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Brooklyn Law School




In this article, we share some ways in which we have adjusted our teaching to comply with Standard 303(b)(3) by addressing professional identity formation through the vehicles of outward-facing and inward-facing character-based skills. We believe that if law students do not intentionally start *811 exploring their professional identities as soon as they step foot into law school, they run the risk of believing that legal education and practice are somehow separate from their inner, personal identities as lawyers when, of course, they are, and ought to be, enmeshed. By injecting skills into the 1L curriculum that force both the development and exploration of professional identity, we seek to avoid this type of fragmentation. We further believe that both inward-facing and outward facing skills are critical to helping students navigate the choices they must make as practicing attorneys. By introducing students to these skills early in their law school career, we hope we are helping to create thoughtful, empathetic, purposeful, and well-balanced lawyers, better equipped to represent their clients and thus, concurrently, providing them opportunities to consider their professional identities as they develop these skills and forecast how they might be used in practice.

Part I of this article generally defines professional identity and introduces ABA Standard 303(b)(3)’s new professional identity formation requirement. Parts II and III explain outward-facing and inward-facing character-based skills, respectively, and explore why these skills are critical for future lawyers. Part IV discusses how the Lawyering Skills classroom is the ideal place to teach these skills to 1Ls, thus beginning an education around professional identity that will span all three years of law school. Finally, Part V shares some of our strategies for incorporating these skills into our 1L curriculum.



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