Roadmap for Employment

The 2015 winner of the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association, Professor Neil Hamilton has developed and published a groundbreaking template for law students to use throughout all three years of law school in order to be fully prepared to find meaningful employment upon graduation. "Every student desires meaningful employment to serve others well upon graduation," Hamilton writes. The most effective way for a law students to gain meaningful employment, he notes, is to first understand the student's own strengths; second, to understand the competencies desired by employers; and third, to discern how the student's strengths met those desired competencies.

The Roadmap, therefore, has established the core competencies desired by law firms, corporate legal departments, and governmental law departments, to demonstrate what competencies each students should be developing in his/her formative law school years. Through a combination of one-on-one coaching and student-driven growth plans, each students identifies specific competencies and career goals, and then demonstrates progress over their remaining semesters of law school.

How is it used in law schools?

The Roadmap method established by Professor Hamilton is already in use at several law schools, with spectacular results -- both increased employment rates and elevated student understanding of the student's role and path in obtaining employment. The method employed first guides the student through a template in which the student explores an assessment of herself, including strengths and interests. The student then assesses the legal market to discover promising options given her own self-assessment. Finally, the student creates a writen professional development plan, to which she adheres and revises throughout law school, and which places her on a path toward developing more fully her required competencies.

  • Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
  • Maurer School of Law at Indiana University Bloomington
  • Regent University School of Law
  • University of Miami School of Law
  • St. Thomas School of Law

"In these challenging markets, each student needs to synthesize her life experience with her law school experience into a biographical coherence or story about her unique strengths and skills to serve others well in meaningful employment. Roadmap guides each student through this process."

-Deanell Tacha, Dean, Pepperdine University School of Law


"I wish I had something like the Roadmap in law school to help me understand what are all the competencies needed to be successful in the practice of law and how to use the curriculum and other experiences of law school to develop the needed competencies. I think the one-on-one coaching to help each student think through her plan to develop toward meaningful employment to serve other well is exceptionally valuable."

-Marschall Smith, retired General Counsel, 3M Corp., former General Counsel, Archer, Daniels, Midland Company (ADM) and Brunswick Corp.


"Roadmap helps each student on the critically important step of taking ownership over her own professional development toward excellence at all the competencies needed to serve others will in the areas of practice that most interest the student.  It is a whole-building, whole-student approach to this challenge."

-Daisy Floyd, Dean, Mercer University Law School

Purchase the Roadmap for Employment

The Roadmap is available for purchase through the  American Bar Association's and Amazon.

- Book Purchase