If one chooses to make teaching professional identity a goal of one’s course, then the following are suggestions for effectively meeting this goal:
- Include professional identity formation as a course goal in the syllabus.
- Within major course topics, include professional identity hypotheticals that challenge students to make a judgment involving values and professionalism. Encourage discussion of the hypotheticals in class.
- Collaborate with colleagues who teach Professional Responsibility (PR). Tell students that you collaborate with your colleagues on professional formation topics, that they agree with your introducing students to professional questions as they arise in practice, and that your colleagues will cover such matters in more detail in PR. By discussing your hypotheticals with colleagues, you will get their insights and can avoid duplicating examples that they use. By telling students about your collaboration, they will appreciate that faculty consider professional conduct important enough to discuss and to plan how to teach students.
- Speak in terms students can understand. The language of PR is often abstract (“professional,” “ethical” conduct). Consider instead: “Do you realize that these decisions will determine whether you are comfortable in your own skin?” Or: “The seemingly small decisions a lawyer makes will, if the lawyer does not consciously resolve how to act in light of her values, lead one to think less of herself and the legal profession.”
Read more ideas on integrating professional identity formation into other law classes at http://bit.ly/integratingcarnegie.