Developing Lawyer Professional Identity: Essence vs. Persona (10/01/2021)
It used to be that in the legal profession, experienced lawyers would hand down a “professional identity” to new lawyers. Typically, the protégé would develop a professional identity from their mentor through apprenticeship or clerkship. In today’s legal profession, most new lawyers lack opportunities for face time with seasoned attorneys and personal relationships with veteran lawyers who model professional identity and successful practice may be inaccessible or unfeasible. Nevertheless, professional identity remains paramount to lawyer success and well-being.
However, the process to develop one’s professional identity is more complex than it appears. Becoming a lawyer changes you and attempting to carve out a professional identity among the mix of personal values, lived experience, and professional “personas” can become daunting.
Our discussion will focus on the role of professional identity in creating a successful legal career, including the correlation between poorly developed professional identity and heightened burn out, unprofessionalism, and disciplinary issues in practice. The goal is to move away from the common, simplistic professional identity of most attorneys and develop a more holistic, positive identity which comprises all of the professional characteristics the lawyer currently embodies and wishes to embody in the future.
Speaker: J. Ryann Peyton, Director, Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), Colorado Supreme Court
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