An innovative professional development curriculum for law students developed at the University of St. Thomas School of Law has earned top honors from the American Bar Association as a 2015 recipient of the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award.

Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Successful Plan for Meaningful Employment was spearheaded by Professor Neil Hamilton and supported by the school’s Thomas E. Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, for which Hamilton serves as director, with contributions from UST School of Law faculty, staff and students. The Roadmap helps students take ownership of their professional development by giving them the tools needed to develop individualized plans that leverage their own strengths, priorities, and the three years of law school to achieve employment success. The book was published by the ABA earlier this month.

“The Roadmap is an outgrowth of our mission, which is premised on the importance of educating the whole person,” UST School of Law Dean Robert Vischer said. “Preparing our students for meaningful employment is not just about teaching them particular skills, but also about forming their professional identities to reflect a commitment to serve others.”

“By requiring each student to do the Roadmap curriculum and to meet with a coach for feedback, professors hoped each student would make progress toward later stages of self-directed learning,” Hamilton added. “The assessment data indicate substantial student development on this learning outcome.”

The effort also signifies why faculty scholarship is important to the student experience, both as an opportunity for collaboration and for the meaningful application of innovative ideas. Twelve UST School of Law students contributed to the Roadmap under Hamilton’s leadership, including Madeleine Coulter ‘15, Christopher Damian ‘16, Katherine Jirik ‘15, Peter Leslie ‘15, Patrick Lucke ‘15, Robert Maloney ‘16, Carl Numrich ‘15, Sarah Schaefer ‘15, Colin Seaborg ‘15, Catherine Underwood ‘16, Bryan Wachter ’15 and Bradley Yenter ‘16.

“The… Roadmap curriculum represents an extraordinary advancement in law school curricular programming designed to enable students to proactively take responsibility for their own professional development and attain core competencies needed to serve clients, the profession and the public. The design is founded on ground-breaking research on professional formation and the qualities of lawyers most valued in the legal marketplace, with a focus on service,” Frederick S. Ury, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, wrote in a letter announcing the recognition. “We note that the Roadmap is the latest manifestation of the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s long-established record of national leadership in the scholarly examination and advancement of the critical role of professional formation education and professional identity development.”

The ABA’s Gambrell Awards honor excellence and innovation in professionalism programs by law schools, bar associations, professionalism commissions and other law-related organizations. UST School of Law is one of just two law schools in the United States to receive the award more than once, having been awarded a Gambrell in 2005 for the Mentor Externship Program.

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