Over 50 students participated in the course, which consisted of two panels and a Meyers Briggs Type Indicator® training.
“Recent studies are underscoring how important character traits and ‘soft’ skills are to lawyers’ professional success,” said Professor Gantt, “so facilitating a course like this is a wonderful opportunity to provide students with needed training on those traits and skills.”
Panel 1 focused on transitioning successfully from law school to law practice. Students learned about marketing, fees, and billing; client development, management, and retention; and time management.
Panel 2 focused on managing a law practice and firm employees. Students heard from attorneys regarding law practice management; managing staff, colleagues, and clients in a small firm practice; and conflict management in larger firms.
The Legal Workplace Skills course was started in 2014 to provide students training in the life skills necessary to engage in the business of law practice, including collaborative work skills, business models, basic accounting principles, and staff management. The course is divided between the fall and spring, offering students one credit for taking both semesters of the course.
Students who attended the 7-hour mini-course were surprised at how practical and helpful the panels were. “One session which was particularly helpful was the time management segment,” said a 2L. “I am able to incorporate many of the tips to my daily routine right now instead of waiting until I graduate from law school.”
Another student commented, “Although the course was a jam-packed day full of knowledge, it was engaging and useful for both my career as a law student and that following graduation.”
Most students shared this sentiment by a 3L: “I truly enjoyed the Legal Workplace Skills mini course. It taught me some tangible and practical soft skills that I will take to heart. I am looking forward to the mini course in the spring.”
The Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform is committed to developing students’ professional identity and sponsors courses such as this in the hope of developing in students the practical judgment important to the practice of law.