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Professional Development Database

The list includes 93 first-year, required, law school professional development initiatives based on information from law school websites as of November 2023.

Criteria for Inclusion

To be included on this list, a course or program had to include some type of engagement with professional identity or professional values. A course or program that just offered skill instruction without some engagement with professional identity or professional values was excluded from the list.

While we tried to err on the side of being over-inclusive, this list may not be complete. The list is intended to demonstrate that a large number of law schools are taking steps to address professional development to make students more practice-ready for the legal profession.

Mandatory 1L Class: 1 Credit Courses

School/College (37) Course Description Credits, Grading, Course Length

University of Alabama Law

Introduction to the Study of Law This course will provide information on what to expect in law school, review the fundamentals of the legal system, introduce legal analysis skills, and present strategies for success in law school. This course includes instruction on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism.

1 credit fall semester course

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Preparing to Practice This course provides both critical competency training and self-assessment, communication, and relationship skills necessary for success.

1 credit fall semester course, graded

University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Lawyering Foundations This course is designed to develop critical legal skills, including professionalism and professional reflection. 1 credit spring semester course, graded pass/fail
Boston College Law School Critical Perspectives: Law, Context, and Professional Identity Introduction to a core set of critical perspectives that encourages reflection on the role of race, gender, identity, wealth, and power in the law, in the law school, and in their own professional formation. 1 credit course
Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School Professional Development Milestones Not available 1 credit full-year course
University at Buffalo School of Law The Legal Profession Students will develop an understanding of the skills and professional responsibility of being an attorney, counselor at law and legal advocate. Students will also learn about issues facing law students and attorneys as they try to meet their obligation to "maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct." 1 credit course
Chicago - Kent College of Law Professional Development and Identity In this course, students will be introduced to the concepts of professionalism, professional identity, and practice for lawyers. Includes exercises within and outside of the classroom 1 credit spring semester course
Cleveland State Law Professional Identity Formation

No description available. In addition to course, "Intro to Professional Identity" session is a required as part of orientation.

1 credit full-year course
Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law Foundations of Legal Profession

Taught as a one-week intensive followed by a weekly series of workshops, this course emphasizes collaborative learning, early career planning, close relationships with faculty, and regular interaction with mentor-practitioners. The goal is to help each student personalize their last two years of study.

1 credit winter intensive
University of Georgia Law School Lawyering I & II “Lawyering” covers various strategies and issues that are relevant to a long-term, healthy, and satisfying career in a dynamic profession. Topics may include the business of lawyering, professional-identity formation, cross-cultural competency, legal technology, wellness strategies, and professional communication skills.

1 credit across two semesters, pass/fail

Georgia State College of Law Profession of Law This course will help students to develop three core lawyering competencies: (1) professional and career development; (2) professional identity formation; and (3) foundational academic skills. 1 credit full-year course
Gonzaga University School of Law ProFound The ProFound course coordinates with doctrinal courses and helps to reinforce concepts taught in doctrinal courses by assisting students in self-evaluating their academic performance. The course will also provide students with the expectations for and tools to adhere to standards of professionalism and develop their values and identity as a lawyer. 1 credit full-year course
University of Illinois College of Law Fundamentals of Legal Practice This course will cover basics of professionalism and the legal profession, including marketing and personal branding. Students will also learn about best communication practices, client service, and leadership. 1 credit spring semester course
Lewis & Clark Law School Foundations of Professional Practice Foundations of Professional Practice is a skills-development course that will help define professional identity, improve professionalism and job-seeking skills, and enhance communications skills. 1 credit across two semesters, graded credit/no credit
Loyola University Chicago School of Law Professional Identity Formation This course explores professional identity formation and asks students to unravel the complicated biases built into the legal system. Together, students and professors discuss topics like power, privilege, empathy, and cultural humility. 1 credit fall semester course
University of Mississippi School of Law Professional Identity Formation This course offers a unique opportunity for incoming first-year law students to explore what it truly means to be a member of the legal profession and what their personal roles will be in the profession. 1 credit during the 1L year
Mitchell-Hamline School of Law Foundations of Practice This course introduces and explores the professional competencies that lead to a satisfying and successful professional career. Designed to help students identify the skills, experiences, and individual values that they will bring to their work as lawyers in the profession. 1 credit full-year course
New England Law Responsible Lawyering I & II Responsible Lawyering (RL) develops effective learning strategies that lead to proficient legal analysis on law school exams and beyond. Skill-building activities foster professional identity formation and inclusive, equitable practices. 1 credit across two semesters
University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law The Legal Profession In this course, students acquire a basic understanding of the career paths available to lawyers, legal professionalism, fundamentals of the business of law, and “soft skills” necessary for effective lawyering. Students develop an individual career development strategy for exploring their unique professional interests. 1 credit course, pass/fail
New York Law School Foundations for the Pursuit of Professionalism This second-semester course will develop skills necessary for learning and understanding new concepts throughout a student’s whole legal career. This course will provide instruction on the principles and attitudes of professionalism and will address strategies for identifying and pursuing career and job opportunities. 1 credit spring semester course
Northern Illinois University College of Law Introduction to the Legal Profession Through speakers and panel discussions, students will begin to reflect on the values, skills and qualities needed to be ethical and effective members of the legal profession. The course also includes a focus on fundamental writing skills through reflective essay writing assignments. 1 credit full-year course
University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law The Legal Profession First-year students take a spring Legal Profession class where they begin to shape their professional identity and bring their professional goals into focus. 1 credit spring semester course
Penn State Dickinson Law Law Practice: Contexts and Competencies Law Practice exposes students to "diverse practice settings and substantive areas of practice in which you may choose to use your law degree" to foster "more informed choices". It also facilitates the development of "skills that lawyers use to begin and maintain relationships." 1 credit spring semester course, graded on a Pass with Honors through Fail grading system
Regent University Law School Foundations of Practice Introduction to the lawyer’s roles and responsibilities and development of a moral code and ethical decision-making framework. Includes assessment of students’ God-given gifts, consideration of how their strengths intersect with legal opportunities, and how to pursue a professional calling. 1 credit spring semester course, pass/fail
University of Richmond T. C. Williams School of Law Professional Identity Formation I & II Introduces students to competencies, guiding principles, and practices considered foundational to effective, ethical, and meaningful legal practice. 1 credit across two semesters
University of San Diego School of Law Experiential Advocacy Practicum

Focuses on the development of experiential skills in business law and litigation, meant to expose students to their many career options.

1 credit full-year practicum
University of South Carolina School of Law Introduction to the Legal Profession This course provides an overview of the different roles and environments in which lawyers serve. Students will meet members of the legal profession and be introduced to the basic principles of professionalism. 1 credit fall semester course, pass/fail
University of South Dakota School of Law Foundations of Law This course connects foundational legal concepts, themes, and issues to practical applications in the law. Students will gain a better appreciation of both their potential place within the legal profession and the broader functions of law within society. 1 credit course
Southern Illinois University Law School Professionalism and the Law I and II In this course, students will learn to “learn like a lawyer.” Students will make Academic Success plans for the term and explore their professional identity, start setting professional development goals, and taking first steps to achieving them. 1 credit across two semesters
University of Tulsa College of Law Dean's Seminar on the Legal Profession Introduction to professional development and the process of creating a career plan. Goals: facilitate the transition to a professional career in law or a law-related field, establish expectations of professionalism, examine the legal market, explore varied career opportunities, and develop an understanding of the role of the PDO. 1 credit fall semester course
Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law Professional Development

Professional Development engages students in individualized and active career investigation and professional exploration.

1 credit for each
Wake Forest University School of Law Professional Development Class

This course helps students link the knowledge gained in doctrinal classes with professional opportunities. Students will examine individual strengths and interests; learn about career opportunities; and explore professional habits and values that are expected across all sectors of the legal profession.

Please reach out to Francie Scott with questions about this course.

1 credit full-year course; letter graded
University of Washington School of Law Introduction to Perspectives on the Law Explores critical perspectives as a method of understanding common law to provide context for black letter law. Creates a basic framework for understanding the relationship between race, class, gender, sexuality, and the law to help students deepen their ability to represent and counsel clients from diverse backgrounds and personal identities. 1 credit fall-semester course
West Virginia University College of Law Introduction to the Profession Law students will engage in reflection about the legal profession, their professional identity, and what essential skills, habits, and traits are needed to succeed in the legal profession. 1 credit course
Western New England University School of Law Intro to the Legal Profession This course is designed to introduce students to aspects of legal practice through a simulated client representation. The goals of the course include helping students develop an understanding of the importance of professionalism, legal ethics, and competency and to provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on lawyering skills. 1 credit graded course offered prior to second term
Western State College of Law at Westcliff University Introduction to Legal Methods An introductory academic and practical skills course, designed to provide 1L students the opportunity to acquire skills needed to succeed in law school and beyond. 1 credit spring course
Widener University - Commonwealth Law School Essential Legal Skills A course that hones four essential skill areas: critical reading & analysis, communication, learning methods, and synthesis. In addition to this required course, students must attend a Professional Development Day for credit. 1 credit fall course

Mandatory 1L Class: 2+ Credit Courses

School/College (19) Course Description Credits, Grading, Course Length
University of California Davis School of Law Lawyering Process Lab & Course

This course emphasizes the development of professional skills through interactive activities, with constructive feedback and assessments.

0-credit fall lab course; 2 credit spring course
University of California Irvine Law Legal Profession

This course presents the many career options students have in the legal field and teaches students about the sociology, psychology, and economics of being a lawyer, as well as legal ethics.

3 credit, graded course
University of Cincinnati College of Law Lawyering II

Students complete a simulated case to develop skills, learning about professionalism along the way. UC structures their curriculum within the framework of "The Complete Professional", which pinpoints 5 professional development skills to work on during the JD. Every student must attend 3 annual professional planning meetings.

3 credit spring semester course
Detroit Mercy Law Critical Lawyering Skills in Social Context This interactive course focuses on lawyering competencies. It will use a variety of approaches including simulations and role-plays to help build effective cross cultural lawyering skills. The course is designed to help all students think strategically about the critical skills needed for their law school success and professional goals, and to develop a plan to achieve them. 4 credit spring semester course
Drake University Law School Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Study of the history and values of the legal profession, the role of lawyers in society, and the regulation of the practice of law.

3 credits during the first year
Elon University School of Law Lawyering, Leadership & Professionalism Students develop foundational skills and insights, learning best practices around establishing a professional image. In addition, students gain personal insights into their approach to work and interpersonal relationships and potential career interests. 2 credits across two semesters
University of Florida Levin College of Law Introduction to Lawyering & the Legal Profession This course acquaints students with the defining attributes of the legal profession and legal system. Focuses on the evolving nature of legal services, types of law practices, and demographics of the legal profession and the skills required for law practice. 2 credit course
Georgetown Law Legal Practice Through a combination of hands-on and academic exercises, students learn to make reasoned choices and recommendations as they begin to explore their professional role and identity as lawyers. 4 credit full-year course, letter graded
Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law The Legal Profession This full-year course, embedded in the 1L curriculum, allows students to take proactive ownership of their path into their legal career. Addresses externship applications and professional development. 1 credit in the fall; 3 credits in the spring
Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law Inside the Legal Profession The Legal Profession course is an exploration of lawyer professionalism. Students learn about what “professionalism” means for lawyers and why it matters, the challenges lawyers face, and the satisfaction of finding a calling. 3 credit spring course; graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory
University of Missouri School of Law Lawyering: Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution Lawyering provides students an overview of critical lawyering skills and the lawyer's role as a problem solver. *Please also see entry in Graduation Requirement table. 2 credit fall semester course
University of New Mexico School of Law Lab This course examines practice-related topics such as client-centered lawyering, cultural competency in practice, professionalism, ethics in a real-world context, case development and theory, fact investigation and development, client interviewing and counseling, problem solving and prospective lawyering, writing skills for law practice, professional identify formation, lawyer wellness, and mindfulness. 3 credit fall semester course
University of North Dakota School of Law Professional Foundations This course introduces students to concepts of professional role, identity, and practice for lawyers. Students will develop the skill of practiced self-reflection in legal settings and, in exploring the kind of lawyers they want to become, deepen their ability to apply their professional values in the practice of law. 2 credit fall semester course
Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law Legal Problem Solving and Analysis Students reflect on what they have learned through review of the methods of legal analysis and work on complex problems, explored through simulation and teamwork. The course will focus on problem solving and will give students an opportunity to interact with practicing lawyers and judges. 2 credit winter semester course
Quinnipiac University Law Foundations of Practice I and II This hands-on course will introduce students to the skills, ethics, and values of being a lawyer. The focus is on the identity of lawyers as problem-solvers, and will include the basics of interviewing, counseling, and negotiation.

2 credits across two semesters

University of St. Thomas School of Law Moral Reasoning for Lawyers, Serving Clients Well, Business Basics, Mentor Program

Moral Reasoning: This course is designed to equip students to discern and articulate connections between law, social justice, and morality. It introduces students to the foundational moral commitments that shape the structure of our system of justice and the multiple roles of the lawyer in administering that system.
Serving Clients Well: This course highlights skills and traits needed for attorneys to represent their clients successfully, and it provides avenues to consider how to act with integrity and in alignment with one’s values.
Business Basics: This course prepares students to practice law by introducing them to negotiation and various financial, economic, and accounting concepts encountered in the practice of law and/or serving one’s community as a lawyer or working on a board.

4 credits across first year (1 credit for each)
Santa Clara University School of Law Critical Lawyering Skills I & II The 1L Critical Skills Seminar uses hands-on problem based scenarios to explore professional roles, teach reflective lawyering and introduce students to critical skills. The seminar helps students think strategically about the skills needed for their professional goals, and to develop a plan to achieve them.

2 credits over two semesters

Southwestern Law School Los Angeles Legal Profession This course examines the lawyer's individual and professional obligations. The course covers how a lawyer’s professional role is defined, including professional codes of conduct, traditions and history, ethical philosophy, and social and cultural expectations of lawyers. 3 credit spring course
University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Law

Civil Procedure/Torts "In Practice"

Lawyering and Professionalism

Lawyering and Professionalism provides basic training in essential lawyering skills, introduces the values of the legal profession, and offers resources for early career planning. “In Practice” coursework offers graded simulation exercises which raise professionalism and lawyering questions.

Civ Pro/Torts "In Practice" - 3 credits each, letter graded

Lawyering and Professionalism - 1 credit, credit/no credit

Mandatory 1L Class: Integrated Courses

School/College (17) Course Description Credits, Grading, Course Length
Albany Law School Introduction to Lawyering I & II

This course series covers professional skills development. Albany Law additionally requires a 1 credit 1L seminar, “Confronting Racial and Social Inequities,” which meets 303(c) requirements.

6 credits across two semesters (3 cr per course)
Brooklyn Law School Gateway to Lawyering Series Integrated series of courses that develops specialized area of knowledge, introduces students to basic lawyering skills. Course includes a professionalism component and a negotiation exercise. 3 credits in the fall; 4 credits in the spring
Case Western Reserve School of Law Legal Writing, Leadership, Experiential Learning, Advocacy and Professionalism (LLEAP) Three-course plus capstone sequence that involves legal writing, leadership, experiential learning, advocacy skills and professionalism. 9 credits across 3 semesters
City University of New York School of Law (CUNY) Lawyering Seminar I and II This course introduces basic lawyering skills; the final semester of Lawyering hones in on self-evaluation, decision-making, problem-solving, and the ways lawyers think in various areas of practice. 6-8 credits across two semesters
Columbia Law School Legal Methods I & II Legal Methods I offers an introduction to the legal system and case analysis; II exposes students to important legal methods and jurisprudential, ethical, social, or cultural perspectives relevant to different areas of the law. Students choose a section of Legal Methods II based on their own professional interests. 2 credits across two semesters (1 cr in the fall, 1 cr in the spring)
University of Dayton Legal Profession I & II Along with basic legal skills training and an introduction to the profession, students will develop cultural humility and competency, professionalism, and ethics. 6 credits across two semesters
George Washington University Law School Fundamentals of Lawyering I & II Introduction to core skills required to be an effective attorney (legal writing and research, communication); professional identity formation and development. 6 credits across two semesters; graded
Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law The Legal Profession This full-year course, embedded in the 1L curriculum, allows students to take proactive ownership of their path into their legal career. Addresses externship applications and professional development. 1 credit in the fall; 3 credits in the spring
The University of Kansas School of Law Lawyering Skills II Students learn about the expectations and demands of lawyers and the legal profession through instruction on bar admission, professionalism, and ethical advocacy, and by working on assignments in a simulated lawsuit. 3 credit spring semester course with integrated professional development
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Lawyering Program (Lawyering I and II) This simulation-based program provides students with opportunities to develop their professional identity, practice professionalism, and appreciate the unique ethical responsibilities of lawyers in our legal system. 6 credits across two semesters, 3 credits
University of Michigan Law Legal Practice Program This sequence of course introduces fundamental lawyering and analytical skills. Students develop professional skills through real legal work in the community, and are frequently reminded of their ethical obligations to clients. 3 first-year courses, 5 credits total, graded on Honors/Pass, C-D+, D/Fail bases
University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research (LAWR) Communicating like a lawyer means not only communicating professionally, but also conducting oneself ethically. This course introduces students to many facets of professionalism and to the skills necessary to make ethical and professional choices. 6 credits across two semesters; graded
Northeastern University School of Law Legal Skills in Social Context Course develops legal skills and an understanding of how law is a tool for social change. Students apply the cooperative, advocacy, and research skills they have gained to real-life social justice problems. 8 credits across two semesters
Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad College of Law Legal Skills and Professionalism I and II The Academic Success and Professionalism (ASP) Program begins in 1L with two required semesters of Legal Skills and Professionalism (LSP). In LSP I and II, students self-assess and develop the essential legal skills that make up the three pillars of the ASP Program: critical reading, logical reasoning, and professional identity. 2 credits across two semesters
St. Mary’s University School of Law LCAP: Legal Communication, Analysis, and Professionalism This course builds legal writing, communication, and professionalism skills. Students will draft an appellate brief that requires complex legal analysis. 6 credits across 2 semesters
Seton Hall University School of Law Introduction to Lawyering I & II This integrated course will provide you with opportunities to exercise and receive intensive feedback on a broad range of practical lawyering skills including research, writing, interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and oral advocacy. 3 credits across two semesters
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis I & II

This course synthesizes legal doctrine, lawyering skills, and professional responsibility for the first-year student. Meeting in small groups and using simulated exercises, students engage in client counseling, interviewing, negotiating, drafting, and advocating.

6 credits across two semesters

Graduation Requirement

School/College (21) Course Description Credits, Grading, Course Length
University of Akron School of Law Professionalism Series

Mandatory program consisting of workshops, speakers, individual counseling meetings, networking events, seminars, and training; students must earn 12 hours of professional development training. This program is similar to CLE.

0 credit graduation requirement
Baylor Law School Professional Development Program

Students are required to attend 21 seminar hours of professional development programming over their law school career.

0 credit graduation requirement
University at Buffalo School of Law Legal Profession Utilizing simulations and skills development, this course will cover the essential components of professional responsibility and will focus on professional identity formation. 0 credit graduation requirement
Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Professional Development Graduation Requirement All students must complete 5 professional development sessions to graduate. 0 credit graduation requirement
University of Chicago Law School Kapnick Leadership Development Institute

Students must attend a professional development workshop prior to beginning the 1L year, and in addition, they must attend modules related to specific professional development topics.

0 credit graduation requirement
University of Connecticut School of Law Legal Practice During the spring semester, the course focuses on client and case skills. Students will study the interpersonal, ethical and moral dimensions of legal relationships. Full-year course, credit amount unspecified
University of Denver Sturm College of Law Career and Professional Development Graduation Requirement

Students must complete 5 qualifying career and professional development sessions during the 1L year, and 2 individual career advising appointments after. To request a list of representative programs, contact eric.bono@du.edu.

0 credit graduation requirement
DePaul University College of Law Preparing to Practice I & II Overview of basic skills needed to enter the legal profession, along with ethics, professionalism, and career planning. 0 credit full-year course; pass/fail
Duke University School of Law Professional Development Requirement All students must complete two non-academic professional development credits. Designed as an integrated experience, the PD credit is intended to help students build essential skills and support an intentional professional identity. 2 non-academic credits during the 1L year
University of Houston School of Law Professional Identity Development Requirement Students must complete professional identity sessions each year of school with the University of Houston Law Center. 0 credit graduation requirement
University of Idaho College of Law Professionalism in Law Education and Career Development Timeline programs The J.D. curriculum includes a professionalism education program that covers cultural competencies, appropriate professional behavior, law practice management, bias, and thought processes. 0 credit graduation requirement
Michigan State University College of Law Legal Practice Program This sequence of courses introduces fundamental lawyering and analytical skills. Students develop professional skills through real legal work in the community, and are frequently reminded of their ethical obligations to clients. Credit amount unspecified. 3 first-year courses
University of Missouri School of Law Professional Perspectives and Career Components Professional Perspectives are designed to further your legal knowledge by presenting you with information about current legal events from current practitioners. These Career Components are designed to present you with needed information about career planning, the job market, and placement. 1 of each is required each semester of 1L year. 0 credit graduation requirement
University of Oregon School of Law Career Exploration and Professional Planning During the first year, students must participate in a professional development program that involves attendance at an event called “Art of the Possible.” 0 credit program
Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law Professional Development Program Students are required to earn 6 Professional Development credits and must attend career counseling sessions. 0 credit graduation requirement
Penn State Law, University Park Professional Development 2-day Professional Development program. 0 credit graduation requirement
Pepperdine University School of Law Introduction to Professional Formation

Intensive formation program involving career guidance, experiential learning, conferences, and a week-long workshop before the 1L year begins.

0 credit full-year program
St John’s University of Law Professional Development A year-long course to help you develop your professional identity and skills. The class will cover professionalism and ethics. 0 credit full-year course
Suffolk University Law School Professional Development Program The Professional Development requirement mandates the completion experiential coursework + attendance of two CLE sessions, preferably with a focus on PIF, professionalism, ethics, and cultural competency. 0 credit graduation requirement
Syracuse University College of Law 1L Professional Responsibility Utilizing simulations and skills development, this course will cover the essential components of professional responsibility and will focus on professional identity formation. 0 credit course
Texas A&M University School of Law Professional Identity; Professionalism and Leadership Program PLP workshops throughout the year and the Professional Identity course for all 1Ls identify and develop essential skills and habits and stress several core aspects of successful lawyering: Transition to Practice, Communication and Public Speaking, Civic Responsibility and Community Service, Balance and Authenticity. .5 credit course