TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, June 9, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Article of the Week: Louis D. Bilionis (Cincinnati), Bringing Purposefulness to the American Law School's Support of Professional Identity Formation.  Ten years ago, the Carnegie Report emphasized the importance of including professional identity formation in the law school curriculum.  While some progress has been made in this area by law schools over the past ten years, much, much more needs to be done.  In February, the Holloran Center at the University of St. Thomas School of Law held a conference entitled .  In his contribution to the conference, Dean Bilionis declared that there needs to be a new mindset on the part of law schools, professors, and other law school professionals to properly help law students develop their professional identities.  Here is the abstract of his article:

"Ten years after the publication of Educating Lawyers, a growing number of American law schools are taking initiative to better support their students in the formation of professional identity. There is widespread recognition that success in these efforts requires an element of 'purposefulness' on the part of law faculty and staff. Experiences, environments, and pedagogies that actually work for professional identity formation must be crafted and promoted with intentionality. Bringing the requisite purposefulness to the effort, however, will take a mindset about the education of a lawyer that will be new to many in legal education. This article explores that mindset and the habits of the mind that will best serve law schools as they move forward in this area. Schools need not abandon prevailing approaches to the cognitive and skills dimensions of a law student’s education that Educating Lawyers called the first and second apprenticeships, respectively. But when it comes to the third apprenticeship of professional identity and sense of purpose, a reorientation in thinking about law students, their law school, and the educational process is necessary. That change in the way of thinking can be invigorating and empowering, revealing opportunities with time, talent, space, and experiences that have been underexplored by American legal education."

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