Paying it Forward



Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012

By, Maria Iacobo

Students at the Peer Career Fair
USC Law students networking at the Peer Career Fair

Maya Sukumar ’12 epitomizes the picture of a USC Law student:  generous of time and spirit to her fellow classmates. One example of this is how the 2012 class president decided to “pay it forward” to current underclassmen while giving the classes an opportunity to get together at a social event. 

Maya Sukumar
Maya Sukumar '12
Sukumar recalled the uncertainty she felt when she returned to law school after her first semester and the weight of having to find a job for the summer.
 
“You’ve just received your first semester grades and whether you did well or not, you had to start looking for a job,” Sukumar said. “It can be pretty intimidating.”
 
Wanting to alleviate concerns law school underclassmen might have about the process – especially the 1L class – Sukumar designed the USC Law Peer Career Fair, a two-hour event held Jan. 18, in which 1Ls and 2Ls could approach 3Ls about how they got their summer jobs in law school and hear about their experiences working.
 
Heeding Sukumar’s request for assistance were about 60 members of the Class of 2012. Grouped in sections for a variety of legal practice areas, Crocker Plaza was swarming with students as 3Ls gladly answered questions and offered advice while eager students gathered around. Upperclassmen wore name tags with the name of the organizations they worked for, making it easier for students to approach them. 
 
USC Law students at the Peer Career Fair
While the Career Services Office is available to all students and provides the same information and advice, Sukumar says that sometimes it’s easier for a student to ask a fellow student for advice. 
 
“There’s a comfort level in being able to talk with another student,” she said.
 
Plus, Sukumar sees the interaction between classes as a tremendous benefit to all students.
 
“We’ll only be two years ahead of these students when they graduate so we may be in a position to help them find a job. I think it’s important to foster these relationships now.  We’re at a Top 20 school, but it’s a tough economic time. Any help we can give each other is important.”
 
USC Law students at the Peer Career Fair
As Sukumar located name tags for the 3Ls and sent them off to their appropriate sections – PublicInterest, Private Practice, Government, In-House Counsel & Other – she greeted each by name and thanked them for their help. She is continuing a tradition of collaboration that drew her to USC Law in the first place.
 
“I knew that the students were not only social but took care of each other,” she said of her decision to attend USC. “That has proven true time and time again. That’s why when I had the idea for this kind of fair, I had no doubt that my classmates would donate their time.”
 
Sukumar says she hopes the Peer Career Fair will become an annual event.
 
“Even 15 minutes out here could lead you to find the person that can help you land that perfect summer job.”