UVA Law Adds Two Experienced Attorneys to Career Services Office
Two experienced attorneys — both graduates of the University of Virginia School of Law — have joined the Law School's Office of Career Services as directors of career services.
In their new positions, Sarah Betts Esterhay '08 and Joby Ryan '05 will focus on helping UVA Law students and recent graduates identify jobs that are personally and professionally rewarding and will then prepare them to be as competitive as possible in pursuing those jobs.
Kevin Donovan, senior assistant dean for career services, said the Law School is "incredibly fortunate" to be adding Esterhay and Ryan.
"Both were strong lawyers with successful practices," he said. "With the addition of Joby and Sarah, the office now has approximately 40 years of legal practice experience among its counselors. As alums, Sarah and Joby also understand the things that make Virginia special and unique. Both also have dynamic and winning personalities that I know will appeal to our students."
Prior to joining UVA Law, Esterhay practiced law at the law firm BuckleySandler in Washington, D.C., where she advised clients in the financial services industry on a variety of regulatory and litigation matters, primarily focusing on the mortgage industry.
"There has been substantial regulatory and enforcement activity in the past few years in the mortgage industry, at both the federal and state level," she said. "I worked with lawyers and business leaders at large banks to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, to implement changes in their business processes, and to respond to litigation and government enforcement actions."
Esterhay began her legal career clerking for Judge Raymond Jackson '73 of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Esterhay said she was interested in working at UVA Law because it was an opportunity to move back to Charlottesville, to work with law students and to share her understanding of the current legal job market.
"I've had quite a few different experiences in the job market," she said. "In addition to my experience at BuckleySandler, I had summer associate positions at two different firms in two different markets, and I clerked for a federal judge. I've Â worked in both litigation and regulatory practices, and I've worked on both full-time and part-time schedules at a law firm. I've also conducted job searches both before and after the financial crisis, and I believe that experience has given me some insight into the current market and the circumstances that law students are facing."
Esterhay's role in the Career Services office will be predominately internally facing, she said, with much of her time spent counseling students, reviewing resumes and cover letters, preparing students for interviewing and conducting event programming. She will also assist students with self-assessments and practice area exploration.
"I'm really excited to be back in Charlottesville and back at the Law School, and for the opportunity to work with the team in Career Services," she said. "This is exactly where I want to be."
Ryan is joining the Law School from the law firm Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C., where he practiced for eight years, concentrating on securities class action and derivative suits, white-collar investigations, antitrust litigation and other complex commercial lawsuits.
During his time at Hogan Lovells, Ryan served on the firm's recruiting committee and co-led the UVA Law recruiting team.
"I liked the interaction and the chance each year to find a crop of talented, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed law students to come and join Hogan's team," he said.
In his new position at the Law School, Ryan will spend a significant amount of time counseling students, helping them prepare resumes and develop strategies to help them get the jobs they want.
"We'll do bid strategies, interview tips, resume tips," he said. "And also sort of generally help them think through the broad range of law firm jobs out there to see what would be the best fit for them."
Another key focus of Ryan's job will be outreach.
"I'll have one foot in the legal community," he said. "I'll be visiting firms and making sure that we at UVA are meeting their needs and are being responsive to what they are looking for and that they likewise recognize the tremendous abilities and potential of University of Virginia Law students."
Along with that outreach, he added, "there will be a significant amount of strategic thinking."
"[It will involve] putting on programs and bringing people in to meet the students and things like that," he said. "The idea is that the students get a sense of what it's like to practice in a given geography and the practitioners get a sense of what we're like down here."
Ryan said that though his near-term goal is getting students the jobs they want, he will be collecting ideas along the way to improve his own counseling and the office's services.
"Over the long term, [my goal] is also to help build an infrastructure that optimizes our students' opportunities to get the positions that are the best fit for them and the best situations for them to start their practices or legal careers."
Like Esterhay, Ryan said he is excited to be back in Charlottesville and is looking forward to helping law students and recent graduates achieve their career goals.
"I'm really excited to be back here," he said. "I'm really excited about joining the team. I hope that I can help foster the collegial and informal atmosphere that makes UVA so special. To that end, students should feel free to come by, introduce themselves, say hello. My door's always open."