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Sturm College of Law


Professional identity; Experiential learning curricula; Legal education


Law schools are in the business of teaching students legal doctrine. Since the introduction of the case method at Harvard Law School in the late 1800s, law schools regularly have taught students how to find doctrine (research); how to identify doctrine (reading cases and other legal texts); how to understand doctrine (exploring the limits of legal texts, and applying rules from old texts to new facts); and how to critique doctrine (discussing whether a particular rule is a good one, based on the goals the rule might seek to accomplish). In more recent times, law schools’ stakeholders—including clients, firms, judges, bar associations, and students themselves— have called on law schools to do more than merely teach doctrine. These stakeholders have asked (or demanded) that law schools do a better job of preparing their graduates for practice. Specifically, there have been numerous calls for law schools to teach more about practice skills and professional identity. This article focuses on the role of law schools in teaching professional identity.

Publication Statement

Originally published as Martin J. Katz, Teaching Professional Identity in Law School, 42 COLO. LAW. 45 (2013).

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