Appalachian School of Law’s new Professionalism, Leadership, and Transition to Practice (PLT) Program provides extracurricular experiences throughout the J.D. program to engage students in developing their professional identities in the areas of professionalism (during the first year), leadership within the profession and the community (during the second year), and transitioning to the practice of law after graduation (during the third year).

The PLT Program activities include:

  • Lawyers speaking to students about their own career paths and practice choices
  • Opportunities for government and community leaders to address students’ future roles
  • Organized visits to watch courts in session and engage in a dialogue with the presiding judge or attorneys about what the students just witnessed
  • Lunch and learn discussion sessions with practicing attorneys about the skills most commonly needed by new graduates entering law practice
  • Presentations and opportunities for private discussions with mental health providers to give students the tools for long-term maintenance of a healthy work-life balance

Importantly, guest lecturers and extracurricular events in the PLT will examine the intersection of professional responsibility and bias, racism, and discrimination in the law with a particular emphasis on the unique role of the lawyer in addressing these issues.

Appalachian School of Law is an early adopter and designer of this academic program and has contributed to the national discussion on this important topic. Our implementation plan for the new PIF requirement will adopt new elements as legal educators across the country collaborate and share ideas for best practices in helping students learn to “think, feel, and act” like lawyers who are upholding the highest ideals of the legal profession.