SOL Magazine Spring 2023



fellows include School of Law Senior Distinguished Fellow Dennis Monroe and external fellows Louis Bilionis (University of Cincinnati College of Law), Barbara Glesner Fines (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law), and Kendall Kerew (Georgia State University College of Law). Reflecting on the impact of the Holloran Center, Hamilton said, “I feel deep gratitude. It’s such a blessing to work with these people.” Chiming in, Organ referred to Scripture. “We’ve been planting seeds, and not all of those seeds flourish,” he said. “But we’ve been blessed because a lot of them have flourished and a lot of the people we’ve interacted with have found this inspiring.” A locus for professional identity formation work

Professor Jerry Organ was a featured speaker at the National Association of Law Student Affairs Professionals (NALSAP) conference in June 2022. Photo Credit: Wayne Espinola

more effectively than any of the other professional disciplines, but failed to a considerable measure in providing law students with meaningful professional identity formation experience or training, and contrasted legal education with medical education, which the authors held up as a model of good professional identity formation practice,” James Leipold, former executive director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) said. “The criticism hit home. It’s from this work that the Holloran Center springs.” “The Holloran Center is unique in that it has provided a place for scholars and teachers and other professionals involved in law student teaching, training and counseling to come together to study the problems and challenges associated with making meaningful change in the legal education curriculum,” Leipold said. “The Holloran Center has been a locus for the most sustained work on law student professional development that has been done ever in the history of U.S. legal education.” One of Hamilton’s books, Roadmap, helped to elevate the visibility of the Holloran Center. The book, which is

used by St. Thomas Law as well as a number of other law schools, helps law students focus on the path to meaningful employment. “A commitment to serving others does not happen by accident – it happens through reflection and moral growth,” said Rob Vischer, former dean of the law school and now president of the University of St. Thomas. “The Holloran Center has led a national movement to take professional formation more seriously. Conversations about formation come easily to a law school that takes faith seriously, and when we combine that with rigorous research and an investment in relationship-building, the Holloran Center’s conversations translate into action and systemwide change.” The Holloran Center was a major aspect of what attracted St. Thomas Law Professor David Grenardo to the school. He joined the center in 2022 as its associate director. “The Holloran Center is considered the leader in professional identity formation. The center has literally changed legal education,” Grenardo said. “Jerry and Neil have done such an incredible job.” Grenardo helped to launch the

Law student professional development and lawyer

professional identity formation became a topic of discussion in 1992, when the ABA’s MacCrate Report called for a more practice- oriented approach to legal education by setting out 10 lawyering skills and four professional values. Practical skills training and professional identity formation efforts gained additional traction in 2007, when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law. “Among other things, that book made the forceful point that law schools excelled at teaching critical thinking skills, perhaps

June 2022 Conference

center’s blog in August, which features guest contributors from across the nation. The team is also considering launching a podcast. “A theme to all of this [success] is gratitude and blessing,” Organ said. “We have been blessed

that our interest in professional identity formation was something that a lot of other people shared an interest in and wanted to support. The winds were blowing the right direction at the right time, and we found people to walk with us

on this journey to help give the movement momentum. We plan to take advantage of the wind behind our sails.”

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Spring 2023 Page 23

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