Program on Professional Development


Jumpstart Your Career! UCLA Law’s Program on Professional Development Teaches Skills Needed for Success in Your First Years as an Attorney.

Overview of the Program on Professional Development 

The Program on Professional Development 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 2022 (January 10-14). 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 for Professional Development are not for academic credit. The Program for Professional Development is free of charge. The current plan is to hold classes in person. Classes will not be recorded. 

The Program on Professional Development is divided into three disciplines: 
Technology for Lawyers 
Building Your Personal Brand 
Mental Wellness 

A student who completes five courses including at least one in each discipline will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of the Program on Professional Development 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 Discipline

    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 will 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 setup 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 Discipline

    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 year, we will offer three different courses on oral presentations outside of the Courtroom. Because enrollment is limited to no more than 10 students per course, you may sign up for only one of the three courses. 

      Course One meets for three sessions of two hours each session.  
      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: presence, posture, eye contact, gestures, and voice. Each student will be required to make short presentations. Each presentation will be videotaped, and the instructor will sit with each student and provide feedback and suggestions. The course will be taught by Lee Broekman who specializes in teaching the skills of oral presentation to students, lawyers and other professionals. Lee has been teaching in the Program on Professional Development since its inception. 

      Course Two meets for two sessions for 3-1/2 hours each session. 
      This course on oral presentations emphasizes projecting credibility and confidence. Whether you are one-on-one, in virtual meetings, or giving a formal presentation, appearing credible and confident will significantly raise your effectiveness. Through a combination of tailored curriculum, precise feedback, and practical skill building, this course will increase your awareness of your personal style while providing you with a tangible action plan for improvement. 
      The class focuses on the power of the “sub-textual” conversation—body language, vocal patterns, and mannerisms that can raise or lower your status in the workplace. The focus will be on active skill building, with “skill drills” for every key concept. You’ll receive an expert evaluation of your personal skill set, followed by individualized on-camera coaching. Count on the instructor feedback to be straightforward, tangible, and relevant to your real-world experience. 
      The class will be taught by Speech Skills, a leading training organization for lawyers and other professionals. 

      Course Three meets for two sessions for two hours each session. 
      This course focuses on developing performance skills for lawyers. Law students think of law as an analytical activity. Successful lawyers know that the practice of law requires performance skills. Whether arguing to a judge, or counseling a client, lawyers are performers.  Many of the same skill sets that are fundamental to performing artists - actors, singers and dancers - are critical to becoming a persuasive advocate and trusted counselor. 
      The goal of this course is to introduce students to a set of performance-based skills through interactive activities and exercises. These skills are designed to enhance the student’s performance in a professional setting and encourage creativity within that context. These skill sets can also help students to relax in stressful situations and promote a sense of well-being. 
      Students will participate in: 
      Improv and acting exercises; 
      Vocal warm-up techniques; 
      Stage and spatial awareness movement exercises; and 
      Breathing awareness techniques. 
      NO PREVIOUS ACTING, SINGING OR DANCING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.     
      This course will be taught by Allegra Gorchynski (J.D., ’18), a civil litigator in Los Angeles. Prior to law school, Ms. Gorchynski was an opera singer and has been featured as a soloist with extensive performance experience singing in front of numerous audiences in concerts, recitals, galas and shows in Los Angeles and throughout California and internationally.   
    2. Professional Emails
      Lawyers must learn to draft professional emails; it is one of the most important skills for a young lawyer. UCLA Law Professor Julie Cramer will instruct you on how to craft professional emails and how to avoid unfortunate errors.
    3. Office Survival
      How do you survive in an office environment? What are some common mistakes? How do you succeed in an office as a law student and a young lawyer? How do you find mentors? We will have a panel of recent UCLA law graduates who are now practicing in law firms, public interest organizations and government to discuss these issues. 
    4. Interview Practice 
      This course will teach best practices for interviewing and then provide opportunities to practice those interviewing skills. 

    Mental Wellness Discipline

    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.

    1. Grit and a Growth Mindset
      Research on professional success has repeatedly confirmed that the possession of grit and a growth mindset are better predictors of success than cognitive intelligence or academic success. Grit is defined as perseverance, dedication and a strong drive and commitment to achieve goals. A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities are flexible and adaptable, and can be improved through conscientious effort. The program will present real-world scenarios depicting difficult moments that often arise during a legal career and how both grit and a growth mindset can be used to overcome obstacles. Grit and a Growth Mindset will be taught by UCLA Law alumna Michelle Banks who was general counsel of Gap Inc. and now is a senior advisor and executive coach. She is a co-founder of UCLA School of Law's Women LEAD.
    2. Wellness
      While the practice of law has always required stamina and resilience, these skills have become even more essential in 2020. Sustaining high performance and productivity in law school and beyond, while maintaining one's physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing, has taken on new meaning. This program offers up immediately applicable tools and strategies for building resilience and utilizing stress, so that you thrive in law school and the high-demand practice of law. This course will be taught by Judith Gordon.  

    A detailed schedule of classes will be posted on MyLaw in late October. For more information, please email uclaprofessionalism@law.ucla.edu or contact Joel Feuer at feuer@law.ucla.edu.

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