By: Barbara Glesner Fines, Dean and Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law, UMKC School of Law
What better time to reflect on professional identity formation than the new year, when so many of us are making resolutions for growth and improvement. Here are three of our resolutions for the Holloran Center’s continued formation:
- We resolve to be grateful. We are grateful for the leadership of Tom Holloran, whose example of servant leadership inspires us. We are grateful for the work of scholars and teachers in other professions who have given us so many insights and inspiration. We are especially grateful to you, our colleagues engaged in this work of coaching, mentoring, and guiding our students in their transformation from student to lawyer.
- We resolve to listen. This past year, we have learned so much from the questions and critiques posed by our colleagues. What do we really mean by formation? How is it different from the knowledge and skills transfer we aim to teach and provide? How do we assess development? How do or should concepts of professionalism and civility fit into professional identity? What about this idea of “identity”? How does that singular-sounding noun reconcile with our diverse cultures and values as individuals and communities? How do we ensure that the work of formation is shared and equitably by our entire community? Our understanding of our work has evolved with each question and challenge.
- We resolve to share. Since 2013, over 400 scholars, teachers, and student services professionals from over 60 law schools have attended a Professional Identity Formation workshop or conference or symposium sponsored by the Holloran Center. We look forward to hosting at least three additional workshops in 2024: a conference for professional responsibility scholars and teachers in April, along with two summer workshops. We will continue to support others leading in this effort. We are also working to develop our online community: revising our databases of materials and inventories, and growing our blog and listserv. Let us know how we can help.
Happy New Year!
Neil, Jerry, David, Lou, Barb, Kendall, and Felicia