Photograph: Eagle statue outside law school.

Student Professionalism Program

Sponsored by Washburn Law and the Kansas Bar Association

About the Program

In 2006 the Kansas Bar Association (KBA) and Washburn University School of Law joined forces to provide Washburn's students with the opportunity to continue their legal education outside of the classroom by attending programs sponsored by the KBA. What has been titled the "Student Professionalism Program" is described by Washburn Law Professor David Pierce as:

An opportunity for students to attend continuing legal education programs sponsored by the KBA to learn more about their chosen areas of interest and to interact with practicing lawyers. It is important for students to see, early in their careers, what it means to be a "professional" as they observe lawyers — who may have been out of law school for decades — attending programs to maintain and improve their professional competence. The learning process never ends for the professional. They want to do it right and in a manner that best serves their client.

The program also allows students to experience areas of the law that law school may only give them a glimpse of due to limitations on course offerings, or scheduling conflicts. The program helps to fill the gap between law school theory and application. For example, a student may study "covenants running with the land" in Property but not appreciate the full scope of their utility until they attend a program on redeveloping contaminated property in a metropolitan area and the role of restrictive covenants in making such projects feasible.

The Student Professionalism Program is an outgrowth of efforts made by the staff of Washburn's Business and Transactional Law Center to identify and exploit opportunities for students: (1) to expand their knowledge of business and transactional law; and (2) to better appreciate how the theory and doctrine of the classroom are applied in the practice of law. This is consistent with one of the major goals of the Business and Transactional Law Center: "The Center seeks to make the law school experience more realistic, and relevant, by providing additional opportunities to 'bridge the gap' between theory and practice."

Washburn Law is indebted to the KBA for its willingness to play a major role in assisting the faculty to provide their students with these additional opportunities to "bridge the gap" between theory and practice.

How to Participate in the Program

Students will be asked to become student members of the KBA. There is no charge to join and joining provides students with access to all the information the KBA publishes regarding its continuing legal education ("CLE") programs. Students will also receive copies of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association which contains articles and information of interest to lawyers, including summaries of recent cases decided by Kansas courts.

The program administrator at Washburn is Donna Vilander, located in the Centers/CLE Office (Room 331). Donna may be contacted at or (785) 670-1105. Donna coordinates the program through the KBA's representative, Deana Mead. Deana devoted considerable time and energy in working with Washburn to make this program a reality.

In addition to information you will receive directly from the KBA as a member, Donna will maintain postings of KBA program offerings in her office.

Administration of the program is quite simple.

  • First, the student identifies from the Kansas Bar Association list of scheduled CLE programs a program they desire to attend.
  • Second, the student will e-mail Donna and inform her that they desire to attend the program. This should be done as far in advance as possible, but in any event at least one week in advance of the scheduled program.
  • Third, Donna will complete the necessary registration form for the program and notify you that you have been registered and will be able to attend the program.
  • Fourth, you should ensure you attend the program; if circumstances arise and you are unable to attend a program, inform Donna at least 48 hours in advance.

The KBA has agreed to allow students to attend its programs at no charge and, for students who attend a program, they will receive the program outline materials at no charge. At some programs a lunch will be offered. In those situations Donna will inform you of any charge that may be associated with the separate lunch. For many programs one of the Centers, or other law school funding sources, can be used to sponsor students to attend these luncheons at no charge to the student.