Bowen School of Law receives national award for professional program

In recognition of the cutting-edge and comprehensive professionalism curriculum at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, the American Bar Association has named Bowen a recipient of the 2016 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award.

This prestigious honor and a check for $3,500 will be officially awarded on Saturday, Aug. 6, in San Francisco during the American Bar Association’s annual meeting.

The Gambrell Professionalism Award is given to law schools, bar associations, and other legal organizations that created innovative and outstanding professionalism programs.

Established in 1991, the award recognizes as many as three honorees each year. Honorees are selected by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professionalism. Past recipients include local and state bar associations, law schools, and legal aid organizations.

“The entire Bowen community, the faculty, students, alumni, and educational staff, can take enormous pride in this great honor,” said Michael Hunter Schwartz, dean of the law school. “Our innovative and robust professional development curriculum begins on students’ first day of law school and ends with their graduation.

Bowen’s program trains students in the many and varied skills that are key to professional success and reputation.

“The constant reinforcement of professionalism throughout my time at Bowen has had a profound effect on my career,” said Cory Childs, a Bowen alumnus and attorney with Walmart.

Students learn teamwork skills, provide pro bono legal services, and complete a mandatory, one-on-one professional mentoring program with a judge or practicing attorney that includes both job shadowing and career planning experiences. Students also engage in self-examination through reflective journaling and attend class sessions that address critical topics relating to professionalism.

Bowen also offers programs and services designed to emphasize student wellness and help students learn to find balance between their professional goals and their personal lives.

Finally, typically in their last year of law school, students are immersed in an apprenticeship-type experience in an authentic law practice setting as part of the law school’s required clinic or externship experience.

Jayne Reardon, chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism, said Bowen’s approach to professionalism programming is an exemplary initiative to better equip today’s students for a challenging professional environment while preserving the profession’s core values.

“The William H. Bowen School of Law Comprehensive, Developmental Professionalism Curriculum sets a high standard worthy of emulation by other law school professionalism programs,” said Reardon.

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