With the help of Colorado Law’s faculty and by taking advantage of the career development office, Beth Ann Lennon gained both skills and a professional network to launch her career. She currently works for Sherman & Howard's labor and employment law department.
Tell us a little about your work. What do you do, and what might a “typical” workday look like?
I work for Sherman & Howard's labor and employment law department and get to work on everything from active litigation to advisory work to contract and policy drafting. The majority of my work involves defending against employment or labor law claims before administrative agencies and in federal court. The partners I work with emphasize giving me ownership over the matters I'm working on, meaning I regularly get opportunities to head out of my office for things like depositions and court hearings. That being said, I have plenty of legal writing and research to do on any given day for everything from discovery to memos for clients and partners to motions practice. The best thing about my "typical" workday is the variety I have in what I am doing.
How did you find your job?
Two members of my department, Bill Wright and Vance Knapp, taught a class at Colorado Law my third year called The Practice of Labor and Employment Law. They were extremely approachable and, knowing I was interested in practicing in this area, offered to assist me in my job search. Although Sherman & Howard did not have anything available when I first graduated, they encouraged me to consider the firm as one of my options. When a position did become available, they supported me through the application process and sold me on the idea of Sherman & Howard as a great place for a young attorney.
How did Colorado Law help you in your job search?
Colorado Law was amazing at providing me with the resources I needed to find employment. In addition to bringing practicing attorneys like Bill and Vance into the classroom, I had great relationships with several professors who actively worked to assist me in my job search. Obviously, the Career Development Office was also a great resource, providing me with guidance as I explored the different options available in the field I was interested in pursuing.
What skills do you utilize on a daily basis and how did your experiences or courses at Colorado Law help you develop these skills?
As mentioned above, there is not a day that I don't rely on my legal research and writing skills. Additionally, I think basic analytical/critical thinking is pivotal to effectively doing my job. These skills are built into the majority of the classes I took while a law student. Another skill that I developed outside the classroom at Colorado Law that has served me well is my networking and social philanthropy aptitude. I would not be where I am today if it weren't for these skills and the many opportunities Colorado Law offers outside of the classroom to hone them.
Please talk a little about “people skills” and networking specifically. How has your professional network made a difference in your career?
After graduation, I left Colorado for a clerkship in Alaska and was gone for two years. During that time, I had an amazing professional network of individuals back in Colorado who were committed to my success. It was because of this network that I was able to so easily come back to Colorado and work on building the career I have today.
What advice would you give to current students with respect to finding a job?
You have to take responsibility for your job search. While Colorado Law has great resources available to you, these resources are only as helpful as you make them. No one will hand you a job—it is on you to seek out opportunities and utilize the resources available to you. Finally, don't forget that a good job search takes time. Start early and be willing to explore your options.
If you were to recommend Colorado Law to a potential law student, what would you say?
Colorado Law has the best of both worlds—its smaller size gives you access to your peers and professors in a way you won't have at a larger institution, while its reputation and commitment to excellence is that of a much larger institution. Plus, you get to go to school in Boulder, Colorado, where there is plenty of fun and adventures to be had outside of the classroom.
Why did you choose Colorado Law?
After extensive research, we had narrowed it down to a few options; however, Colorado Law won out when we visited and it just felt like it fit. Sometimes you have to go with your gut.