Counsel speaks to local law students about federal employment, builds partnerships

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Office of General Counsel participated in a Greater Philadelphia Area Law Schools consortium event Sept. 19 to engage and inform local law students about the agency’s mission and federal employment benefits.

Panel member Jon Lightner, DLA Troop Support chief counsel and Villanova University School of Law graduate, spoke to students from nine local law schools about the specialized legal positions within Troop Support. As the first and only DLA legal team to pursue efforts like this according to Lightner, the engagement builds partnerships with the colleges and generates potential interest in federal service among future legal professionals.

Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence said the event represented a positive connection.

“It’s a way for the team to give back to local law schools while providing an opportunity to identify what talent we may want to bring onto our team in the future,” Lawrence said.

Working with local law schools, Lightner said his office is supporting succession management through an effective resourcing strategy that maintains the potential to recruit “top-notch talent” from the area. Hosting tours and participating in events like GPALS opens communication with potential applicants and the professionals from whom they receive employment advice.

“We now have personal relationships established with all of the local law schools representatives, and they have a deeper understanding of our mission and what DLA [Troop Support] is all about,” Lightner said. “[The reps] are comfortable with recommending [federal employment] for consideration by their students.”

Lightner and two members of his team, attorneys Andrew McGuire and Sherine Badiako, also engaged in the event’s networking session to further their impact.

Troop Support attorney Amanda Stone has also conducted recruitment visits to campuses such as Rutgers, Villanova, Widener and Temple University law schools to engage directly with prospective lawyers and provide information about Troop Support.

“Students usually don’t have an understanding of what our agency does,” Stone said. “So we explain what we do here at Troop Support and how it differs from the contract law [students] would take in law school.”

The information Stone and her colleagues impart regarding the nuances of federal procurement law and federal employment opportunities gives the students a better understanding of Troop Support and a wider array of employment options they may not have otherwise considered, she said.

Amy Weiss, Director of Private Sector & Government Employment for the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law Career Strategies Office, said the outreach is well-received by law students and provides increased visibility to public service employment opportunities in the local area.

“DLA [Troop Support]s outreach to our career office has been particularly helpful because it makes our students and alumni aware of wonderful job opportunities at a federal agency located in Philadelphia where the vast majority of our students want to practice law,” Weiss said.

Lightner said he intends to continue hosting and participating in engagements like this to keep Troop Support fresh on the minds of those Philadelphia-focused students as they matriculate and enter the specialized and competitive professional legal world.