Keystone Professionalism & Leadership Program

2015-2016 Keystone Professionalism & Leadership Program (“Keystone Program”)

The Law School is launching the fifth year of the Keystone Professionalism & Leadership Program, a program designed to help students prepare for their legal careers.  The name of the Keystone Program derives from the concept of a “keystone.”  When an arch is built, the keystone is the last piece placed during construction and locks all of the other stones into position, allowing the arch to bear weight.  Similarly, without professionalism and leadership, one’s professional career cannot ascend to the heights it is capable of reaching.

Last year, more than 85 programs qualified for the Keystone Program. More than 120 students completed the program and were recognized at a luncheon sponsored by Skadden and featuring remarks by Dean Michael H. Schill, Dean of Students Amy M. Gardner, and Chuck Smith, ’87, a partner at Skadden who also serves as the Attorney Development Partner for the Chicago office of the firm.

The 2015-2016 Keystone Professionalism & Leadership Program continues to build upon the success of the program over the past years and will once again include special programming and/or priority for special programs for 2Ls and 3Ls who completed the program during the 2014-2015 academic year.

How the Keystone Program Works

The Keystone Professionalism & Leadership Program (“Keystone Program”) is an optional program designed to help students prepare for their legal careers.  As with last year, the Keystone Program operates much like the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs that licensed attorneys participate in throughout most of the United States.It affords students additional opportunities to gain professional, strategic, interpersonal, practical, and leadership skills that are critical and necessary for career success.    Based on feedback from students and employers, as well as recognition of the changing market for lawyers, the categories of Keystone have been updated this year to embody five categories that are instrumental to an attorney’s success.  Those five categories are: Practical Skills, Managing & Building Your Career, Professional Judgment & Ethics, Emotional Intelligence & Diversity, and Legal Community Citizenship.  For a more in-depth description of the programs that qualify for each category, please visit

Students attend programs from each of the five categories to complete approximately 40 hours of instruction between September 1, 2015 and May 15, 2016.  Students who complete the program during the 2015-2016 school year are recognized at an end-of-year reception, receive gifts, are entitled to list completion of the program on their resumes, and will have the program completion listed on their transcript.