The phrase “there’s an app for that” is one seldom heard in law schools across the country, especially when the school is the one creating the technology itself.
Earlier this month, the University of Nebraska College of Law announced it will roll out a character app designed to help its students develop their professional skills this December.
Built by students at the University of Nebraska, the Build Your Character App encourages students to go beyond simply “thinking like a lawyer”. The technology challenges them to strengthen each of the 27 professional skills characterized as essential to being a lawyer.
The law school built off of a study completed back in 2008, which laid out the necessary core competencies required to be a successful attorney, and used this information to link curriculum, campus activities, and more into the overall development of these students. For example, say a student using the app had an upcoming OCI with a firm who specializes in ADR. The character app would then lay out the courses, upcoming events, and even campus organizations that the law student could take part in to develop the needs of this type of potential employment.
The Build Your Character App also focuses on improving the students’ intellectual and cognitive, research, communications, planning and organizing, conflict resolution, client and business relations, character, and collaboration skills. It even emphasizes a lawyer’s ability to be culturally competent, helping students recognize their implicit biases.
This application is the first of its kind at a law school in the United States, that we’ve come across, and to say it is revolutionary would be an understatement.
As we at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism have stressed time and time again, effective lawyering is more than just being able to read and analyze cases. It’s our sense of character, empathy, and our commitment to service that makes us successful legal service providers. We applaud the University of Nebraska College of Law’s efforts to put an emphasis on professional development, and we hope that more law schools will follow suit.