Our Curriculum

IPL in Action

Student Feedback

“I found Lawyers as Leaders to be an invaluable and necessary component of my legal education. Lawyers are asked to lead, not only in the profession and the offices where they work, but also in their communities and neighborhoods. Through the coursework and assignments, Lawyers as Leaders helped me forge a vision for how to lead myself, lead in my firm, lead in my profession, and lead in my community during the full arc of my professional career. This has added immense value to my education and will help me represent the College of Law better throughout my career.”
-Evan Rothey, c/o 2019

“At the end of a long week, where the focus had been on the next assignment or the next class discussion, it was incredibly refreshing to be able to interact with practicing lawyers and others who had made it through law school in our Lawyering and Professionalism class. The course was a weekly reminder to keep things in perspective when the daily tasks of law school seemed too daunting. Professor Blaze, along with the speakers he brought on campus, urged us to remember the reasons we chose to come to law school, and helped us to develop plans to propel ourselves into the future. The speakers inspired us, though gently reminding us that we didn’t have to have everything figured out just yet. I always looked forward to attending this class every Friday.”-Becca Plank c/o 2021

“Studying abroad in Australia as part of the Institute for Professional Leadership’s Leading as Lawyers: Transpacific Perspectives course has been one of the most important experiences that I have had at the College of Law. The course forced me out of my comfort zone in two significant ways: 1) I was forced to examine myself and the career that I wanted to have as a lawyer and 2) I was placed in a setting where I would be interacting with many people I did not know, including several of the UT students on the trip. I came back from the trip with a revitalized and renewed understanding of what was important to me and how to pursue my career in a way that prioritizes my values, and with a group of close friends that I could turn to for advice.

As important as courses are that teach substantive legal knowledge, the IPL’s curriculum fills a much needed void in law schools by providing students with an opportunity to determine what they want their role in the greater legal community to be and how to best go about making that happen.” -Grant Williamson c/o 2019

“The Lawyering and Professionalism course provided me with a foundational understanding of the skills required to be an attorney. This course exposes students to a variety of opportunities afforded to legal professionals and practitioners who obtain a juris doctor degree. Having taken this course, I feel better equipped in making informed decisions about my future as a legal professional. Hearing from and interacting with successful alumni of the law school was a unique and invaluable experience. I am inspired and eager to work alongside and represent the far-reaching network of UT Law professionals across the country.”-Jamie Thompson, c/o 2021

“‘Take Lawyers as Leaders,’ they said. ‘It will be easy,’ they said. I’m not sure who ‘they’ are, but ‘they’ sound like a 3L who is on a full ride and has had a job lined up since 1L year. Lawyers as Leaders, while fun, was not an experience that I would describe as easy. The class required a lot of self-reflection on who we are, who we want to be, and how we plan on becoming that person. I found this class to be challenging and the amount of self-reflection to be overwhelming – but overall, I’m very thankful I took the class. I probably would have avoided the class had I been able to see a thirty second trailer of the class before signing up. However, I highly recommend we keep up the rumors of “it will be easy” and trick another generation of Lawyers as Leaders students into taking this course and being proactive about their future.”-Chelsie Spurling, c/o 2019


Lawyers as Leaders Seminar
This course is designed to help students succeed as new entrants into the legal profession. Topics include professional leadership, law firm management, bar association service, public service, practical ethics, redefining success, and leaving a proud legacy. Classes involve prominent guest speakers and discussion supplemented with relevant readings. Grading is based on class participation, written assignments, and a professional development plan.

Leadership Practicum
The practicum begins with class sessions on leadership and project design, implementation, and management. Students then develop individual or group professional service projects, execute those projects, and report back on the results. Through the process, students learn basic leadership principles, project management skills, effective communication and reporting techniques, and the value of service. Students have completed projects for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, McClung Museum, and other entities and organizations.

Leading as Lawyers: Trans-Pacific Perspectives
Through a collaboration between UT Law and the University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law in Brisbane, Australia, students of either country may enroll in Leading as Lawyers: Trans-Pacific Perspectives, a two-credit course that introduces students to basic leadership principles and the value of service. The principles and values are explored from a cross-cultural perspective, giving American and Australian law students the opportunity to discuss subtleties in styles and approaches within the two legal systems on either side of the Pacific. The course’s location alternates each year, with the next session set for winter break 2018–2019 in Knoxville. Learn more about this opportunity.

Lawyering and Professionalism (First Year Only)
This course exposes students to the wide range of available career paths for law graduates. Students begin to experience and understand what it means to be a lawyer through exercises, discussion, and by hearing from guest speakers. Because lawyers are constantly placed in leadership roles in all aspects of their personal and professional lives, the exploration includes an examination of the attributes of effective leaders and identifies strategies to foster development of skills underlying those attributes. The final focus of the course is on professional planning, beginning with consideration of what kind of lawyer (and person) each student is working to become, or, as is more often the case, how to design a path to figure that out. The class also explores the fundamentals of wellness, work-life balance, and positive psychology.