Employers have asked for graduates who are knowledgeable about the professional and business practicalities of practicing law. Recent law school graduates have likewise expressed the need for training in the professional and business practicalities of practicing law. Both groups have specifically suggested the need for more guidance in client relations, law firm economics and financial management, legal billing and time management, legal marketing and networking, professional organizations and leadership opportunities, navigation through common ethical issues, job search strategies, and professional writing. Our goal is to produce professionals who are truly "practice ready" and prepared to succeed.
Practicing attorneys are required to attend 15 seminar hours of continuing legal education each year. We are building a Professional Development Program based on that model, with three significant differences:
- Instead of mandating 15 seminar hours per year, we are only mandating 15–18* seminar hours spread over three years of law school.
- Instead of charging for these seminar hours, we are providing these seminar hours to students without charge.
- Instead of structuring the program to cover every aspect of practice, we are focusing the program on the most important professional development skills needed by new attorneys.
Additional information about Baylor's Professional Development Program to get you started:
- The Professional Development Program graduation requirement is applicable to the Fall 2013 entering class and all subsequent entering classes.
- In order to track your hours, you will swipe your Baylor ID card through a card reader at the end of each seminar. You will also be asked to turn in an evaluation form at that time to help us evaluate the quality of each seminar speaker.
- Multiple seminars and workshops will be offered, to allow students to meet their professional development requirement from a personally-customized selection. Some program offerings are, however, judged to be crucially important, and attendance at those offerings will be required.
- We will periodically post a selection of offerings eligible for Professional Development credit, identified by the Practice-Ready logo. In addition to information about time, place, and subject, each offering will show how much credit it provides, whether it is mandatory or optional, and we may provide information about the appropriateness of the offering for a particular "track" (such as large-firm practice, small-firm practice, solo practice, governmental practice, etc.).
- Since the professional development requirement must be met as a condition for graduation, it is important to keep up with your hours. Keep these limitations in mind:
- Although you are welcome to attend as many seminar and workshops as you choose, no more than 5 hours of credit may be earned in one quarter, so it is important not to delay attendance. (We believe information is best absorbed over the three-year course of law school.)
- In planning the sequencing of attendance, plan to attend approximately 3 seminar and workshop hours each quarter. There is no expectation for you to attend during the third quarter in the midst of moot court exercises or during your Practice Court quarters. This leaves six quarters to earn your professional development hours.
- Although most offerings will not be mandatory, make sure to attend those which are.
- There is also a category of Introductory-level offerings (essentially "Day-in-the-Life" seminars) for which a maximum of 3 seminar hours may be credited, although students are free to attend as many of these offerings as desired.
- Most seminars will be scheduled either during lunch hours or during afternoons, with occasional evening seminars. More popular seminars will be offered on a repeat basis more than once per year, in order to provide multiple opportunities for attendance.
- Our initial offerings are intentionally geared toward first-year students. More specialized topics will be made available as we build the program.
Questions regarding the program may be directed to Angela_Cruseturner@baylor.edu or Stephen_Rispoli@baylor.edu. If needed, those questions will in turn be directed to the faculty Professional Development Committee.
* The Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Summer 2014 entering classes are required to earn 15 hours of professional development credit. The Fall 2014 entering class and all subsequent entering classes are required to earn 18 hours of professional development credit, which will include three mandatory hours in the first quarter.