Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Hamilton & Bilionis: Law Student Professional Development and Formation: Bridging Law School, Student, and Employer Goals

Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas; Google Scholar) & Louis D. Bilionis (Cincinnati), Law Student Professional Development and Formation: Bridging Law School, Student, and Employer Goals (Cambridge University Press 2022):

Cambridge 3Law schools currently do an excellent job of helping students to 'think like a lawyer,' but empirical data show that clients, legal employers, and the legal system need students to develop a wider range of competencies. This book helps legal educators to understand these competencies and provides practical ways to build them into a law school curriculum. Based on recommendations from the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Schools, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it will equip students with the skills they need not only to think but to act and feel like a lawyer. With this proposed model, students will internalize the need for professional development toward excellence, their responsibility to others, a client-centered approach to problem solving, and strong well-being practices. These four goals constitute a lawyer's professional identity, and this book empowers legal educators to foster each student's development of a professional identity that leads to a gratifying career that serves society well. This title is Open Access.


This book is an invaluable resource as law schools increasingly seek to prepare students to be lawyers and not just think like them. It lays out both the why and the how of professional identity formation programs, with lots of concrete guidance to assist faculty, staff, and deans in creating their own programs.
Wendy Perdue, Dean at the University of Richmond School of Law, and former President of the American Association of Law Schools

Essential reading for those in legal education grappling with how to intentionally weave professional development and formation throughout the curriculum. Legal educators and employers will appreciate the comprehensive evaluation of empirical studies and incorporation of those findings into constructive models, and lessons learned from competency-based medical education that can inform curricular development and law student coaching, particularly during major transitions, to aid their healthy assimilation into the profession.
Patricia E. Roberts, Dean, Charles E. CantĂș Distinguished Professor of Law, St. Mary's University School of Law

In the last 15 years of major change in the profession, significant attention has been given to the need for law students to develop a sense of professional identity. This important book offers core resources for legal educators who wish to support school-wide initiatives and to assist individual students in their efforts to integrate core values and practices as part of their professional lives.
Judith Welch Wegner, Burton Craige Professor of Law, Emerita, at the University of North Carolina School of Law

Law Student Professional Development and Formation is an extraordinarily important contribution to our understanding of how we can help law students to learn, grow, develop, and take on their professional identity. Hamilton and Bilionis offer specific frameworks, tools, competencies, and models relevant for faculty as well as for academic support, admissions, career services, and student affairs professionals. This timely book helps us to take professional formation from happenstance to design.
Garry W. Jenkins, Dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School

What to make of today's talk about developing professional identity in law school? This book demystifies the issue. Hamilton and Bilionis explain why a focus on law students' professional identity formation will be so important for student success, as well as the future of the legal profession. Even better, they draw from both current research and their teaching experience to explain and demonstrate how to do this well.
William M. Sullivan, author of the Carnegie Foundation study of legal education, Educating Lawyers: Preparing for the Profession of Law

We have used the framework of purposefulness, the milestone model, the whole-building approach, and other concepts in this volume to redesign our professional development program, and these changes have transformed the way we interact with our students. The ideas advanced by Hamilton and Bilionis are hard won, the products of many years of serious engagement with the professional development literature and with the lives of individual students. I am grateful to have all of these ideas compiled and organized in this amazing book.
D. Gordon Smith, Dean and Ira A. Fulton Chair, Brigham Young University School of Law

This is that rare summation and synthesis of a lifetime's work that deftly provides a practical roadmap for the future. By reimagining legal education through a student- and practice-centered lens that elevates student professional development and identity formation, Hamilton and Bilionis have ultimately provided a comprehensive guide useful for law schools, the legal profession, and students.
James Leipold, Executive Director of NALP, the National Association for Law Placement

This book acknowledges the professional development ecosystem in which lawyers and their careers develop, beginning in law school.  Law schools that adopt a competency-based model will make students more effective in the workplace. Exposing students to such systems allows students to leverage those models for individual success.
Mina Jones Jefferson, Esq., Chief People Officer, Graydon Law

I dare say that no coauthors other than Neil Hamilton and Lou Bilionis could have written this book. Their three-quarters of a century as law teachers, scholars, and administrators have equipped them with deep insights that make Law Student Professional Development and Formation a tour de force.
Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law, Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law

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