and interview with participating firms and businesses for the Resident Associate jobs.

Employers who participate commit to hiring a recent graduate for one year, providing a full-time associate experience that is crucial to building a legal career. The Resident Associates will be paid a salary of up to $43,000—starting at $38,000, with an optional $5,000 salary increase after bar exam passage or admission to the bar. Resident Associates will gain invaluable early career experience working with clients of the firm or business. Marcia Levy, Associate Dean of the Office of Career Services, will head the program.

“We have analyzed the various approaches to the challenges presented by today’s job market, and I believe there is an enormous upside to using a medical residency model,” said Dean Levy. “It is critical that every graduate have the opportunity to work and develop the skills they need to be effective lawyers. The beauty of the residency model is that it gives recent graduates who are interested in practicing in small or medium-sized firms or in corporate legal departments the opportunity to start working right away, thereby gaining the needed experience, training and support necessary to developing their skills and professional identity.”

The hiring process will be coordinated by Cardozo's experienced career counselors, who will meet individually with recent graduates and employers to match skills and interests to positions in specific practice areas. The employer will make the ultimate hiring decision.

“This is a terrific way of integrating Cardozo students with Cardozo alumni,” said Mark Yagerman ’79, Chair of the Cardozo Law Alumni Association Executive Committee. “These employers would otherwise not be hiring. RAMP provides small and medium-sized firms with an opportunity to hire at a cost that makes it affordable. For recent graduates, it is a great foundation for their careers.” 

Cardozo will offer free CLE opportunities to all employers participating in RAMP. In addition, ongoing training for Resident Associates will be provided in conjunction with the Office of Career Service’s new Center for Professional Development, which is aimed at helping students and recent graduates develop the professional and business skills necessary to become effective lawyers.

In recent years, Cardozo has undertaken a series of initiatives to address the changes in the legal landscape. The school has dramatically expanded its clinical, skills and professional development programs. RAMP complements these efforts by connecting recent graduates to employment in settings where they will benefit from mentorship and training.

While Cardozo Law is very hopeful RAMP will provide graduates with an additional entry point into the current job market, the school recognizes this is only one tool and it will not fit everyone’s needs. In addition to RAMP, Cardozo offers a wide variety of programs to help recent graduates gain employment. These include loan forgiveness for those going into public service, as well as the Bridge-to-Practice Fellowship Program.