Charlotte School of Law: Unlocking Human Potential

Recently, we had one of our student workers scan through previous blog content and choose a few of the ones she found most helpful as a current Charlotte Law student.  We’ll be re-posting this content throughout the summer so it’s readily available to all of our incoming and returning students for Fall of 2015.  This post originally ran in March of 2015.

The Charlotte School of Law has an overriding purpose: to unlock human potential. Our immediate task is to educate students, in particular so that they can succeed in law school, on the bar examination, and in their chosen careers. But we carry out our educational activities with an eye toward the larger purpose. We identify students who have the potential to learn and succeed more broadly and we tailor comprehensive programs to build on that potential. Thus, we have a growing Honors Program; a large Student Success department; wellness counselors; programs to engender grit, self-awareness, and professionalism; and so much more.

I came to Charlotte as Dean two years ago, in large part because of the commitment to unlocking human potential. (This is a very fundamental commitment; we are also committed to unlocking the potential of our faculty and staff.) I also came for our commitment to the unceasing improvement of our programs, services, and outcomes. No person is or ever will be perfect, but every person can become better and better in personal and professional ways. In the same way, no organization is or ever will be perfect. But the more the organization understands the need for constant improvement, the better it can be in providing value, satisfaction, and success for the persons it serves.

Continuous improvement in law schools is more important today than it was even ten years ago. It is also more difficult. Legal education has long been premised on assumptions about what colleges teach and assess in the areas of writing, critical reading, and personal management; on what students teach themselves; on the nature of jobs in the legal services field; on what employers look for in graduates; and on what bar examiners test. Many of these assumptions are no longer wholly valid. Other changes in the environment are equally dramatic. Nationally, the number of applicants to law school has been declining for five years. Nationally, first-time bar passage rates have been declining (for reasons that are not clear). And both law and legal education are becoming increasingly internationalized, with respect to students, programs, and services. For law schools, adaptation and improvement is essential.

The Charlotte School of Law is continually addressing these challenges and is ever alert to opportunities. For example, we systematically concern ourselves with writing skills. We are currently developing methods for rigorously assessing writing competency and potential for improvement in applicants; expanding our introductory writing program; increasing the ongoing assessment of writing in doctrinal courses; and proving added support for student who need enrichment. Similarly, we are in the midst of a comprehensive project to strengthen the development of competencies required for success on the bar examination. This project reaches from the beginning of the first year through the day of the bar examination itself. We are expanding our opportunities for pro bono service, both in Charlotte and around the world. For example, this month we are launching a new project of pro bono service for our students in Haiti. We are also alert to changes in the legal services field. For example, this summer we are starting a new program in corporate compliance that will provide both knowledge and competitive advantage in this rapidly growing field. And there is much, much more.

I have been Dean of three law schools. One of my greatest sources of satisfaction is improving the school and its services, and enabling faculty and staff to make contributions that are both valuable to students and meaningful to the faculty and staff members themselves. The Charlotte School of Law is an extraordinary place for students to learn and grow, and to position themselves to navigate change. What makes it such an extraordinary place is not only the deep and pervasive commitment to unlocking potential, but also the deep and pervasive commitment to doing a continually better job of providing programs, services, and resources that enable that potential to be unlocked.

~Jay Conison (Dean), Charlotte School of Law~

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Careers in Financial Compliance

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The demand for financial compliance professionals is extremely strong and the jobs in this sector pay well, so they’re well worth the interest they’re receiving. Recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike are becoming more aware of the opportunities in financial compliance.

There is a wide range of jobs within the realm of financial compliance. Two prominent areas that are sometimes misunderstood are internal and external auditing.

Internal Auditing

The role of the internal auditor is to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of governance, risk management and internal controls in an organization. This is a broad charter for these compliance professionals and it puts emphasis on monitoring and assessing processes and controls, and making recommendations about how to improve them. Internal auditors are employed by the organization they audit and report to senior management and the board of directors.

Internal auditors typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and often move into internal audit work after having worked in external audit jobs as there is some skills and knowledge overlap between the two. The Institute of Internal auditors offers a designation called Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), which is considered the top credential for internal auditors. The qualification is not usually required to obtain positions as an internal auditor, but it certainly enhances one’s marketability.

View Internal Audit Compliance Jobs Open Now

View Internal Auditor Jobs in North Carolina Open Now

External Auditing

External (or independent) auditors are not employees of the organizations they audit and their primary role is to provide an independent opinion on the organization’s financial statements. It is within the scope of their work to test internal controls, but their focus is financial reporting for a specific time period, usually a year.

External auditors are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Someone who intends to stay in the independent auditor career path could enhance their marketability by obtaining the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. The largest CPA firms require their auditors to have this certification by a certain point in their career if they intend to remain in the audit function.

View External Compliance Auditor Jobs in North Carolina Open Now

Non-Audit Financial Compliance Careers

While auditing offers many career options, financial compliance offers a world of other opportunities, as well. Take, for example, mergers and acquisitions (M&A). With federal anti-trust laws affecting large company mergers even before transactions are completed, compliance knowledge is important in this arena. Many large mergers have been scuttled because they did not comply with statutory requirements and many times proper strategic planning of these transactions can avoid compliance nightmares.

For those who choose a compliance career other than auditing, there are ways to develop your competence in the field. One of the education and certification paths that can enhance your career is the Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) credential. This credential is offered through the Compliance Certification Board (CCB) and it requires passing an exam, as well as a combination of work experience and education.

We have touched on just a few financial compliance career options. The opportunities in this field are abundant and varied. Whichever direction you choose, you will be embarking on an interesting and challenging career.

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Charlotte School of Law: Did You Know?

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by | June 30, 2015 · 10:17 am

Partnering to Promote Professionalism

At Charlotte School of Law, we embrace the idea of “interdependence.”  I recently attended the Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries conference, which was held in Lexington, Kentucky.  I had the privilege of presenting, as part of a panel, on the topic of “Partnering to Promote Professionalism and Effective Practitioners: What Every Law School Graduate Should Know.”  My co-panelists were law firm librarians.  In addition to having been friends for many years, we each, at some point, had been responsible for training and coordinating the training of young associates.

Law firm librarians have always played an indispensable part in the nurturing and development of new associates.  They still do, but as the hiring practices of “Big Law” firms have undergone a change, the responsibility of providing students with the practice-ready professionalism, the technology skills and the business acumen necessary to succeed has shifted back to law schools. The message that I, an academic librarian and former law firm librarian, and my two law firm librarians attempted to impart was that we are more effective when we work together.

In order to prepare for my portion of the presentation, I drew upon the first annual BarBri “State of the Legal Field” survey, Wawrose’s, “What Do Legal Employers Want to See in New Graduates? Using Focus Groups to Find Out” 39 Ohio N. U. L. Rev. 505 (2013) and Stouffer’s “Closing the Gap: Teaching ‘practice-ready’ legal skills,” 19 AALL Spectrum 10 (February 2015).  I also interviewed Associate Dean Michael Farley, Director of the Center for Professional Development Aretha Blake, and Program Coordinator for Process Excellence Krystyll Gardner in order to gain an overview of the Charlotte School of Law “Student Success Initiative.”   The CSL library staff also implemented its own projects and while those projects contributed to the goal of focusing on professionalism, GRIT and relationship-building, it was clear that greater inroads were made when the library partnered with other departments.

Likewise, when law school librarians join forces with their counterparts in firms and government libraries, the impact is greater than when they work alone.  My co-panelists discussed the “Business Side of Law Firms” and “Making the Transition” from law student to practitioner.  We encouraged all attendees to work with each other, not only for the betterment of their own employer, but for the greater good that can be achieved.  To quote Mark Shields, “There is always strength in numbers.”

~Susan Catterall~

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Filed under Careers, CharlotteLaw Library Team Members, Library

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — June 29, 2015

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The Key to Leadership: Empathy

You can tell a lot about a person by how they run their meetings. Inviting the correct people and creating clear agendas are just the beginning. But are they also demonstrating emotional intelligence? Are they making eye contact and actually paying attention, positively contributing to the conversation in a meaningful way? If we really want to improve how people work together at meetings (and by extension, in the entire organization), we need to develop and rely on our key emotional intelligence competency: empathy.

Why It’s Time to Forget the Pecking Order at Work

Organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Because as Heffernan points out: “Companies don’t have ideas. Only people do.”

Watering the Flowers

You’ve probably heard of the 20/60/20 Leadership Rule that divides people based on change-receptiveness. Harvard Business School classifies people based on performance levels: top performers, strong performers, and underachievers.  As humans, we have an innate tendency to categorize people and things into groups to help us make sense of the world. How we view our people… meaning those we serve at our respective firms… is no different.

What Lawyers Can Learn From Uber

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a number of terrible experiences with traditional taxicabs. While I usually use Uber or other ride-sharing services when I travel for work, I used traditional taxis a few times recently for a variety of reasons.  Never again!  Nearly every taxi ride was laughably bad, especially when compared to the convenience of Uber. Here’s what happened and how this relates to lawyers.

Judge’s Top 10 Tips for Winning Cases

Here’s the secret for lawyers to win all of their cases: Don’t take losers.  That’s the first nugget of advice from a state district judge who shared a top 10 list for lawyers to win their cases during the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting on June 18.

The Trick to Being a Prolific Scholar

You don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to be a prolific scholar. You do have to write however. And nearly all of the prolific academics I have met are daily writers. Daily writing is one of the most important strategies I can recommend to boost your productivity.

YouTube Teams Up with Storyful to Create Curated Newswire

YouTube announced YouTube Newswire, a partnership with Storyful to provide a curated news feed with verified stories. According to the official blog, this grew out of the proliferation of user-generated YouTube videos that are already being used to support news reporting.

4 Entrepreneurs Trying to Bring Cloud Computing to Tech-Leery Law Firms

While cloud computing has penetrated virtually every sector of today’s economy, the legal world has remained a stubborn last bastion of old school, on-premise technology. Until now, few entrepreneurs have dared to attack this bulwark of backward, cloud-wary client-server thinking.  Fortunately for today’s legal professionals, technology entrepreneurs are innovators, always looking for ways to make life easier for their customers. We’ve identified four entrepreneurs in the vanguard of this new legal cloud—bringing the promise and potential of the cloud to the world of law.

Amazon to Pay Authors in Its Library Program by Pages Read

In a move that places a new priority on ‘page-turner,’ Amazon on July 1 will begin paying authors in its Kindle library program by the number of pages read, and not the number of times a book is checked out.

Finding a Librarian of Congress for the Digital Age

After nearly 28 years of service, Librarian of Congress James Hadley Billington announced his retirement on June 10, 2015, which becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2016. President Barack Obama is tasked with finding a replacement, who will then need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The Ubiquitous Librarian: A Flurry of Final Posts

Brian Mathews of the Ubiquitous Librarian announced in late May that he would be ending his blog in 50 days.  Click to read some of these finale posts, including “What did librarians want in 1945?  Many of the same things we want today.”, “Could Your Library Answer 1 Million Reference Questions a Year?”, “Scientific Utopia: Improving the Openness and Reproducibility of Research”, and “From Teaching to Consulting: Librarians as Information Literacy Designers. An Interview with Carrie Donovan.”

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