Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A Book for Teaching Professional Identity

As mentioned below, the ABA made significant changes to the standards for legal education at their mid-year meeting.   Among these changes is a new requirement to include professional identity training in the curriculum:

303 b) A law school shall provide substantial opportunities to students for:. . .

(3) the development of a professional identity.

Interpretation 303-5
Professional identity focuses on what it means to be a lawyer and the special obligations lawyers have to
their clients and society. The development of professional identity should involve an intentional
exploration of the values, guiding principles, and well-being practices considered foundational to
successful legal practice. Because developing a professional identity requires reflection and growth over
time, students should have frequent opportunities for such development during each year of law school
and in a variety of courses and co-curricular and professional development activities.

Law schools need to plan how to implement this new requirement.  I have written a text for students on how to develop their professional identities.

Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer (2015, 2020).

Professors can adopt this book as a text, or students can use it on their own.  It is chock full of exercises for developing professional identity.

Abstract: "Who will I be as a lawyer? This is the most important question any law student can ask. Yet, in traditional legal education, this question rarely comes up. The purpose of this book is to change this. Professional identity is a lawyer’s personal legal morality, values, decision-making process, and self-consciousness in relation to the practices of the legal profession (legal culture). It provides the framework that a lawyer uses to make all a lawyer’s decisions. This book takes a variety of approaches to help you develop your professional identity.

Chapter One asks you to take a close look at yourself by asking questions about your childhood, your college years, and who you are today. It is important to know who you are before you can fit into a profession. Chapters Two (Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner), Six (Overcoming Cognitive Biases), Seven (Behavioral Legal Ethics), and Eight (Attorney Well-Being) give you the tools you will need to develop your professional identity. Chapter Two introduces you to “practical wisdom,” an important approach to understanding and solving ethical problems. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 deal with professional identity within certain topics–the attorney-client relationship, the lawyer and society, and attorney advertising and solicitation of clients. Chapter Nine presents the legal profession’s and society’s views on lawyers and the legal profession. Chapter Ten focuses on your role as a lawyer. It asks you what area of law you want to practice, how you will deal with clients, your place in the legal profession, standards of civility in the legal profession, and working with subordinates. Finally, Chapter Eleven contains a variety of extended problems to help you further develop your professional identity. The revised edition adds a chapter on behavioral legal ethics, focusing on ethical blindness."

(Scott Fruehwald)




February 15, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 14, 2022

ABA Passes Revisions to Legal Education Standards

Despite some strong opposition, the ABA House of Delegates has just passed the revisions to 205, 303, 507, and 508.  Summary of changes.  Comments welcome.

(Scott Fruehwald)

Update: Karen Sloan, U.S. law students to receive anti-bias training after ABA passes new rule.

February 14, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice for All: Repairing American Criminal Justice (Introduction and Sample Chapter) by Charles MacLean & Adam Lamparello

Justice for All: Repairing American Criminal Justice (Introduction and Sample Chapter) by Charles MacLean & Adam Lamparello.


This book highlights infirmities in the criminal justice system that have led to pervasive unfairness, inequality, and injustice. But make no mistake. No one is a victim. Your choices, not your circumstances, determine your destiny.

Notwithstanding, unfairness, injustice, and inequality plague the criminal justice system in many areas, such as in policing, adjudication, and sentencing. Identifying the problem, however, is not sufficient. Likewise, it is not sufficient to simply acquire knowledge and regurgitate facts.

Anyone can do that.

But it solves nothing.

It helps no one.

Developing practical and sustainable solutions is imperative if injustice is to become a thing of the past and equality a reality in the present and a staple of the future.

Leaders propose solutions. And leaders recognize that, no matter how compelling or sensible a policy proposal, real change requires great people. Talented people. Visionary people. As the legendary football coach Woody Hayes said, “You win with people.”

Leaders are bold, creative, and courageous. They strive to effectuate meaningful change that improves people’s lives.

That is the point of this book: to develop meaningful solutions that address the flaws in the criminal justice system. To that end, each chapter challenges you to be a leader by proposing solutions that will change the lives of others and reaffirm the values on which this country is based: equality, fairness, and justice – for all.

This book has neither a liberal nor conservative bias. Unfortunately, some professors are ideologically biased and strive to impose their views on students. This is professionally irresponsible and unethical. Professors should teach students how to think, not what to think. They should welcome diverse perspectives from across the political spectrum and encourage civil discourse. Sadly, many professors and universities have made the decision to replace instruction with ideology, and emphasize conformity over critical thinking. In so doing, the quality of education – and its ability to train students for the real world – has been compromised. If you experience this at your university, you are not alone – but you are not helpless. On any given issue, research and respect all perspectives. Form your views based on facts and evidence, not emotion and bias.

We have no ideological agendas and have no regard for people whose opinions are driven more by underlying agendas than critical analysis and study. We likewise rely on facts and evidence. We hope you will too.

Most importantly, we hope that you embrace the challenge of not merely learning, but creating ideas and solving problems.

And in that process, you will discover if you really can be the change you want to see in the world.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 14, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Transitions Unexplored: A Proposal for Professional Identity Formation Following the First Year by Megan Bess

Important new article on professional identity development: Transitions Unexplored: A Proposal for Professional Identity Formation Following the First Year by Megan Bess


Like students in other professional fields, law students experience significant transitions during their education. These transitions consist of intense learning periods associated with major change as students develop their professional identities. These challenges and experiences allow students to develop and internalize the skills needed to be a successful lawyer. Law schools are in a unique position to create and reinforce structures to help students navigate these transitions and maximize professional identity formation. This paper will detail some of these transitional challenges and provide suggestions for law schools to further support students during transitions—most notably during the summer following their 1L year.

Summer employment is a key transition point and a crucial opportunity for professional development and growth. The challenge for law schools is that summer employment falls outside their curriculum and oversight. But even when such transformational experiences occur outside of the traditional curriculum, law schools can still prepare students to maximize their development and internalization of professional values by utilizing effective pedagogy for professional identity formation. Externship pedagogy uniquely aligns with professional identity formation. By implementing common externship pedagogical tools, such as goal setting, reflection, and skills assessment, law schools can help students maximize development of professional identity in real world practice settings, particularly over the summer after 1L year. This article proposes that law schools implement professional identity formation programs comprised of key externship pedagogical tools and provides suggestions for creating stakeholder buy-in for such programs.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 10, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

ABA Journal: Which law schools overperformed on the bar exam? Some are unranked by US News

BA Journal:

Which law schools overperformed on the bar exam? Some are unranked by US News

"'Overall, top-performing schools are “not spending extravagantly more resources, and in many instances are spending less, than other schools to achieve bar success,' the study said."

The top overperforming law schools were:

  1. Florida International University

  2. Stanford University

  3. The University of Southern California

  4. The University of California at Berkeley

  5. The University of North Carolina

  6. Belmont University

  7. The University of Michigan

  8. Florida State University

  9. The University of California at Los Angeles

  10. The University of Virginia

  11. Campbell University

  12. Yale University

  13. Louisiana State University

  14. The University of Georgia

  15. Duke University

  16. Harvard University

  17. Wake Forest University

  18. Georgia State University

  19. The University of Chicago

  20. The University of Pennsylvania

  21. The University of Illinois

  22. Baylor University

  23. Washington & Lee University

  24. Liberty University

  25. Vanderbilt University

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 9, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Pushing Back Against Langdell by Emily Zimmerman

Pushing Back Against Langdell by Emily Zimmerman.


Legal education is dominated by the study of court opinions, which are the product of litigation. This focus on the law in the context of litigation can have detrimental consequences for law students. First, law students may come to believe that the vast majority of disputes are resolved by litigation, which is not the case. Second, law students may believe that the vast majority of law practice is litigation focused, which is also not the case. Third, law students may develop a warped view of the world in which situations and relationships (both business and personal) are destined to end in catastrophe and breakdown. This Article explores how legal education can remedy the tyranny of litigation, particularly during the first year of law school. In particular, the Article highlights the need for transparency with our students about the focus on litigation in the law school curriculum and the impact that such a focus may have on our students. We should remind students that most relationships do not end in litigation, most situations do not end in catastrophe, and most disputes are resolved in ways other than litigation. The Article also describes how engaging students in alternatives-to-litigation counterfactuals can help students develop a broader and more realistic view of relationships, dispute resolution, and the role of lawyers.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 8, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Law Students Face Mandatory Bias Training Beginning In Fall 2022 Under Proposed ABA Diversity Accreditation Requirement

From Reuters.


"Law schools would have to train students in bias, racism and crosscultural competency under a proposal before the American Bar Association’s policymaking body this month.

The ABA’s House of Delegates on Feb. 14 will consider a series of changes to its law school accreditation rules, including a new requirement that schools provide bias training at least twice during a student’s time on campus — once at the start of their studies and at least once more before they graduate."

"But the proposal has garnered skepticism from some inside and outside the legal academy. The majority of public comments the council received warned that requiring bias training would interfere with curricula or convey a particular ideology. Some also said the proposal is too vague."

"'It is more constructive to foster spaces that encourage the free exchange of ideas than to impose consensus through mandatory training and courses,' the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said in a comment it submitted."

"A group of 10 Yale law professors wrote that requiring bias training is an 'unwarranted intrusion' on the autonomy of law schools."  (here)

"The organization is also slated to consider the addition of ethnicity, gender identity and military status to the accreditation standard prohibiting discrimination, as well as requirements that schools provide information about student well-being resources and student loan repayment."

(Scott Fruehwald)


February 6, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)