From Dean Sager, on the UT Law website
There is much more to talk about, but I want to turn to a less academic aspect of the economic downturn. We are relatively lucky: the economic situation in Texas is better than most of the nation; and, on the whole, our students are successful in the job market, even in these hard times. But there is no ducking the fact that the students who walked across the stage in this year’s Sunflower Ceremony are having more trouble finding good jobs. And internships for our 1Ls and 2Ls are becoming scarcer; indeed, Texas Lawyer reports that the big Texas law firms are offering 27% fewer summer associate positions in 2009 as compared to 2008. We need your help with finding opportunities for our students. More specifically, I want to ask you to:
The economy and the employment picture put one other new program at UT Law into the spotlight. Last summer, on an experimental basis, we introduced our Career Launch Program. We offered to students who were not employed as of the time of the bar examination, placements as interns in governmental and public interest law offices for the period between the exam in August and the announcement of the results of the exam in November; and we provided each intern with a $6,000 stipend to help ends meet during that period. About 30 students enrolled in the Career Launch Program, and the results of the experiment were terrific. About half of the students were hired by the employer with whom they were placed in as interns; and almost all of the remaining students, bolstered by their experience and resulting recommendations, found good jobs.
The career launch program now enjoys an endowment, and a new name: The Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Career Launch Program at the UT School of Law. We expect the cost of the program to soar on account of the economy. In all probability, the number of students who participate will double…it could even triple. But for the great generosity of Joe and Terry Long, we couldn’t possibly meet this demand. As it is, we will have to scramble to find the resources to fully fund the program this summer.
Even with the challenges arising from the global economic crisis in which we now find ourselves, this is a wonderful moment at a wonderful law school—at your law school. Nationally, there is a buzz about UT Law. (Indeed, we’ve gone up one spot in the rankings, but I don’t plan to crow about that until we are firmly in the top 10, where we belong!)