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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Professionalism: The Redheaded Stepchild of Legal Education Reform?

Paula Schaefer, Associate ProfessorCollege of Law

‚ÄčIn 2007, two reports on the state of legal education provided similar critiques. Law schools do a good job teaching legal doctrine, but need to do a better job integrating practice skills and professionalism training into the curriculum. Despite the call for reform, many law professors in the United States are skeptical about teaching professionalism. Professionalism may very well be the redheaded stepchild of legal education reform. As a redheaded stepchild herself, Schaefer can appreciate the message the phrase is meant to convey. The redheaded stepchild is obviously different and does not belong. She is treated without the favor of birthright. In this presentation, Schaefer considers why professionalism has been deemed different and unworthy, and what legal education reformers should do to change this misconception.

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