Center for Professionalism: Law School Report Stetson 2007
STETSON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW
2007 PROFESSIONALISM REPORT
2007 Summary of Professionalism-related Projects
Stetson University College of Law
November 30, 2007
Stetson University College of Law maintains a strong commitment to professionalism from its faculty, staff, and student body. Listed below are some of the most significant professionalism initiatives of the College of Law in 2007.
Leadership Development Series
At Stetson, we believe in training attorneys to be leaders in their field; we also believe in educating the whole person, which involves providing significant programming and activities outside the traditional classroom. One signature program in both regards is the Leadership Development Series, which allows students to advance their professional development by attending high-quality presentations on a variety of topics that will help them to evolve into successful, ethical leaders. Stetson had the honor of receiving the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility’s prestigious E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award for this program in 2006. Students who attend a sufficient number of presentations during their tenure at the College of Law are awarded a Leadership Certificate at graduation. In December 2006, 10 certificates were awarded; in May 2007, 58 certificates were awarded. We anticipate that 21 will be awarded in December 2007. Presentations this year have included:
January 2007 monthly luncheon: former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, “Personal Integrity”
February 2007 monthly luncheon: Panel discussion, “Leading in the Game of Life”
2007 Annual Leadership Retreat: Deborah Reigel, “The Building Blocks for Professional Success”
March 2007 monthly luncheon: Toastmasters, “Effective Preparation and Speech Delivery”
April 2007 monthly luncheon: Desiree Davis, “How to Thrive at Professional Social Events”
April 2007 special presentation: Dean Darby Dickerson, “Keys to Summer Associate Success”
September 2007 monthly luncheon: Professor Kristen Adams, “Leadership and Law School”
October 2007 special presentation: Stetson Alumnus Prakash Khatri, Department of Homeland Security Ombudsman
October 2007 monthly luncheon: Panel discussion, “Leadership in the Community”
November 2007 monthly luncheon: Professor Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. and Judge Jim Henson, “Professional Responsibility”
Fall 2007 Outdoor Challenge Education: High ropes course at the University of South Florida
New Student Orientation
Because we believe that the first day of law school is the first day of a student’s professional career as an attorney, New Student Orientation focuses heavily on civility, ethics, and professionalism. Among other things, our programming includes an Ethical Decision-Making Seminar with Professor Roberta Flowers, who holds the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professorship, a position that is devoted to professionalism and student-leadership training. During the program, Professor Flowers uses series of videos that depict scenes of professionalism issues in the law school setting, such as promptness, email etiquette, and fair competition. In addition, the Professionalism Lunch features a judge or well-regarded member of the bar who explains basic professionalism concepts to the students. At the end of the luncheon, the students take an Oath of Professionalism, a copy of which is enclosed. Speakers for the Professionalism Luncheon this year have included:
January 2007: Judge Claudia Isom
August 2007: Judge David Demers (part-time students)
Judge Kevin Carey (11111-time students session A)
Judge Richard Nielsen (full-time students session B)
In addition to these programs, members of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners speak to the students about issues including professionalism, and professors and upper-level students who work with the students during New Student Orientation integrate professionalism issues into their presentations and interactions with the entering students.
Professionalism and Advocacy Skill Colloquium Series
In conjunction with Stetson’s focus on advocacy training, the College of Law developed a Professionalism and Advocacy Skill Colloquium Series. These are taught through the student organizations on campus. This fall’s presentations have included jury selection, case analysis, case preparation and expert witnesses. We are now in the process of embedding these series in our online Advocacy Resource Center that is now available to Stetson students.
As a new project, and because ethics and professionalism problems unfortunately have become more common during interscholastic competitions, Stetson took the initiative and hosted a program in June 2007 on “Professionalism and Ethics at Mock Trial Competitions.” Advocacy team coaches from five Florida law schools attended the program, which focused on ways to increase professionalism in the competition setting. Following this meeting, several suggestions were provided to competition hosts and directors in Florida that should help to increase professionalism. We hope to continue this dialogue and to host future meetings of this group.
Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy has created a first-of-its-kind online Advocacy Resource Center. This initiative will allow students and attorneys from across the country, and around the world, to learn to be skilled, professional advocates. The Resource Center contains short presentations (called “Advocacy Training Modules”) on discrete topics, allowing for quick access and learning. Professionalism is embedded throughout these Advocacy Training Modules.
In November 2007, the Center hosted an inaugural symposium for law school professors who teach legal skills. Significant portions of this program included discussions about integrating and improving professionalism training through the effective design and implementation of skills courses.
In May 2008, the Center will host new full-time skills professors and adjunct skills professors from across the nation in a new training program. The program will train these professors how to effectively teach students legal skills, including how to integrate professionalism and ethics concepts into the curriculum.
In October 2008, the Center will host the inaugural National Pretrial Competition. Teams from approximately 12 to 16 schools nationally will send teams to compete in a series of events related to civil pretrial litigation. Although the planning process for this now competition is ongoing, the College of Law has committed to give a Professionalism Award to the team who demonstrates the highest level of civility, professionalism, and ethics during the competition.
Stetson sends dozens of teams to state, regional, national, and international advocacy competitions of all types, from interviewing and counseling of a client through the appellate process. These competitions provide students with mentoring from at least one faculty member, judge, or practicing attorney who serves as the coach for the team. Stetson sent one team to the National Ethics Competition in Sacramento, California in 2007; that team advanced to the semi-final round of competition.
Win. Reese Sin it/ Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law
As noted above, Professor Roberta Flowers currently holds Stetson’s Wm. Reese Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law. Professor Flowers is a National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism Fellow, and was appointed by the President of The Florida Bar Association to serve on the Attorney/Client Privilege Task Force. In 2004, she was awarded The Florida Supreme Court’s Professionalism Award for law teachers. She speaks regularly on issues of ethics and professionalism. A sampling of her presentations from 2007 includes:
Panelist on “How Close Is Too Close: The Proper Relationship between the Court and Counsel” for Cheatwood Inn of Court
Presentations on professional responsibilities of attorneys appearing in federal court appealing social security decisions and on evidentiary issues at hearings for continuing legal education event
Session on “Ethics and the Elderly” at The Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section annual meeting
Panelist on “Professionalism across the Globe” at the National Inns of Court Meeting
Co-taught class on Comparative Ethics in Stetson’s Freiburg, Germany summer abroad program
In January 2007, Stetson hosted the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Lecture by former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in conjunction with the Annual Inns of Court banquet. The emphasis of this program is professionalism.
Clinics and Internships
Stetson is committed to experiential student learning, including significant opportunities to study outside the traditional classroom. Our clinical programs offer students practical experiences to compliment the academic curriculum. We typically place about 150 students in clinical and internship positions during each fall and spring semester, with about 75 placements during the summer session.
Graduation Professionalism Retreat
Stetson’s Graduation Professionalism Retreat serves as the orientation into the legal profession during a student’s final year of law school. Though voluntary at this time, eventually we anticipate that all students will be required to participate in the retreat. The retreat begins with a conversation with a married couple speaking about “Personal and Profession Lives in Balance.” Throughout the day students learn about the practicalities of life in firms of all sizes or public service. Sessions include:
“A Nuts and Bolts Panel Discussion: Everything I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me” (with recent graduates)
“The Balancing Act,” including information on Professional Development Opportunities, Maintaining a Spiritual Life, Financial Security, and Substance Abuse and Wellness Issues
“Practicing with Professionalism: A Panel Discussion with Senior Practitioners, Bar Leaders, Judges, and Faculty”
“Great Expectations” (discussing expectations in various types of private and public practice areas)
The day concludes with a General Session. In Spring 2007, the General Session included Keynote Speaker John Berry on “Being a Lawyer Is the Best Job in Town, If Only....”; in Fall 2007, the General Session included “Masters of the Profession” with Professor Wm Reece Smith, Jr., Judge David A. Demers of Florida’s Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County Public Defender Robert Dillinger, and Professor Roberta Flowers. The Fall 2007retreat also included a banquet and Keynote Address delivered by Stetson alumna Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein.
Stetson has concentration programs to allow students to focus their elective studies in International Law, Advocacy, or Elder Law. These concentration programs include a strong mentoring component, as well as pro bono service requirements within the concentration.
In addition, all Stetson faculty and students have a required public service requirement. Faculty must donate at least 10 hours a year to public service of some sort, and students must complete a 20-hour pro bono requirement to graduate. Students who perform at least double the required number of hours are recognized at graduation with the William Blews Award. Approximately one-third of graduates typically earn this honor.
During 2007, Stetson also sponsored a student to attend the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Conference.
Stetson hosted The Florida Bar Professionalism Commission and Standing Committee on Professionalism’s spring 2007 meeting at its Tampa Law Center in April 2007.
Stetson is very committed to the American Inns of Court movement. During the 2006— 2007 academic year, Thirty-four Stetson students and faculty members (fill-time and adjunct) participated in five Inns of Court in the Greater Tampa Bay Area. In addition, the Bruce R. Jacob Criminal Appellate Inn of Court, formed in 2006, is named in honor of Stetson Professor and Dean Emeritus Bruce Jacob; the Inn meets at Stetson’s Tampa Law Center.
In summer 2007, Stetson hosted a Civil Rights Experiential Education course, with a trip to various sites of importance in the Civil Rights Movement. The course involved graduate students from the University of South Florida and Stetson University College of Law students, and was co-taught by Stetson Professor Robert Bickel and USF Professor Ray Arsenault.
In September 2007, students were invited to a dinner presentation with author Christen Civiletto Carey on “Leadership for the New Lawyer.”
Several Stetson professors have given presentations before state and national audiences that involve professionalism issues. Below are a few examples:
Professor Roy Gardner: Presented The Role of Ethics and the Professional Wetlands Scientist: Legal Issues 2007 Society of Wetland Scientists International Conference, Sacramento, CA (June 15, 2007).
Professor Rebecca Morgan: Moderated a multi-disciplinary panel on professionalism and ethics as part of the Clifton Kruse annual lecture on professionalism, NAELA Fall Meeting, Memphis, TN (November 2, 2007).
Stetson University College of Law’s core values include strong commitments to professionalism, ethics, civility, mutual respect, and integrity. Although we have listed above myriad programs and initiatives that focus primarily on professionalism, we attempt to integrate concepts of civility, professionalism, and ethics into the daily life of the law school. Professors emphasize professionalism points in class, faculty and administrators set a professional tone for students, and upper-level students mentor new students on civility issues. We appreciate The Florida Bar’s interest in our programs and support for various projects regarding professionalism and look forward to working with the Bar on many future projects.
Stetson University College of Law
“I, [state your name], as a student entering Stetson University College of Law, understand that I am joining an academic community and am embarking on a professional career.
The law school community and the legal profession share important values that are reflected in Stetson’s Academic Honor Code and in its Code of Student Professionalism and Conduct.
I have read these Codes and will conduct my academic, professional and personal life to honor the values reflected therein.”