Program on Professional Development and Identity


Jumpstart Your Career! Our Program on Professional Development and Identity teaches Skills Needed for Success in Your First Years as an Attorney.

Overview of the Program on Professional Development and Identity

The Program on Professional Development and Identity is designed to introduce students to a set of skills that they will need in the first years of their career, regardless of the type of law they practice. The classes will be hands-on and interactive so that each student will have the opportunity to practice the skills. The program will be offered in the second week of J-Term 2024 (January 8-12). Classes will be held in the morning and afternoons. Consequently, it will not be possible for you to be in this Program and also take a J-Term course. The classes in the Program on Professional Development and Identity are not for academic credit. The Program on Professional Development and Identity is free of charge. Classes will be held in person and will not be recorded.

The Program on Professional Development and Identity is divided into three disciplines:

  • Technology for Lawyers
  • Building Your Personal Brand
  • Well-being

A student who completes four courses including at least one in each discipline will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of the Program on Professional Development and Identity and can list that accomplishment on the student's resume.

Apply to the Program

Curriculum

  • Elective Courses Spread Over the Three Disciplines

    Technology for Lawyers

    Lawyers need to know how to use the fundamental technology that comprises Microsoft Office and Adobe. Craig Brody, a professional technology trainer, will lead these classes. Brody has taught technology to law students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School for many years. He has been teaching in the Program on Professional Development since its inception.

    Not sure you need these courses? We have a short survey instrument for you to fill out and assess which technology courses would be of benefit to you.

    1. Microsoft Excel Fundamentals
      Having Excel skills can be an important advantage for today's legal professional. Excel can analyze case data, track costs, calculate interest on court judgments, manage client information and create impressive charts and reports. This practical course introduces you to fundamental Excel commands using legal examples.
    2. Microsoft Word for Litigators
      Leverage the power of Microsoft Word to format litigation documents effectively in this hands-on workshop. Learn to set up Table of Contents and Table of Authorities in a sample brief. Work with Styles, Section Breaks and Header/Footers in order to create beautiful briefs.
    3. Microsoft Word for the Transactional Attorney
      Word is an essential application in many law practices, yet too much time is often spent formatting contracts and other legal documents. In this hands-on workshop, learn efficient methods to format documents with Multilevel lists, Styles, Cross Referencing, Footnotes and other commands. You will learn how to review documents with comments, track changes and compare.
    4. Microsoft PowerPoint for the Legal Professional
      Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful presentation tool for legal professionals. You can use it to support your arguments, organize your topics, convey your points and keep your audience engaged. In this hands-on workshop, use PowerPoint to create slides and learn tips to build an effective presentation.
    5. Adobe for Lawyers
      Adobe creates PDFs (Portable Document Formats) that lawyers use to send final documents. It is a very powerful software tool that can be used to create, modify and edit documents.

    Building A Personal Brand

    The concept of a personal brand is how you present yourself professionally to your colleagues, clients, opposing counsel and the rest of the world. It is part of your professional identity and is an important factor in how others see you and treat you in the profession. Do you want to be seen as the "adult in the room," the "bulldog" who relentlessly pursues a client's goals, the peacemaker, the deal maker?

    1. Oral Presentations Outside of the Courtroom
      This class on oral presentations will emphasize presentations outside of the courtroom setting. Many lawyers never set foot in a courtroom, but they still need to know how to make effective oral presentations to boards of directors or trustees, community groups, the press, client groups, and others. The class will focus on the physical aspects of a presentation.  This course will be taught by Lee Broekman who specializes in teaching the skills of oral presentation to students, lawyers, and other professionals. She coaches AmLaw 100 firm leaders and senior managers of Fortune 1000 companies. Lee has been teaching in the Program on Professional Development since its inception.
    2. Professional Emails
      Lawyers must learn to draft professional emails; it is one of the most important skills for a young lawyer. Professor Julie Cramer will instruct you on how to craft professional emails and how to avoid unfortunate errors.
    3. Interview Practice 
      This course will teach best practices for interviewing and then provide opportunities to practice those interviewing skills. 

    Well-Being

    Practicing law is stressful, and it is particularly stressful during the early years of practice. Learn how to manage the stress so you can focus your energies on being successful for your clients and for yourself and build a sustainable career.

    Secrets for Success: Unpacking Perfectionism and Cultivating a Superpower Mindset

    Many lawyers and law students would be shocked to learn that the perfectionism they wear as a badge of honor actually PREVENTS them from reaching their highest potential. But there’s a key difference between perfectionism and the pursuit of excellence, and it turns out that the former can indeed be the enemy of the latter.

    Secrets for Success: Unpacking Perfectionism and Cultivating a Superpower Mindset will be taught by Jordana Confino, Founder JC Coaching and Consulting, certified professional coach, speaker, and adjunct professor at Fordham Law School.

    A detailed schedule of classes is available here. For more information, please email careers@law.ucla.edu.

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