Law schools are increasingly seeing substantial value in proactive curriculum to empower students to perform at their highest capacity including ownership over their own professional development and well-being practices — a commitment so fundamental to legal education that the ABA has placed it in curriculum requirements for accreditation. In February 2022, the ABA amended Standard 303 to require schools to “provide substantial opportunities to students for the development of a professional identity,” including an intentional exploration of the values, guiding principles, and well-being practices considered foundational to successful legal practice.
Not to be confused with traditional professionalism curricula, Professional Identity Formation (PIF) emphasizes practical skills, professional competencies, and self-reflective learning. PIF focuses on empowering students to perform at their highest capacity — fostering resilience, adaptability, and confidence in their abilities — which will enable them to succeed academically and professionally.
Unfortunately, there is no uniform PIF curriculum that exists today and only a handful of schools have PIF programs likely to meet these new requirements.
Learn More about LSAC's Professional Identity Formation Program
Taught by an array of law professors and thought leaders, LSAC's program encompasses all the themes and competencies that experts consistently recognize as essential to professional identity formation. Watch our video to learn more about how LSAC's Professional Identity Formation program can benefit law schools and their students.
Leveraging LSAC’s LawHub platform, a place where individuals can get tools and resources to support their learning journey from prelaw through practice, LSAC is developing a comprehensive PIF program that includes core curricula taught by thought leaders and made available 24/7 through asynchronous modular courses that include learning outcomes and rigorous assessments. LSAC’s PIF program is designed to:
- Help students make informed, intentional decisions about their professional identity, improve professional satisfaction, and provide a strengthened sense of purpose
- Improve the professional quality of student development — critical for successful job placement
- Offer ready-made, skill-based curriculum from nationally renowned subject matter experts
- Offer convenient, prepackaged, coursework designed to meet the ABA standard without schools needing to draw on additional faculty resources
- Eliminate the need for schools to map the different places where PIF is being taught in the curriculum to satisfy ABA standards
- Address issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
Beginning in spring 2023, LSAC will offer the following seven courses, comprising a total of at least 12.5 hours of asynchronous faculty instruction time plus learning outcomes and assessments:
- Mental Health and Well-Being in the Legal Profession
- Staying True to Yourself: Aligning Your Values with Your Role and Responsibilities as a Law Student and Lawyer
- Challenge Accepted: How to Learn from Experience and Make Growth Mindset Work for Your Success
- Self-Directed Learning: Becoming an Expert Learner
- A Legacy of Knowledge: Learning from Supervision
- Keys to Communication, Persuasion, and Understanding
- Teamwork and Collaboration
A diverse group of law professors and thought leaders, combined with our legacy of leadership in learning and assessments, ensures our program is unmatched in terms of quality and rigor.
For more information about LSAC’s Professional Identity Formation Program, please email us at PIFinquiry@LSAC.org.