Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Are Law Students Self Directed?

A recent survey indicates that they aren’t:

Students want meaningful employment. Nevertheless, many if not most have not recognized the need to make a plan to pursue such employment. Most students have not identified the areas of law that best match their strengths and values. Moreover, most students do not have an intentional plan for exploring roles in the legal profession that would match their strengths, values, and interests. Only a small number of students have a written plan. The authors explore how law schools can help students in seeking their goal by cultivating self-direction and development of a plan to move toward their goal.

What can law schools do?

The article discusses efforts at a number of law schools to implement courses, coaching of students by faculty, and the like as efforts to help students in this regard. The authors see the development of self-directed behavior, or self-regulated behavior, as a component of the development of each law student's professional identity. Recommendations for further action, and further research, are included.

With the job market the way it is, I think students need to be self-directed, but not too intent on pursuing a particular type of job. They first need to get a job and learn the ropes. Then they will have a better idea of what they want professionally and what sorts of jobs are available.

You can access the article here. Benjamin J. Madison III & Larry O. Natt Gantt II, Self-Directedness and Professional Formation: Connecting Two Critical Concepts in Legal Education.


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