Paul L. Caron
Dean




Friday, May 6, 2022

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Important new book on professional identity development: Neil Hamilton (St Thomas) & Louis Bilionis (Cincinnati), Law Student Professional Development and Formation: Bridging Law School, Student, and Employer Goals (Cambridge University Press 2022).  You can download this book for free here.

Some comments:

1. 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. 

2. I dare say that no co-authors 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, Owner and Publisher of Law Professors Blog Network

3. 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 to the pastoral care of law students, law schools, and the legal profession.

James Leipold, the executive director of NALP, the National Association for Law Placement, is a leading expert on the entry-level legal employment market and speaks and writes frequently on trends in legal employment for recent law school graduates

4. 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, Former Associate Dean & Chief of Staff, Director, Center for Professional Development, Cincinnati Law and former President of the National Association for Law Placement

5. 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.

Gordon Smith, Dean & Ira A. Fulton Chair, Brigham Young University School of Law

6. 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. 

7. This book is 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 and Charles E. Cantú Distinguished Professor of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio, Texas

8. Law Student Professional Development and Formation is an extraordinarily important contribution to our understanding of how we can help law students 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 take professional formation from happenstance to design.

Garry W. Jenkins, Dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School

9. Since the publication of Educating Lawyers, significant attention has been given to developing a sense of professional identity among law students who are entering the legal profession at a time when law practice has changed significantly and past assumptions about the ethical and personal nature of being a lawyer can no longer be taken for granted.

This important book offers core resources for legal educators who wish to support school-wide initiatives and assist individual students in their efforts to integrate core values and practices as part of their professional lives. It offers tools to build bridges and serves as a timely resource of timely for the post-COVID era when schools are scrambling to help students transition into rapidly changing professional roles. It will prove of great assistance as schools seek to adopt more formal objectives relating to professional identity formation at a time when the American Bar Association is seriously considering imposing related requirements.

Judith Welch Wegner was Burton Craige Emerita Professor of Law and former dean at UNC School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC. She was one of the co-authors of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Educating Lawyers (2007, Jossey-Bass). She was a Past President of the American Association of Law Schools.

 

 

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