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Penn Law's Center on Professionalism Holds Cohort Conversations

February 18, 2010
Associate Director for Student Development Kathleen Overly meets with her Professionalism cohort
 
Penn Law’s Center on Professionalism kicked off the spring semester with 1L cohort luncheons to discuss one of the most critical sources of professional development: feedback.
 
Associate Director for Student Development Kathleen Overly, who leads one of the cohorts, noted during her group’s luncheon that attorneys are not known for their management skills. As a result, Overly said, “you can’t sit back and expect someone else to do your professional development for you. You need to advocate for yourself, and that means asking for feedback and learning how to take feedback once you receive it.” 
 
Students in Overly’s cohort luncheon shared their experiences – good and bad – giving and receiving feedback at the Law School. For many 1L students, Overly acknowledged, the culmination of an entire semester worth of work in a single grade for each course can feel arbitrary, and frustrating. She was quick to point out that students do have resources available, from professors to legal writing instructors to the student development staff – if they seek them out. But she also added, “dealing with what may feel like a feedback vacuum is actually great experience for learning to function, and thrive, in professional legal practice.” 
 
Overly’s cohort is one of 18 Professionalism groups into which the class of 2012 is divided. The cohorts meet throughout the year to provide opportunities for students to develop a set of professional skills to complement the analytical skills they learn in the classroom.