University of Denver

Report on the 2012 Conference and Introduction to the 2013 Conference

Chair in Modern Learning and Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Professor of Practice, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

In September 2012, 21 law schools sent representatives to Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers’ first conference, “The Development of Professional Identity in Legal Education: Rethinking Learning and Assessment.” The conference sought collaboration among schools to identify best practices for forming professional identity, encouraged schools to share examples of programs and curricula that support professional development, and fostered new ideas and approaches that representatives could take back to their schools.

Out of this meeting comes the Report on the 2012 Conference. With the understanding that collaboration is at the heart of rich and effective teaching, the Report represents the starting point of a shared dialogue among Consortium schools.

The Report identifies that the major change taking hold in Consortium schools is an evolution at the core of legal education: extending classroom learning beyond the doctrinal lecture to include elements of practice and professionalism in every course. This shift acknowledges that students learn best when the theory of the law, the practice of the law, and the development of a professional identity are taught together and in context.