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The Justice & Diversity Center

1L Open Doors Job Shadow Program

1L Spring Break Job Shadow Program (3/4/19—3/6/19)

Sponsored by the Bar Association of San Francisco, Golden Gate University School of Law and UC Hastings College of the Law

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate school contacts (listed below).

Aimed at opening doors of opportunity for diverse law students, Open Doors strives to help 1L law students enrolled in San Francisco law schools jumpstart their professional development through early, day-to-day immersion in dynamic legal organizations.  In its third year, Open Doors started with 17 employers participating and grew to over 45 in 2016 from the private, public, corporate, and nonprofit sectors.

The Bar Association of San Francisco, University of San Francisco School of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, and Golden Gate University School of Law believe that early exposure to practitioners and professional environments is essential to launching students’ career advancement. The Open Doors program seeks to facilitate that key step.


Frequently asked questions about the program:

What is the Program?  A job shadowing program during law school Spring Break to give first-year law students an inside view into the daily lives of lawyers and how a successful legal organization functions. Given the challenging changes in the entry-level labor market, the Program strives to help 1Ls jumpstart their professional development through early immersion in dynamic legal organizations. The Program especially seeks to include students who may have had limited prior exposure to professional settings, either personally or through friends and family. 

When is the Program? The first three days of Spring Break, March 4th to 6th, 2019. (See below for schedule details.) 

How do students get to participate? 1Ls from the participating schools will be invited to submit an application describing their interest in participation.  Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and inclusion. 

What type of organizations can serve as Program hosts? Host organizations include private law firms, non-profit public interest organizations, in-house legal departments, government agencies and courts. 

How are students matched with hosts? Once selected, students will indicate preference of the categories of employers listed above. The students will then be assigned a placement based on those preferences and availability, as well as other information provided in their applications. The Program is not designed such that each student will be guaranteed an assignment to an organization that matches his/her primary area of career interest, although the Program strives to assign students to a host from a preferred category. Instead, students will be able to learn about competency, professionalism, and how a legal organization operates in any of the assignments. 

Will I meet our student before the Program begins? Yes! Participating employers will be sent an email introducing your student as well as his or her resume. You will then separately be connected to the student via email so that you can provide any information needed about timing, logistics, confidentiality agreement (see below), etc. The students will review information on your website to familiarize themselves with the organization. In addition, you could also provide via email (or mail) any background material on your organization you think might be useful for the student to review (annual report, recent articles, organizational charts, etc.). 
Do hosts need to provide transportation to the students? No, the students are responsible for getting to and from their hosts. However, if you have special company transportation available, feel free to let your student know about it. 

What should students do at the host organizations?  The students should participate in a range of shadowing and interactive activities that give them a sense of both what it means to be a successful professional in the organization and how the organization operates. The students will not be undertaking work assignments, such as research and writing or administrative tasks. See below for detailed suggestions of what type of activities the organization could consider including in the student’s schedule. 

Are students paid to participate? Do they receive academic credit? No, and no. Unlike an internship, an externship (for academic credit), or a job, the students do not perform work for the host organization during this Program. Instead they will shadow, observe and interact with the attorneys and other employees of the organization.  We are happy to discuss further any related questions hosts may have. 

How do we ensure that students maintain the confidentiality of information they are exposed to at our organization?  In the Program Orientation, the organizers will discuss the crucial nature of maintaining the confidentiality of information the students may encounter during the Program. The students will also sign a general participation agreement with each school that confirms they will maintain appropriate professional conduct and that they will abide by any restrictions placed on them by their host organizations. Host organizations are encouraged to determine if they would like to have students sign a confidentiality agreement, which could be accomplished either via email before the student’s arrival or upon arrival. This decision is left to the host organization. We can provide samples shared by fellow host organizations of confidentiality agreements they use with volunteers that may provide some assistance for hosts in drafting their own, as desired. We are happy to discuss any further questions you may have about confidentiality. 

Who organized this Program? The Program has been organized as a collaboration between the Bar Association of San Francisco and the participating schools, with a Leadership Committee. 



When is the 2019 Open Doors Program?  The Program is from Monday, March 4th through Wednesday, March 6th, 2019.

When do students arrive at the host organizations? The students should arrive at the hosts the morning of Monday, March 4th (some hosts opt to have the student start Monday mid-day depending on their activities).  

How long will the students stay at the host organizations? The students should stay at the organizations for the work day on Monday, Tuesday, and for the work day Wednesday, until it is time to leave for the thank-you reception. (See below). The timing is not meant to be rigid, but to conform to what works for the host organizations. There are no strict time requirements for the students, so starting and ending times can be determined by the host. 

Will we have a chance to meet the other student participants, host organizations, and the Leadership Committee? Yes! Representatives from your organization are cordially invited to join the student participants, the host employers and the Leadership Committee for a thank-you celebration in downtown San Francisco on March 6th. Exact details to follow, but the reception will likely be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.. 

Do the hosts have any obligations following Wednesday, March 6th? No, however we will look forward to following up in the weeks after the Program to secure feedback on what worked and what needs to be improved for next year’s Program. We will also encourage the student guests to maintain contact with their hosts. 


Potential Activities

What is the overall goal of the activities the students should undertake? The overall goal of the activities is to expose the students to what it takes to be a successful professional within your organization, how professionals within your organization contribute to the organization’s mission, and how the organization operates. We understand that students are only with you for a little less than three full days, which is a short period. And we also understand that each organization is different, and depending on the timing of cases, projects, deals, etc., different exposure activities will be possible. But any activities that contribute to this overall goal will be worthwhile for the students, and so variance in student experiences need not be a concern. 

Does the student need to shadow one attorney? No, shadowing one attorney is not required, and likely might be difficult for the attorney and not conducive to broadly exposing the student to the organization. However, assigning the student one attorney or other employee who could serve as the main contact would be helpful. That way if the student has any questions or the schedule of activities needs to be changed, the student knows whom to contact. 

What are some possible activities the students might do? There are a wide range of shadowing and interactive activities the students can do. The list below includes ideas we have devised, as well as ones that were suggested during the host conference calls. It is certainly not exhaustive, so please feel free to get creative!

  • Informational interviews with attorneys of different levels (20-45 mins suggested) to discuss the attorneys’ career steps, current work, role within the organization, and advice to aspiring attorneys 
  • Sitting in on client meeting or call (or a meeting/call with outside counsel) 
  • Observing part of a deposition
  • Observing an administrative or court argument, trial or other hearing
  • Sitting in on a case/deal/project/policy team meeting
  • Prior to one of these observations, reviewing key documents, briefs, deal papers, etc. that are to be discussed
  • After any of these observations, discussing it with one of the attorneys participating or with another attorney who attended
  • Skimming a case or deal file with a junior attorney to understand its component parts and the progress of the matter
  • Sitting in on a pitch meeting
  • Participating in a group lunch with a few attorneys
  • Attending any activities the organization is hosting, such as CLEs, trainings, or social events
  • Learning about pro bono work the organization undertakes
  • Participating in a mock interview and then receiving tips and feedback
  • Conducting an informational interview with an attorney who is responsible for hiring to secure advice on becoming a successful candidate
  • Discussing with an established attorney how the attorney networks, builds business or support for the organization, and participates in the broader legal community 
  • Hearing an overview of the organizational structure of the organization
  • Taking a tour of the organization’s facilities and departments
  • Getting a birds-eye summary of the financial operations of the organization 
  • Learning in brief about the key metrics that the organization/department uses to measure success 
  • Going over a brief review of business obligations of junior attorneys, such as billing time
  • Getting an introduction to the key technologies used by the organization for internal functioning (for example, a knowledge management system)
  • Meeting with staff members (paralegals, legal secretaries, docket clerks, investigators, etc.) to understand their part of the organizations’ success
  • Meeting with HR representative to learn about the role of HR and get advice on being a successful candidate

Can I consult with someone on the potential schedule for our student’s activities? Certainly! We would be happy to discuss ideas with you.  

Program Contacts
UC Hastings College of the Law:
Amy Kimmel, Director for Employer Relations

Golden Gate University School of Law:
Neva L. Tassan, Associate Dean of Career Services


List of 2018 Employer Hosts
AIDS Legal Referral Panel
Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Bank of the West
California Court of Appeals (Justice Jenkins and Justice Streeter)
California Public Utilities Commission
Charles Schwab
Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass 
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office
Contra Costa County Public Defender
Davis Wright Tremaine
Golden State Warriors
Habeas Corpus Resource Center
Homeless Action Center
Kaiser Permanente
Keker, Van Nest & Peters
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein
Marin County Public Defender's Office
McDermott Will & Emery
Medina Orthwein
Nassiri & Jung
Open Door Legal
Postal Inspector’s Office
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila
Rogers Joseph & O'Donnell
Sanford Heisler 
San Francisco District Attorney's Office
San Francisco Public Defender's Office
San Francisco Superior Court (Judge Flores, Judge Hite and Judge Torpoco)
Santa Clara Superior Court (Judge Kulkarni)
Schiff Hardin
Seyfarth Shaw
Sheppard Mullin
Supervisor Tang's Office - Board of Supervisors 
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Judge Armstrong and Judge James)
The Veen Firm


If you would like to serve as an employer host or if you would like more information, please contact