Beginning Monday, February 16th and running through Thursday, February 19th, the Regent Law chapter of the American Bar Association and the Student Bar Association are offering the first annual Professionalism Week. The sponsored events are meant to provoke discussion and provide information on how decorum can either negatively or positively affect a law career.
It is the hope of the week’s organizers, third year law students Leandra Rayford and Emily Sheets, that Professionalism Week will create a laid back forum wherein students feel welcome to ask authorities in the legal field candid questions on anything from rules of the court to use of Blackberries before the bench.
Rayford and Sheets were concerned that students are ill prepared for the complex aspects of decorum required in the legal world. While minding P’s and Q’s is common sense, there are enough hoops to jump through when entering a court room, managing clients, or asking for a continuance that other etiquette issues can get overlooked.
Monday, Virginia Beach Court of Appeals Judge Robert J. Humphreys addressed students on professionalism in the courtroom. Speaking to judges’ perceptions of lawyers, interaction between opposing counsel, brief writing, and dress (among other topics), Judge Humphreys confirmed the concern of the organizers. “Overall, there has been a decline of professionalism in the courtroom in the last few years,” he said.
Desiring to give students a boost to lessen the blows of learning from their mistakes, the women have planned the following events:
Monday, February 16th, Judge Humphreys addresses students about professionalism in the courtroom.
Wednesday, February 18th, Commonwealth Attorneys and Public Defenders speak on professionalism in their field.
Thursday, February 19th, Attorneys with the law firm of Pender and Coward speak on professionalism in the firm environment.
Wednesday and Thursday’s events begin at 12:00 p.m. and include a free lunch in Robertson Hall room 107.
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