Path to Pro Initiative

An opportunity to test drive new legal talent and train from the ground up for seamless integration into your organization.

Fortify Your Legal Team with the Path to Pro Initiative

Overview: The Path to Pro Initiative provides a viable avenue for small and mid-size law firms, in-house legal departments, and other corporate/private sector employers who do not typically hire entry-level attorneys to do so through (1) The Path to Pro Post-Bar Program, and (2) Path to Pro 3L Program. Both programs provide an opportunity to test drive entry-level legal talent at a reduced cost, for a limited commitment. This leads to the potential for discovery and long-term hiring of fresh legal talent. Santa Clara Law 3Ls and recent grads also benefit by having a wider range of 3L experiential and post-graduate opportunities to build their professional skill sets and resumes early in their careers.

Benefits: There are significant benefits to hiring entry-level attorneys from Santa Clara Law. New attorneys can be specifically trained to fit your organization, and commence employment without previously learned bad habits. They are embarking on their legal careers with vigor and excitement. Santa Clara Law grads want to stay in Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area in general. This results in lower employee turn-over and reduced hiring costs in the long-term, which can be passed on to your clients, as well as the fortification of your legal team for years to come with bright and talented young attorneys.

The Path to Pro Post-Bar Program

About the Program: The Path to Pro Post-Bar Program is a collaborative, cost-effective solution to recruit attorney apprentices for a limited term, with the opportunity for long-term retention if the apprentice is the right fit. We work with employers to create an individualized, streamlined, and targeted recruiting process, structure for the Path to Pro apprenticeship (if desired,) regularly meet with our Path to Pro apprentices, and offer an individualized plan for ongoing employer support.

Length of Program: Employment through the Path to Pro program is a minimum twelve-month commitment. There is no obligation to make permanent offers at the expiration of the apprenticeship. However, if a Path to Pro apprentice is a good match, employers may extend a permanent offer.

Compensation: Compensation is set by the participating employers. We recommend taking an individualized approach by looking at what the entry-level pay would be for the most junior member of your organization, and setting compensation slightly below that. We also encourage offering benefits. We can help you with this process.

Nature of Work: A Path to Pro apprenticeship is expected to include substantive legal work, with appropriate supervision and regular, meaningful feedback. We recommend employers outline their expectations for their attorney apprentice at the outset, including the nature of anticipated work, experiences the apprentice is likely to gain, as well as establishing a plan for providing feedback.

The Path to Pro 3L Program

About the Program: Path to Pro 3L Program is a variant of our Post-Bar Program, and is offered exclusively for our third-year students. Participating employers commit to hiring a 3L student as either a paid intern or extern (paid or unpaid) for both the Fall and Spring semesters. To determine if your position is eligible for externship credit, please check out our ExPro Information for Sponsors, or contact Expro at Again, we will work with you to determine the appropriate structure and hourly compensation. This option is an excellent choice for smaller firms and in-house legal departments/tech companies who know they need some extra help now, cannot predict long-term hiring needs, and may need to pay less than typical hourly rates as educational units may be a piece of the compensation structure. This is also a valuable opportunity to see if the student fits in with your culture and the work that you do. If there is a permanent opening following the 3L year, employers benefit from having a qualified candidate(s) who has already been thoroughly trained and is ready to hit the ground running.

Why Recruit Santa Clara Law Students and Grads?

Diversity: Santa Clara Law is one of the nation’s most diverse law schools. With respect to our Class of 2020 (our most recent graduates), approximately 60% are female, and approximately 60% identify as a minority, including Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or a combination. Our most recent graduate cohort also includes students from Canada, China, India, and Italy. With respect to our Class of 2021 (our current 3Ls), approximately 60% are female, and approximately 49% identify as a minority. Our current 3L cohort includes students from Canada, China, Japan, and Taiwan.

Suitability and Commitment to Local Practice: Santa Clara Law students and grads have a demonstrated commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Most have chosen a law school located in the heart of Silicon Valley because they are committed to establishing their legal practices here and in the surrounding Bay Area.  Many of our students and grads are uniquely suited to serving the local business and tech industry, with approximately one quarter of our 2019 graduates going directly in-house. Our Class of 2020 graduates include approximately 9 with Advanced Degrees, and 47 with Bachelor’s Degrees in Bio/Life Science, Computer Science, Engineering, or Physical Sciences.

Our Class of 2021 graduates boast approximately 13 with Advanced Degrees, and 41 with Bachelor’s Degrees in those fields. Our students’ intelligence and experience, coupled with a strong core belief system, prerequisites for matriculating at Santa Clara Law, have equipped them to serve law firms and industries in technology and beyond.

Rankings: Santa Clara Law is ranked by National Jurist as one of the Top 50 Go-To Law Schools for Associates at the Nation’s Largest 100 Law Firms in 2019. We are currently ranked as one of the Best Law Schools for Asians (#5) and one of the Best Law Schools for Hispanics (#22) in 2020 by PreLaw Magazine. Our Intellectual Property Law and Technology Law Programs have an A+ ranking by PreLaw Magazine for 2018 (the current ranking.) Additionally, our Intellectual Property Law Program is currently ranked #4 by U.S News, and we currently have an A+ ranking in International Law by PreLaw Magazine. Santa Clara Law boasts one of the first and most rigorous Privacy Law Certificate programs in the country, as well as a cutting-edge Tech Edge JD Certificate for law practice in high technology industries.

Timeline for Recruiting

Path to Pro Post-Bar Program: Recruitment efforts for the Path to Pro Post-Bar Program can begin anytime following graduation, and may commence as late as following the release of bar results. A Path to Pro attorney apprentice must be hired and working by the February after graduation.

Path to Pro 3L Program: Recruitment efforts for Path to Pro Initiative can begin in summer. With respect to externship recruiting deadlines, please visit our ExPro web page to view suggested dates to select and post an externship by.

A Collaborative Recruiting Effort with Ongoing Support
from Santa Clara Law

Individualized Recruiting Plan: Santa Clara Law’s Office of Career Management (“OCM”) staff will work closely with participating employers to create an individualized recruiting plan. This includes:

  • Creating a job description for your approval.
  • Performing targeted outreach to provide you with candidates whose qualifications match the needs of your organization.
  • Regular meetings between OCM staff and Path to Pro 3L and attorney apprentices to discuss their apprenticeship experience and continue to hone their professional skills and workplace etiquette. Please visit our ExPro web page for additional requirements.
  • An individualized plan to offer ongoing support to participating employers as needed throughout the apprenticeship term.

For More Information and to Post Your Path to Pro Opportunity

Contact: For more information on the Path to Pro Program, or to post an opportunity, please contact Leonard Lun, Director of Employer Relations and Adjunct Professor of Law, at