Alum Commits to Hiring Only Southwestern Students and Grads
Like all of us, Cindy Johnson knew that the difficult economic times were affecting employment opportunities for law students and graduates. A 2000 graduate and devoted supporter of Southwestern, she wanted to give back in a meaningful way. So this summer, instead of hiring just one Southwestern law clerk as originally planned, she hired four. She also made a commitment -- from now on she's hiring only Southwestern students and grads.
"I knew the job market was tough out there," Ms. Johnson said when asked about her decision to hire four Southwestern students. "I wanted to give back, and this was an easy way to make an immediate difference. I also wanted to help train students in what it means to really practice law at a high level."
And what a difference she has made. The Cindy Johnson Law Group hired Michael Friedman '13, Dennis Szafran '14, Jeremy Swartz '14, and Lilith Mansuryan '14 to help assist with cases, and in turn, provide them with valuable experience.
Jeremy Swartz, who just completed his first year at Southwestern, said the clerkship has been amazing. "Cindy provided me with a wonderful opportunity. Cindy is an exceptional attorney, who really takes the time to mentor us, and this summer I've learned so much. My experience has been so different from friends from other law schools who are clerking. They tell me they rarely get the kind of detailed feedback and hands-on training that Cindy provides every day."
When asked why her firm will hire only Southwestern students and graduates, Ms. Johnson responded quickly. "It's obvious, isn't it? Why wouldn't I? I want students who will roll up their sleeves, dig in, and work hard. I need clerks with lots of integrity, who are creative and smart, but who also are professional and want to practice law. That's the definition of a Southwestern student. And in this economy, there's no reason to consider students from other law schools. This summer couldn't have gone better. The four students I hired are on fire, doing a fantastic job!"
Interim Dean Austen Parrish praised Ms. Johnson for her loyalty and commitment. "Nothing speaks louder than the symbolism of a Southwestern alum hiring Southwestern students and being a mentor to them. It's particularly important in these tough economic times. Cindy Johnson gets that. She understands why hiring only Southwestern students makes such a difference. She's been a kind friend to the school, and we're so thankful for her generosity."
Dean Parrish went on to emphasize the importance of Ms. Johnson's contribution. "Southwestern graduates are some of the finest lawyers in Los Angeles. As part of our mission to graduate students who are more practice-ready than graduates from other schools, there's no better training than having successful alum take students under their wings and provide them a window into what practice is really like. I know Jeremy, Dennis, Michael and Lilith will be better attorneys because of their experience working with Cindy. And that's important too."
Click here to read more about the Interim Clerkship Program.
Front Row (L-R): William Kay ‘09, Interim Dean Austen Parrish, Cindy Johnson
Middle Row (L-R): Lilith Mansuryan ‘14, Michael Friedman ‘13, Amy Hernandez, Associate Dean,
Institutional Advancement Deb Leathers, Director, Institutional Advancement Joan Bautista
Back Row (L-R): Dennis Szafran’14, Jeremy Swartz ‘14
Click here to submit and Interim Clerkship Position.