Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaching Professionalism in Law School

In 2007, the Carnegie Report identified three core competencies for law school graduates: (1) the cognitive apprenticeship; (2) the practical apprenticeship; and (3) the professional (ethical and social) apprenticeship.  The Report noted that law schools did a good job with the first apprenticeship, but that they did a poor job with the other two.  Professors Alison Kehner and Mary Ann Robinson have just posted an extremely valuable article on SSRN that deals with the third apprenticeship--professionalism. 

Mission: Impossible, Mission: Accomplished or Mission: Underway? A Survey and Analysis of Current Trends in Professionalism Education in American Law Schools

The authors first discuss the history of teaching professionalism in law school.  Then, based on an extensive survey, they demonstrate how various law schools are teaching professionalism to their students.  There is a wealth of detail here that will be of enormous aid to those who are trying to integrate professionalism into law school and law teaching.  In other words, there is now one source that discusses the myriad of ways to teaching professionalism.  Finally, they distill the common traits of successful professionalism programs: 1) Institutional Commitment to Creating a Culture of Professionalism, 2) Involvement of Members of Bench and Bar as a Complement to Faculty Instruction, 3) Intentional Instruction in Professionalism, and 4) Incentives for Students.

(Scott Fruehwald)


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