Conclusion

In our first report(24) on the survey results, we called on law schools and the profession to work together to ensure that new graduates have the necessary foundations to enter the profession. We recommended that law schools work with employers and the legal community to develop measurable learning outcomes—and create and reward law school programs and courses that develop the requisite personal characteristics, professional competencies, and legal skills. We also recommended that legal employers prioritize the characteristics, competencies, and legal skills they value in their hiring practices.

The emphasis on experience that we described in this report is both heartening and actionable. It suggests that as schools and the profession begin to consider 1) how to ensure law graduates have the necessary foundations and 2) how to hire new lawyers based on those foundations, they can start with experience. Law schools and employers may develop a common language for those experiences that clarifies what they are and how they benefit students. Experience may happen in a typical legal setting, in a clinic, or in a classroom. It may happen as part of the standard curriculum or as a supplement to the curriculum. It may become the primary criterion in hiring or it may supplement an employer’s existing criteria. While we do not believe there is only one way to ensure new lawyers have the foundations they need to be whole lawyers, we do believe the path toward a system that prepares lawyers who are ready to enter the profession will be elevated and supported by experience-focused learning and hiring.

Endnotes:

24.  THE WHOLE LAWYER, supra note 1.