For those wondering about the stakes in the professional identity initiative, I’d like to highlight that both the Carnegie and Best Practices’ reports showed that the seeds of lawyer dissatisfaction—one might say, dysfunction—are sowed in law school. See William Sullivan, et al., Educating Lawyers 31 (Carnegie Foundation 2007) (describing how law schools consciously create a climate emphasizing competitiveness to the exclusion of other values, or any kind of balance); Roy Stuckey, et al., Best Practices for Legal Education 33-37 (Clinical Legal Education Association 2007) (law schools create an atmosphere that begins the process of students becoming dysfunctional and preparing them to accept that as “normal” in practice).
These studies do not undermine in any way the recommendation of the Carnegie and Best Practices’ reports, which encourage law schools to make professional identity formation, a larger component of the law school experience. Five years has only allowed schools to start implementing the reports’ recommendations. If anything, the above evidence suggests that the problem is as crucial as the reports suggest. To the extent that law schools have been focusing on integrating practical values (probably the easier part of the reports’ recommendations), now it is time to redouble efforts to find ways to integrate professional identity training in schools.