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Career Advice From Earlier Recession Veterans

January 05, 2010 – 
In January 1993 Associate Dean Fran Bouchoux returned to her alma mater to find numerous members of the graduating class without jobs, ’92 graduates still looking, and a far from robust outlook for the second-year class. The early ’90s “legal recession” was in full swing and employment numbers wouldn’t start to look better until 1994.

As Assistant Dean and Director of Career Services, Bouchoux counseled flexibility and persistence. Gary Schuler, who wanted to do corporate transactional work but was without a job offer at his 1993 graduation, twice followed her advice – first that he pursue a clerkship and then that he accept an opening at a firm for a litigator. Eight months later, the firm reassigned him to its transactional practice.

The willingness to pursue unanticipated opportunities paid off for other Rutgers School of Law–Newark graduates from that earlier recession. Laura Tharney had a job offer rescinded the week she graduated in 1991. She cobbled together contract assignments, taught criminal law at night at a local college, and got experience doing legal work she never expected to do. Given the predicament of many in the Class of 1991, Grayson Barber felt lucky to land a federal clerkship when she graduated, even at 40 percent less than the full-time job she held while a law student.

The perspective of Dean Bouchoux and the initially insecure yet ultimately successful career paths of Schuler, Tharney and Barber are included in the January 2010 ABA Journal article “When the Detour Becomes the Destination: How 5 grads survived a recession — and how you can too.”