UnitedLex partners with law schools to give new grads work experience
UnitedLex—a legal services outsourcing firm with 22 centers of operation worldwide, including North America, the United Kingdom, Israel and India—is supporting a legal residency program at five law schools that allows recent law graduates to work with corporate legal departments and law firms. The two-year program places graduates squarely in the worlds of litigation management, e-discovery, contract management, intellectual property, cybersecurity, compliance, ethics and immigration law.
Daniel Reed, CEO of UnitedLex, says it is reasonable to ask “why is it that law schools do not have similar types of residency training programs as found in medical and engineering schools? Those schools are progressive in how they interact with their respective professions.
“Traditionally, law schools have been less aggressive in partnering with the commercial world to provide students every possible advantage. The time is now for change.”
UnitedLex partners with six law schools in the program. The initial four are Emory University School of Law, the University of Miami School of Law, the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. The University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law became the fifth site in November; Notre Dame Law School became the sixth in January. (Editor’s note: The announcement of Notre Dame’s participation was made after the February issue went to press.)
Stephen Shaw graduated from the Florida law school and joined the UnitedLex residency program in September 2013. He now works at UnitedLex as a project manager embedded at the Sedgwick law firm.
“I’ve not only learned the complexities of e-discovery,” Shaw says, “but also developed people-management skills overseeing attorneys. I interface with partners, associates and clients on a daily basis.”
Cassandra Groves entered a UnitedLex residency after graduating from Moritz law school in May 2013. “In this program, you get an intensive, hands-on training that you don’t receive in law school,” she says. “I’m now managing my own client accounts, and I worked with the UnitedLex office in India on behalf of a client in the U.K. You learn very quickly and learn to manage things on your own. You also learn how to work collaboratively with others in a team-oriented environment.”
UnitedLex residency training consists of a litigation core curriculum, an advanced core curriculum, advanced discipline training modules, practicums and certifications. Residents learn the basics of e-discovery, computer forensics, the dangers of cyberthreats, patent licensing and how to avoid malpractice claims.
“The curriculum is challenging and mind-expanding,” says Shaw. “I developed whole new skill sets and learned a whole new language.”
Robb Hern, director of global litigation services, oversees training at UnitedLex’s Columbus, Ohio, facility. “I teach classroom-style courses in e-discovery and a class on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as part of the core curriculum,” he says. “But we then incorporate our residents into actual cases. Nothing beats real-case exposure. Because of our diversity of clients and capital investment, we have a broad range of exposure and serve different industries.”
Many senior executives at UnitedLex teach the residents, and some also teach as adjuncts at the participating law schools.
The law schools say they welcome the residency program because of the benefits it will bestow on their graduates.
“The legal residency program is an innovative and exciting program that offers a select group of graduates a pipeline to employment at the intersection of law, data and technology,” says Chris Guthrie, dean of Vanderbilt Law School. “The program places graduates at the center of innovation in the delivery of legal services.”
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: “Legal Residency: UnitedLex partners with law schools to give new grads work experience.”
CorrectionDue to an editing error, the print and initial online versions of “Legal Residency,” February, misidentifies legal services outsourcing firm UnitedLex as a law firm.
The Journal regrets the error.