Pace Law School’s New Directions Program to Graduate Inaugural Class of “Come-Back Lawyers”

White Plains, November 20, 2007 – Pace Law School’s New Directions Program will be graduating its first class of lawyers ready to re-enter the workforce on December 4, 2007, at the Law School’s campus in White Plains. Consisting of 12 women and one man, class participants ranged from still maintaining a solo practice while in the program to being on hiatus from practice from seven to over 20 years.

Pace Law School, in collaboration with the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, developed this innovative new program to facilitate attorneys’ efforts to return to the legal marketplace. New Directions is a two-semester, three-part bridge program designed to give lawyers the substantive law updates, professional skills, and the practical experience they need to return to the legal workforce.

“I am very proud to have been involved in the first East Coast law school program of this kind,” said Amy Gewirtz, associate director of alumni counseling and relations at Pace Law School and one of the program’s creators. “I felt that filling this need would be something that would be both challenging and exciting in developing such a program for attorneys who … have left the profession and are looking to get a foothold back in after an absence.”

One of these attorneys is Amy Liss, 53, a 1979 graduate of Duke Law School. Prior to the decision to stay home with her three children, she’d been an in-house counsel, plus an associate at two corporate law firms. Once her youngest entered high school, Liss was ready to return to work and participated in the New Directions program to facilitate that move. After completing the first two parts of the program, she worked three days a week for her externship as assistant to the in-house counsel at the Juilliard School of Music.

Along with Liss, inaugural participants included law graduates from Pace, Albany, Boston University, Brooklyn, Columbia, New York Law School, St. John’s University, Temple, and the University of Virginia. Before taking a break from practice, several worked in large New York City law firms, smaller law firms, or had their own practices, of which some continue to pursue currently.  Others have served as a law clerk for a judge, worked in local and state or government positions, and as in-house counsel. As part of the program, they worked as externs in law firms, with a judge, in nonprofit organizations, government, and New York City cultural institutions.

Applications are now being accepted for the next program on a rolling basis, with a suggested deadline of April 1, 2008. The program will begin on May 19, 2008, with a weeklong “boot-camp” designed to refresh lawyers’ skills with the basic tools of the job market. Classroom work will begin on June 3 and will run through August 14, 2008. Classes will be held twice weekly, once on Tuesday morning from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM and once on Thursday evening from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. The ten-week externship will begin after Labor Day. It is anticipated that the externships will require a commitment of approximately 15 hours per week. For more information, email Amy Gewirtz at agewirtz@law.pace.edu.

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has nearly 6,500 alumni/ae throughout the country. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY campus. The School also offers the Master of Laws in Environmental Law and in Comparative Legal Studies. The School, which has one of the nation’s top-rated environmental law programs, also offers the SJD program in that field. The School of Law is part of a comprehensive, independent, and diversified University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu.

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