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Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009
Law Schools, Supreme Court Commission Discuss Professionalism

The Supreme Court of Ohio’s Commission on Professionalism hosted its first statewide discussion with law school deans recently about how Ohio law schools can better promote professionalism issues and develop a deeper sense of professional identity in their students.

Under Gov. Bar R. XV, the commission is charged with monitoring and coordinating professionalism efforts and activities in Ohio law schools and assisting in the development of law school curricula that emphasizes professionalism. The meeting re-engaged law school deans in discussions that began years ago about their respective professionalism programs.

Each of Ohio’s nine law schools and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University sent representatives to the meeting.

The conversation was framed and supplemented by insights brought to light in the Carnegie Foundation’s report Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law. The report contends that although legal education does a remarkable job of teaching analytic thinking, it could do more to fully integrate the practice skills necessary for the practice of law and better address the development of professional identity and values of future lawyers.

“It is important to foster dialog among legal educators, practicing attorneys, judges, and the public about how to best prepare law students to undertake the ethical responsibilities of being a professional,” University of Dayton Law School Dean Lisa Kloppenberg said. “The meeting with the commission, which consists of practicing lawyers, judges, and non-attorneys, provides an ideal opportunity for such a discussion. The end result should benefit our justice system.”

The schools’ presentations covered how they promote professionalism and assist students in forming professional identities and their future plans in response to the report. The law schools also suggested how the commission might provide support for this process. The commission also shared some of its ideas on the topic.

Contact: Chris Davey or Bret Crow at 614.387.9250.