Each Law Student Must Take Increasing Ownership Over Professional Development During Law School

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



professional identity formation


Imagine that faculty and staff, working together, could help each law student grow over three years to take increasing ownership over the student’s own professional development. This shift of responsibility for driving the educational process for each student from external pressures created by the faculty and staff to internalized ownership of continuous professional development would be extremely beneficial to the students, the faculty and staff, legal employers, clients, and the legal system.

This article first analyzes how the competency of internalized ownership over continuous professional development is foundational for legal education’s evolution toward competencybased education. Each student’s growth toward later stages of this competency will provide substantial benefits to students as well as to faculty and staff at a law school. The article then looks at the importance that legal employers give to this foundational competency, and the obvious benefit to a student who can demonstrate evidence to potential employers that he or she is at a later stage of development on this competency. The article finally looks at what we know about effective curriculum to foster each student’s growth toward later stages of ownership.