If you are looking to get involved with TCDLA please look no further than the Law School Committee and their now annual Interactive Career Pathways Event, which will be held this year on February 26, 2022, via Zoom. For all the work that can be done by any of the members to help make TCDLA a stronger organization, this committee may be the most rewarding and it’s fun. The Law School Committee is chaired by Anne Burnham. She has worked to put together an event that connects current law school students and current attorneys who have been practicing for five years or less and interested in entering criminal defense, with our own criminal practitioners. The format of the event is really the best part because it allows those students and young lawyers to get to break out into small groups and talk to TCDLA lawyers about practicing in a specific geographical area and also about handling specific types of cases. I, not surprisingly, am the odd ball of the Committee as I volunteered to be the liaison for my law school alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. But, every single one of the Texas law schools has a liaison on the Law School committee as well, and those liaisons are in charge of recruiting students from the respective law schools to attend the event by working with the criminal law faculty, the career development staff, or any criminal clinic attorneys.
I have to admit, I was a little bit worried about getting in contact with some of my former professors and giving them my song and dance routine about who I was, if they didn’t remember, and why I was contacting them. To my surprise it was easy. Many of them remembered me, and making contact again was neat enough. But the real reward was getting to reach out and connect with law students who have a hunger for the work that we do every day and giving them a pathway to a career in this wonderful work. Although I was really only signing up to help Anne with recruiting students for last year’s event, it has turned into a mentor-type program with many of the students who signed up from OU. I have been able to give real-world career advice to those students who aren’t going to practice at the big law firms. Getting to assist in creating the excitement in finding career placement for students has been such a pleasant surprise and brings me my own sense of helping to build the future of TCDLA.
We all went to law school, and I would imagine we all have some contact at our respective law schools. Most importantly, we can all provide assistance and advice to students who have an interest in criminal defense. Don’t be shy, please reach out to the TCDLA home office and get involved with the Law School Committee.