The Florida Bar
2014-2015 Law School Reports on Professionalism
Standing Committee on Professionalism Project along with the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism
The Standing Committee on Professionalism and the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism desires to see professionalism and civility inculcated into law students throughout law school as they interact with faculty, members of the bench, bar, the public and even clients under supervision. To foster an exchange of ideas and programs within the academy, the Annual Law School Report was reinstated in 2012 by the Standing Committee on Professionalism. This report seeks to gather information regarding professionalism efforts that are taking place within the 12 Florida law schools. As the profession continues to grow, it is imperative that law schools remain dedicated to developing their students in a manner that will ensure the students practice with professionalism and civility upon graduation.
Ave Maria School of Law
Ave Maria School of Law is busy promoting professionalism in its student body in several ways. For example, the School introduces all new students to concepts of professionalism at each student orientation. Further, Ave Maria promotes professionalism through an award program which recognizes one student for embodying concepts of professionalism and outstanding academic achievement and honors the student with the school’s most prestigious award, the “Mary, Queen of Lawyers” award.
Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law
Barry University continues to encourage professionalism through innovative programs such as the Student Professionalism Enhancement Program which was enacted in 2009 to develop essential professionalism skills in law students. In addition, in 2012, Barry imposed a unique professionalism graduation requirement. Specifically, students must participate in a minimum of six (6) hours of professionalism enhancement programming by and through the use of practice ready skills modules that discuss a wide variety of professionalism topics such as civility, manners, indirect and direct communication skills, and conflict resolution. Further, each student is required to attend a minimum of one professionalism program each year. In order to aid in the implementation of this requirement, Barry strongly encourages law school student organizations to host and coordinate professionalism programs using the skills modules developed for that purpose. In addition, Barry promotes professionalism by partnering with local organizations and offering several seminars such as the “Pizza and Professionalism” Workshop. This Workshop is co-hosted by the Orange County Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee and promotes professionalism by having members of the Professionalism Committee attend and speak about their personal professional experiences and views.
Florida A&M University College of Law
To promote professionalism early in a student’s law school experience, Florida A&M University College of Law includes a half-day professionalism program during the first-year orientation. This program demonstrates different disruptive law school behaviors and identifies how those behaviors can follow the students into the practice of law. The College of Law further encourages professionalism through a mentoring program for students developed by Professor Nicola Boothe-Perry with assistance from the Student Bar Association. This program pairs students with mentors and focuses on mentoring in matters of professionalism. In addition to fostering the mentor program, Professor Boothe-Perry continues to promote professionalism through legal publication and has written a soon to be published professionalism article entitled “Friends of Justice: Does Social Media Impact the Public Perception of the Justice System?” Additionally, the College has an Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Skills Training which assists students in developing the skills necessary to become successful practice-ready attorneys. This Committee focuses largely on professionalism in its professional-skills training.
Florida Coastal School of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law fosters professionalism through several programs. First, the School requires all first-year students to attend a mandatory session on “Professionalism in the Classroom, on Campus, and in the Community,” as well as a segment on “Managing Your Online Presence.” In addition, to aid in performance on the MPRE, students must take the MPRE as the final exam for their required Professional Responsibility course. The College of Law further encourages professionalism by offering students the ability to shadow lawyers and judges in action who adhere to principles of professionalism in their everyday work life. In addition, the School recognizes professional behavior in deserving students through an awards initiative managed by the Student Professional Development Committee. The Committee selects a student each month to receive the professionalism student of the month award to encourage professionalism among peers. The Professional Development Committee further works with the SBA to provide training on appropriate courtroom attire for students participating in clinics and externships.
Florida International University College of Law
Florida International University College of Law cotinues to utilize the "Pathways to the Profession Initiative" to address concerns raised regarding whether law schools sufficiently promote legal skills and values. The initiative assists students both academically and professionally from before new student orientation until after graduation. In addition, FIU has all first year students agree to the Professionalism Oath & First Year Pledge and has adopted The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism's written definition of professionalism. The law school also has integrated professionalism into its curriculum including Professionalism, Ethics, and the Legal Profession, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Mediation. FIU strives to offer multiple resources for its students regarding professionalism which include the Trial Advocacy Program and pre-law webinars and summer professionalism workshops. Students also have great opportunities to meet and work with local attorneys and judges through available mentoring programs with the Dade County Bar Association, The Florida Bar Young Lawyers' Division, Law Student - FIU Law Chapter, and the Hispanic National Bar Association, just to name a few.
Florida State University College of Law
Florida State University College of Law has made professionalism an integral part of its legal education by infusing professionalism topics in several offered courses. For example, the College has added two new courses on Jury Selection and Depositions which introduce prospective litigators to a variety of related professionalism issues that arise in these phases of litigation. In addition, first-year students are required to take legal writing courses both semesters, which incorporate professionalism issues. The College of Law’s faculty actively publishes articles on varying topics of professionalism, and one faculty member, Larry Krieger, published two articles on professionalism in 2014 including Walking the Talk: Value Importance, Value Enactment, and Well-Being, 38 J. Motiv. & Emotion 609 (2014) and Service Job Lawyers are Happier than Money Job Lawyers, Despite their Lower Income, 9 J. Pos. Psych. 52 (2014). The College of Law offers workshop and seminar programs on professionalism to include The Winning Edge and Balancing Life and Law, programs developed by the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism, the Standing Committee on Professionalism, the Young Lawyer’s Division, and the Law Student Division of the YLD to introduce law students to core professionalism concepts. Both of these programs invite legal professionals to engage students in a panel discussion on professionalism. In addition, the College of Law hosted a Networking Nosh Series where students were able to network, both in person and virtually, with successful attorneys who serve as professional mentors and role models.
Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad of Law
The Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University highlights the importance of professionalism in several of their offered courses. For example, first-year students are required to take Lawyering Skills and Values I and II, classes in which students are given theoretical problems involving an attorney’s behavior and are asked to determine which model rules apply to the behavior and what proper professional conduct should be taken in the hypothetical. In addition, in an effort to promote professionalism outside of the classroom, the Office of Alumni Relations organizes seminars through its “Law Center Plus” program in which practicing alumni speak on issues of professionalism in practice. Further, the Center’s Career and Professional Development Office hosts “Career Cafés,” which are presentations by seasoned legal professionals on all matters of their practice including ethical and professional issues. Students who attend these presentations earn professionalism points and those students who earn a set number of points are awarded the “Dean’s Certificate of Professionalism.”
St. Thomas University School of Law
St Thomas University School of Law encourages professionalism in unique ways. For example, during the fall semester, the St. Thomas Law School sponsored a “Professionalism Day” to acquaint students with the expectations of the legal profession. As part of the Professionalism Day, prominent practitioners shared their perspectives with the student body on practicing law in a professional manner. Additionally, several students and faculty members of St. Thomas University School of Law participated in the Steven R. Booher Inns of Court in Broward County, Florida which allows its student-members to work with senior professional members on exercises involving many different aspects of professionalism. In addition to the foregoing, the College of Law sponsors a number of “Lunch & Learn” programs, facilitated by the Career Services Office, in which visiting practitioners provide insight and guidance on the practice of law and professionalism in various substantive areas.
Stetson University College of Law
Starting with first-year law courses, Stetson integrates the importance of professionalism into its coursework particularly in Legal Research and Writing courses, which use the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility to discuss the responsibilities, reputation, and respect that is required of lawyers and law students. In addition, Stetson’s College of Law has developed an innovative program to promote professionalism entitled the Professional Development Conference, in which 25 students are chosen and given an annual stipend to attend professional development conferences, interviews, and events. On a smaller scale, the College chooses approximately 100-150 of its law students to participate in a ten hour local leadership development certificate program which focuses on teaching problem solving and team building skills. The College of Law promotes professionalism to the entire student body by hosting a 4-hour conference, in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Bar Association, that focuses on civility, the legal professional's reputation in the community, and enhancing credibility as lawyers entitled “Legendary Lawyers Professionalism Seminar: What Do You Want Your Legacy To Be?”
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School held an orientation in August 2014 for the fall semester and another one in January 2015. Each orientation includes four ethical components to include (1) Professionalism in Action, (2) Cooley's Honor Code and Disciplinary Procedures, (3) Cooley’s Commitment to Honor, and (4) Cooley's Professionalism Plan. This program creates a culture of professionalism in the Law School and exposes students to a professional atmosphere and professional development throughout the enrollment process. In addition, Cooley houses an Ethics and Professionalism Library that maintains approximately 3,237 titles and 5,951 volumes of ethics materials available to students. Further, Cooley promotes professionalism through development committees including (1) the Ethics and Professionalism Committee, (2) the Personal and Professional Responsibility Committee, (3) the Service Committee, and (4) the Pro Bono Committee. Last, he College of Law offers professionalism workshops to its students such the Integrity in Our Community Speaker’s Series.
University of Florida Levin College of Law
The University Of Florida Levin College Of Law requires first-year law students to take “Introduction to Lawyering and the Legal Profession,” which introduces the importance of the role that lawyers have in serving clients and society. This course focuses on the evolving nature of legal services, various types of law practices, the demographics of the legal profession, and the challenges lawyers may face in finding personal satisfaction in their careers. The College of Law hosts a Professionalism Week, organized in a collective effort by student organizations and the law school administration, which invites members of the legal community to come in and share advice with students regarding the professional expectations of the legal profession. In addition, the College of Law NaviGators Program is an organized event at the federal courthouse in Miami that allows current and incoming law students to meet with alumni to get advice on preparing to enter the legal profession. Last, the Levin College of Law promotes professionalism through an array of seminars and workshops, including the Law and Justice Conference, Spring Boot Camp, and the Second Annual Joe Milton "Civility Matters" Luncheon.
University of Miami School of Law
The University Of Miami School Of Law has been actively promoting professionalism through its unique, award winning professionalism programs such as (1) the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program (PREP); (2) the Mindfulness in Law Program and (3) the Partnership for Professionalism Program. Through PREP, law students receive one course credit and satisfy their writing or skills requirement by customizing and presenting programs for the local legal community which discuss and confront ethics issues such as the legal profession's use of outsourcing, social media, e-discovery, and technology. Further, the Mindfulness in Law Program, developed by Professor Scott Rogers, offers several courses intended to increase the students’ ability to focus, concentrate, and relate more effectively to challenging situations, personally and professionally. Last, the Partnership for Professionalism Program is a well-attended biannual meeting and dinner where approximately one hundred judges, attorneys, and law students gather for informal roundtable discussions on professionalism.