Professionalism and in the legal profession
Are you an Employer?    Attract the Best Candidates with Smart Job Postings! Search Legal Resumes
Legal Jobs Board for Attorneys, Law Students & Legal Staff | Serving USA & Other Countries | LawCrossing

Need Help? Call (800) 973-1177 

Job Seeker Login   Employer Login 

Job Seekers?  Try it Now  

ATTORNEY JOBS
LAW STUDENT JOBS
LEGAL STAFF JOBS
Download LawCrossing Online Apps: Click here  
1,000,000 + Attorneys and Legal Staff - Legal employers hire more people on LawCrossing than any other site.
See Law Jobs We Have Recently Researched and Located for You
What Where
Show Recruiter Jobs  

Show Refreshed Jobs  



Search in Job Title Only
Job Type:
Employer Type:

+ Browse Legal Jobs     + Advanced Search     + Search Tips     + Upload Legal Resume
Legal Jobs >> Legal Articles >> Feature >> Professionalism and in the legal profession
  • Feature

Professionalism and in the legal profession


by      
Printable Version PDF Version Email to a Friend
Subscribe to LawCrossing  
 Share on Facebook
 Twitter

Like LawCrossing on Facebook


Through these developments, Illinois joins the many other state courts, bar associations, and legal organizations determined to raise the level of professionalism among lawyers. This determination is not new. Long ago, the campaign to move legal education away from apprenticeships and into law schools was aimed in part at just this end. The motivations for the more recent campaigns and initiatives are various. For the Illinois Supreme Court, the primary motivation seems to be a perception that the "Rambo-style, win-at-all-cost attitude by attorneys" has been quite harmful to the profession and everyone involved in it. Some of the efforts by other organizations have been motivated by concern that financial considerations are too often given priority over service to clients and the justice system.

Law schools, too, have been part of this effort and are intensifying their focus on professionalism. Last year, for example, I attended a workshop on approaches to teaching professionalism in law schools. An important goal here is a desire to ensure that graduates have a strong appreciation of law as a form of service to clients and to the public, and not just something one does to earn a living. To practice law is a privilege, and it should be open only to those persons having not only a base of knowledge and skills, but also demonstrably good character and a sense of responsibility to the constituencies they serve. Law schools cannot create good character (although they can encourage it). But they can impart a sense of responsibility to clients and other constituencies as they impart fundamental knowledge and skills.

Thus, the law faculty at Valparaiso has been developing programs and practices to improve instruction in professionalism. For example, we added to the new-student orientation a program on professionalism that serves as an introduction to the history of lawyering and professionalism and an introduction to the expectations of clients, judges, and fellow attorneys. Currently, the faculty is working on enhancements to their teaching that will enable them to do a better job of instilling the values of professionalism across the curriculum.

Thus far, I have been discussing professionalism in terms of responsibility to clients, judges, fellow attorneys, and the public. But professionalism has several aspects; another fundamental one consists of responsibility to oneself. This aspect is harder to teach and thus is often neglected because it is intimately interconnected with character. Yet it is no less central to what we understand by professionalism. It is also central to one's opportunities for success.

In the context of law school, this aspect of professionalism can be approximated by the maxim "Take your professional education seriously." You are investing three years of your life; borrowing to fund your future; and undergoing the daily rigors of reading assignments, classes, and exams. To fail to take your professional education seriously is to waste this investment. It is also to give up opportunities. You are taking actions today for the benefit of yourself tomorrow, and you owe it to yourself to maximize the probability you will be successful tomorrow and maximize your available options. You have only one chance at law school, and when you have only one chance, you must play to win. It is easy to list the things you should and should not do as part of your responsibility to yourself. You should take classes seriously. Prepare for them, and don't use them as a time to catch up on email. Take the job-search process seriously from day one. Set career goals, and work with the Career Planning Office to pursue them effectively. Don't wait until your third year to start the search. Take the bar examination seriously. Dedicate yourself fully to preparing for it so that you maximize your chance to pass the first time (or else don't sign up to take it until you are ready to make this commitment). Take your reputation and public behavior seriously.

But as important as these prescriptions are, responsibility to self is not just a matter of dos and don'ts. At bottom, it is a matter of taking charge of the one aspect of your professional development that law schools can't teach—the character and attitude that make for a full professional. We can help, but you alone are the master of your character.

This story originally ran in the Valparaiso Law School student publication, the Forum.
 
 


Facebook comments:



"We want to hear your thoughts. Please comment on this article (below)!"

Comments


Comments:
Very interesting!

Posted by: NA   |   Date: 12-06-2005




Comment Comment
Related Article
Law professor says that nonlawyers should be allowed leadership positions in the legal profession

Law professor says that nonlawyers should be allowed leadership positions in the legal profession ....

Women in the Legal Profession

The article aims to provide detailed information about the contemporary position of women in the legal profession. Women have managed to come out of their shell and set foot on the same podium as men in almost every sphere of modern life. Sandra Day O'Connor, the first women judge in the U.S Supreme Court has ....

Finding Your Match in the Legal Profession: An Excerpt from The Best Law Schools' Admissions Secrets

Law school is a professional school, and the ultimate reason for getting into law school is to prepare for a career in the legal profession. Just as there are many roads to law school, so are there many roads leading from law school. In the course of your working life, you are likely to experience more than o ....


Featured Testimonials

I like the volume of jobs on LawCrossing. It is a good site to refer to anyone concerned with the legal profession.
Darren

Facts

LawCrossing Fact #159: Upload your resume to our exclusive site and have it reviewed by interested employers!


total jobs
70,006
Upload Your Resume
New Legal Jobs in Last 7 Days
18,297
Facebook Twitter
job search tip
Don't assume the interviewer is knowledgeable about your industry, field, or specialty. Don't use jargon, company lingo, industry buzz words.
2014 Most Influential Legal Recruiter Rankings
Get the ranking

Your privacy is guaranteed. We will never give out, lease, or sell your personal information.


Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.