U of M third panel: Best Practices and Professional Purpose and Identity

(Continuing Report on U of Maryland’s 3/6 Conference)

The third panel presentation organically and beautifully modeled how to teach and communicate in accord with Best Practices.  (I will post the webcast to the Events tab above as soon as I receive it so you can view the discussion and interaction).

First, CUNY Professor Sue Bryant led an interactive discussion with the audience to identify the characteristics and values associated with our professional identify.  The audience suggested words and concepts such as loyalty, courage, sensitivity, client-centered, counselor and confidant among others.  Prof. Bryant teased out the implicit and explicit identity issues.

Washington University Professor Peter Joy engaged the audience in a “simulated” small group orientation exercise often used at WU.  Putting audience members in the role of new students at orientation, Prof. Joy asked the groups to discuss a hypothetical in which a lawyer is asked by a longtime client to change his will so as to disown his only son because of the son’s impending marriage to a woman of another religion.

After the report back from groups, Joy explained how WU involves expert practitioners/adjuncts as facilitators for the small groups.  The practice experts make sure everyone gets a chance to talk in small group and prods discussion, but is NOT encouraged to pontificate. This exercise raised good discussion among conference participants about how to teach values in professional identity in first year. The audience and panel emphasized how important it is to follow through beyond orientation to the rest of the first year classes. 

UM’s Professor Doug Colbert presented the high and value-laden expectations for our profession which are set out in the preamble to the Model Rules.   He raised the question “Shouldn’t all teachers in all three years be integrating the Model Rules and especially the preamble into their courses and teaching?”  Colbert noted that Rule 6.1 of the Model Rules further emphasizes the expectations of the legal profession and provides another good hook for teaching professional purpose and identity throughout the curriculum.


One Response

  1. This sounds really interesting. I can’t wait to see the webcast.

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