Fall 2016 Workshop

October 6, 2016 - 6:00pm to October 9, 2016 - 2:00pm

 Fall 2016 workshop
National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP)

October 6 – 9, 2016   Mercer University Law School, Macon, Georgia  

“Educational Interventions to Cultivate Professional Identity in Law Students."

Co-sponsored by Mercer University Law School and the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism

The Fall 2016 workshop of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP) took place from 5:00 pm Thursday, October 6 – 12:30 pm on Sunday, October 9, 2016 at the Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia (approximately 1.5 hours from Atlanta).  The workshop theme was: “Educational Interventions to Cultivate Professional Identity in Law Students."  Part of the workshop was held in conjunction with the 17th Annual Georgia Symposium on Professionalism and Ethics sponsored on October 6-7 at Mercer University Law School by Mercer’s Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.  Workshop fellows agreed to attend the Symposium.


Working Definition of Professional Identity in Law:
“A lawyer’s professional identity is a deep sense of self in role.  It includes a set of virtues and dispositions that enable the lawyer to serve clients and the public well in complex, stressful and uncertain circumstances, including ones that present questions of morality and professional responsibility. “

Four Component Model of Morality:
See Learning Professional Responsibility for the Practice of Law: the Way Forward at pp 4-11, available at www.teachinglegalethics.org/learningpr

The following questions were the focus of the workshop:

  1. Should law schools adopt educational interventions specifically tied to the cultivation of professional identity?
    1. Are specifically designed interventions necessary to enable students to develop professional identity?
    2. What evidence exists that such interventions are effective?
    3. What resources are needed?
  2. Using the Four Component Model to design educational interventions to cultivate professional identity.
    1. How to sensitize students to recognize issues that implicate a lawyer’s professional responsibilities?
    2. How to develop students’ capacity to reason to a mature decision about such issues?
    3. How to lay a foundation of professional identity that will motivate students when they become lawyers to resolve the issues they recognize in appropriate ways?
    4. What skills to provide students that they will need to implement their moral decisions?
  3. How to measure whether the intervention will have its intended effect?
    1. Is it possible to develop “before and after” instruments to detect whether the intervention had any impact? 
    2. Are longitudinal studies required, and, if so, how should they be designed and implemented?


Mercer University School of Law, Macon, Georgia


*Friday evening October 7: Hilton Garden Inn Meeting Room*

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Welcome reception and buffet dinner

Introduction of Fellows and Workshop Faculty

Informal discussion of symposium

*Saturday morning October 8: Hilton Garden Inn Meeting Room*

8:00-9:00 - Breakfast

9:00-10:30 – Presentations and discussion regarding existing professional identity interventions:

Open discussion with fellows, speakers and discussants about issues raised during Symposium.

10:30-10:45 – Break

10:45 – Noon – Assessments of professional identity interventions

Freda Grealy: Overview of intervention study on professional identity formation in trainee solicitors in Ireland

Alain Roussy, University of Ottawa: Study of the ethical identity and development of law students in Canada

 Noon – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch – Hilton Garden Inn Restaurant

*Saturday afternoon: Hilton Garden Inn Meeting Room*

1:00 – 2:00 – Demonstrations and discussion of classroom exercises regarding professional identity

Kelly Terry, UALR Law School – Tipton v. Aaron and core values

Mary Helen McNeal, Syracuse Law School – “The Lawyer’s Coat”

2:00 – 2:15 – Break

2:15 – 3:15 – Demonstrations and discussion of classroom exercises regarding professional identity

Laurel Rigertas, NIU Law School – “Mindfulness and Civility: Responding to the Hostile Voicemail”

Carwina Weng, Indiana University Law School – Cultural Competence Exercise

3:15 – 3:30 – Break

3:30 – 4:30 - Professional identity formation and law school learning outcomes

Debra Moss Curtis, Nova Southeastern Law School

Paul Haskins, ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism

Tiffany Roberts & Clark Cunningham, Georgia State

*Saturday evening*

6:00 – 8:30 - Reception and dinner at home of Pat and Gretchen Longan

*Sunday morning October 9:  Hilton Garden Inn Meeting Room*

8:00-9:00 Breakfast

9:00-10:15 – Presentation and discussion regarding neuroscience and professional identity

Debra Austin, University of Denver

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – Noon (and working brunch)

Developments: Assessment Tools Developed after 2014 Outcomes Project

Open discussion of questions, issues or ideas submitted by workshop participants

Clark Cunningham, Georgia State University College of Law

*Sunday afternoon October 9*

Departure for Atlanta airport; transportation provided as necessary by Mercer students

Download Agenda: PDF icon16F Updated Workshop Schedule

Attendance & Costs

Attendance at these highly participatory events is limited to invited speakers and to those selected to be NIFTEP Fellows. Fellowships are typically granted either to full-time law professors who incorporate issues of ethics and professionalism into their teaching or to legal practitioners actively involved in ethics CLE education and professionalism programs. Teachers new to legal education or to teaching ethics and professionalism are encouraged to apply. However, any person committed to promoting ethics and professionalism may apply.  There is no charge for workshop registration, lodging, or meals during the workshop and transportation to and from the Atlanta airport is provided. Fellows are generally expected to cover their other travel expenses. 

Speaker Discussants

Richard Cruess, McGill University

Sylvia Cruess, McGill University

Clark Cunningham, Georgia State University College of Law

A. James Elliott, Emory University School of Law

Larry Golemon, Washington Theological Consortium

Benjamin Grimes, Professional Responsibility Advisory Office U.S. Department of Justice

Neil W. Hamilton, University of St. Thomas School of Law 

Paul Haskins, Center for Professional Responsibility - American Bar Association

Mark Jones, Mercer University School of Law

Kendall Kerew, Georgia State University College of Law

Larry Krieger, Florida State University College of Law

Paul Lewis, Mercer University

Patrick E. Longan, Mercer University School of Law

Jerome Organ, University of St. Thomas School of Law

Tiffany Roberts, Georgia State University College of Law

Jack Sammons, Mercer University School of Law

Elizabeth Vozzolla, University of Saint Joseph


Debra Austin, Sturm College of Law

Freda Grealy, Law Society of Ireland

Debra Moss Curtis, NSU College of Law

Mary Helen McNeal, Syracuse University College of Law

Laurel Rigertas, Northern Illinois University College of Law

Alain Roussy, University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law

Kelly S. Terry, University of Arkansas at Little Rock - William H. Bowen School of Law

Carwina Weng, IU Maurer School of Law

Participant Biographies: PDF icon16F Updated Workshop Bios

For more information, please contact NIFTEP Deputy Director, Tiffany Roberts at twroberts@gsu.edu.