The next Steps of a Formation-of-Student-Professional Identity Social Movement: Building Bridges Among the Three Key Stakeholders – Faculty and Staff, Students, and Legal Employers and Clients
19 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 26, 2017
The major challenge for this symposium on next steps for the formation-of-student-professional-identity social movement is how substantially to increase the number of law students nationally who experience required professional-identity curriculum. A foundational question is what are the elements of student professional identity that such a curriculum is fostering? There are substantial common themes in definitions of student professional identity in the articles in this symposium. For example, William Sullivan writes “The third apprenticeship is concerned with providing entrants to the field effective ways to engage and make their own the ethical standards, social roles and responsibilities of the profession, grounded in the profession’s fundamental purposes.” The Bilionis and Hamilton articles recommend that the formation of professional identity entails the student’s acceptance and internalization of a responsibility (1) for his or her continuing development toward excellence at all of the competencies of the profession, and (2) to others whom the student will serve as a professional including clients, colleagues, and the legal system.
Section I synthesizes themes from the nine articles in the symposium that discuss the process over the last 25 years of creating a framework to understand the formation of student professional identity. Section II synthesizes themes from the four articles in the symposium that advocate “going where they are” and building bridges among the three key stakeholders (faculty/staff, students, and legal employers/clients) to foster the formation of each student’s professional identity. Section III synthesizes existing scholarship in general, including this symposium, to articulate the most effective strategies to achieve the goal of increasing the number of students nationally who experience required professional-identity curriculum.
Keywords: Professionals, Professional Identity, Professional Formation, Lawyers, Legal Profession, Professional Responsibility
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