Whether you aspire to practice law or pursue a career in which your law degree will be a distinct advantage, your professional development is critical to your career success and satisfaction.

The bar exam will test your eligibility to practice law but there are no tests to predict how successful you will be as a lawyer. It is certain, however, that your ability to succeed in the legal profession doesn't rest solely upon academic achievement. Your potential for success and career satisfaction is built upon a combination of factors and skills.

As a law student, you'll learn substantive law and develop a variety of skills in areas such as legal research and writing. You'll also acquire essential skills as you pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as clinics and externships, and engage in co-curricular activities such as Law Review, Moot Court and Mock Trial. However, to ensure a successful transition into the workplace, today's employers demand more. They also require core competencies in "soft skills" related to professional behavior and demeanor.

Professional development program

The Office of Career and Professional Development is excited to offer a new professional development program to help Wayne Law students recognize and develop the core competencies essential to professional success.

The program, which consists of a variety of events, workshops and small group exercises focused on three primary areas of professional development, targets first-year law students but is open to all J.D. students. Program participants must attend and/or participate in a total of six events, workshops or exercises, two in each area of focus, during the academic year. When successfully completed, program participants will earn a certification and resume credential demonstrating commitment and intentional efforts to master key workplace competencies and strategies for career satisfaction.

The primary areas of focus and representative subtopics include:

Formation of Professional Identity

  • What can you do with a law degree?
  • Self-assessment and goal setting
  • Self-confidence and imposter syndrome
  • Ownership of your professional development

Culture and Expectations of the Legal Profession

  • Business models, billing practices and business development
  • Essential skills: problem-solving and sound judgment, oral and written communication, time/project management, collaboration
  • Interpersonal skills (e.g. self-awareness and emotional intelligence)
  • Personal values and attributes (e.g. honesty, integrity, grit and resilience)
  • Ethics and civility
  • Diversity and inclusion

Personal Health and Wellness

  • Work/life balance
  • Mental health
  • Assistance programs

To learn more about the Professional Development Program and how to participate, contact Diane Fears, director of the Office of Career and Professional Development.

External resources

Wayne State resources