Lawyers read the same books and refer to the same body of law. So why is one lawyer more successful than another – financially, personally and professionally?

Ability and drive provide only part of the answer. What often sets these lawyers apart is that they have acquired the skills and wisdom to more effectively apply the information and knowledge that all lawyers share. Some acquire it through “the school of hard knocks.” Others have been guided by a more experienced lawyer – either inside or outside their firm – and often have become more successful more quickly.  They have benefited from mentoring: the process of passing on skills and wisdom.[1]

Developing a relationship with a mentor or advisor is crucial to a law student’s ability to develop into a successful attorney. The Alumni Advising and Career Education/Support (AACES) Program, a new initiative from the University of Mississippi School of Law Career Services Office (CSO), helps foster those relationships.

AACES is a voluntary, one-to-one Alumni Advisor program designed to bring alumni together with Ole Miss law students for the purpose of professional growth. The program provides an opportunity for our students to build career networks and grow as professionals and leaders. As an Alumni Advisor, you will share your knowledge of the legal profession with students and provide insight into navigating through the post-law school world of work.   

There is no obligation. AACES is not designed as a means for students to gain employment, nor is the Alumni Advisor obligated to provide an internship or a job interview. AACES is designed to provide students with learning experiences in different areas of law and insight into the life of a practicing lawyer.

Exposure to day-to-day law practice is, however, crucial to a law student’s professional development. The Alumni Advisor relationship offers students a unique opportunity to explore their career ambitions and work closely with an experienced attorney towards reaching these goals. As an Alumni Advisor, you may elect to invite your Advisee for a “day at the office” or for longer periods during school breaks and over the summer. Other suggested interactions include:

  1. Taking your Advisee to lunch or dinner or for coffee.
  2. Inviting your Advisee to an event at your work place or a local bar event.
  3. Discussing your area of practice, share opinions about your field of law or work environment or any other law-related topic of interest to your mentee.
  4. Critiquing your Advisee’s resume.
  5. Taking your Advisee to observe court proceedings, a deposition or a closing.
  6. Conducting a mock job interview.

How Does it Work?

The Career Services Office (CSO) will pair a law student with an Alumni Advisor based upon information submitted in their respective applications. A CSO staff member will contact the Advisor and provide the name and details of his/her Advisee. The Advisee will then be responsible for contacting his/her assigned Advisor. Because information on AACES is accessible to only CSO staff members, its use is closely monitored and no AACES Alumni Advisor is ever unduly burdened by too many referrals. In addition, before a referral is made, students must first discuss their career objectives with a career development professional in the CSO. These discussions help clarify career goals and help the CSO counselors identify the most appropriate contacts for that person.

AACES is a great opportunity for Ole Miss Law alumni to be involved on a personal level with current law students. One of the law school’s greatest assets is the diversity and breadth of experience of its graduates, and your participation is extremely valuable to our students.

How Do I Get Started?

If you are interested in becoming an Alumni Advisor, please complete the registration form at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFZycmprd09WZ2FFb2NPejNqc3dhRlE6MQ

If you have questions about the program, please call Kristin Flierl, Director of Career Services at 662-915-6830.

Again, AACES is not designed as a means for students to gain employment, nor is the Alumni Advisor obligated to provide an internship or a job interview. AACES is designed to provide students with learning experiences in different areas of law and insight into the life of a practicing lawyer.

Thank you for your interest in the University of Mississippi School of Law AACES Program. We look forward to working with you.


[1] From “Focus on Mentoring”, April 2002 by David Clark.  Available at www.lawpro.ca/magazinearchives