Professional Skills for Practice

Professional Development

At Villanova University School of Law (VLS), students find an educational experience that directly aligns with the demands of professional practice. Our cutting-edge curriculum infuses professionalism skills along with vital business principles and practical experience into each student’s education. Villanova’s three-year, credit-bearing Professional Development course—one of the most robust of its kind among law schools—encourages and engages students in individualized and active career exploration.

“We believe that academics and professional development are intertwined and equally essential to the long-term success of our students,” said John Y. Gotanda, The Arthur J. Kania Dean and Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law. “By requiring these new Professional Development Courses, we are working to ensure that our graduates not only have top-notch legal skills, but also the ‘soft skills’ so coveted by today’s employers.”

The courses cover topics such as professionalism, communication skills, professional independence and the lawyer as entrepreneur. They are presented through lectures, individual and small group meetings, self-directed assignments and career strategy events. Beyond curricular opportunities, students also have regular contact with a career strategy advisor.

“My advisor has shown me that life is filled with networks that we may not think to use,” said Tyler J. Stampone ’17. “She reminded me that any of the people I interacted with personally or professionally before law school may be a good asset moving forward.”

In the first year of the Professional Development program students participate in a series of practice area round tables. At these small group discussions, practitioners from different fields provide information and insight about their practices. This helps students gain an early understanding of the differences in general practice areas—including litigation versus transactional work, large versus small firm practice and private versus public practice.

In the second and third year of the program, students continue to develop competencies for success in practice, including strategic planning and networking skills. The curriculum is a collaboration among VLS faculty, staff and alumni mentors—ensuring context for and continuity between academic work, clinic experiences and externships.

Click here to learn more about Villanova Law’s Career Strategy offerings.