Orange Counsel: Career Advice for Future Orange Lawyers

Through the exchange of professional knowledge, experiences, and insights, these alumni have played a part in influencing the next generation of Syracuse Law graduates. Their efforts help guide students in making informed career choices and navigating the complexities of the legal field.

Check out some of their parting career advice for Syracuse Law students.

“Think about it as early as possible. If you are starting your first week of law school, start thinking about it now.”

— Scott Boylan L’85

“Speak to as many people as you can in law school to learn about the different paths others have taken and the experiences that brought them meaning and taught them something significant. Listen carefully and then, most importantly, listen to yourself. Embrace law school fully, but don’t forget the experiences and opportunities that you sought out before you were a law student. Those experiences may be more informative for your next step.”

— Chris Audet L’11

“My best advice is to experience as much as you can while you’re here. I’m one of those people whose career did not take a path that was at all foreseeable to me when I was in law school. And I think that’s a common story for people. So don’t pigeonhole yourself. Experience as much as you can and prepare yourself for wherever the opportunities come.”

— Joanie Mahoney ’87, L’90

“Be open to different experiences and opportunities. I think people tend to go into the law thinking that they have to be on specific path. It helps to recognize that it’s about the journey, that it’s not always linear and that you can learn a lot from the experiences and recognize that things are not always going to be easy. Learn from each experience and move outside of your comfort zone to open yourself up to different opportunities.”

— Zabrina Jenkins G’97, L’00

“Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make connections. Use the Syracuse Law Alumni network. And remember to give back to the law school in the future!”

— The Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91

“Be open. In the job interview for my first job I got right after law school, they asked me what I wanted to do. What do you want to practice? And I said, I’ll do anything but criminal law because that’s just not my interest. Well now I work exclusively in criminal law, and I love it! So just be open and be aware of the opportunities and don’t close any doors without exploring.”

— Colleen Gibbons L’17

“Don’t be afraid to try different things. When I first graduated, I never thought that I would want to do anything with wills and trusts. But one of the first things I started doing when I got my job was wills and trust litigation and I absolutely loved it. It was very fun saying that look, the law hasn’t changed in over 300 years—here’s a case from 1783. So don’t be afraid to try different things that you think you might not like because you might actually wind up falling in love with them.”

— John Boyd II L’16

megan thomas smiling at the camera in front of a graffiti wall with the words I like You, wearing a red blazer

“Work hard towards your goals, but trust your instincts along the way. No job or success is worth sacrificing yourself and your values. Find good mentors who emulate both the professional success and the lifestyle you want to achieve.”

— Megan Thomas L’17

anthony mangovski smiling at the camera in front of a white column, wearing a blue suit and a purple tie

“Focus on networking—go to as many events as you possibly can. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and exhausting, especially while juggling all the schoolwork and life obligations, but so incredibly useful when it comes to securing your first internship and/or job. Only a handful of students at the very top of the rankings will be outright recruited by law firms, so it really is important for the other 90% of the class to make their own connections. In what can be a competitive job market, I think it goes without saying that an employer would absolutely prefer to hire and invest in someone they know over someone else with a similar resume.”

— Anthony Mangovski L’14

sarah reckess talking to a student, wearing a red blazer and black rimmed glasses in front of a white background

“Find opportunities to network with attorneys in the community where you want to practice. Join the local or state bar association, which is often free or discounted for law students. Make sure people know you. It’s amazing how many people in the legal community will reach out to tell you about a job opening at their place of employment or a new opportunity they heard about.”

— Sarah Reckess L’09

leah witmer sitting on a panel in a wodden chair talking to students and holding a coffee cup

“Engage with your local legal community. Join the local bar associations. Volunteer with local legal clinics. Attend mentoring and networking events. Attend local in-person CLE’s…and much more.”

— Leah Witmer L’10

zoom image of bennet borden, in front of a blue wall and a science is real poster, smiling at the camera with earbuds in his ears

“Understand that ultimately what you provide to clients is confidence. Clients come to us with questions and uncertainty; what we give back is answers and surety. Regardless of the area of law in which you practice, what you provide is a calm and guiding hand. Embody that, and you will do well.”

— Bennett Borden, Guest Speaker JDinteractive 2023 Residency