In August 2017, the incoming JD class of 2020 participated in LawMap: Use Your Strengths to Chart Your Path as a part of their orientation to the Allard School of Law. Organized by the Career Services Office and generously funded by the Franklin Lew Innovation Fund, this pilot program was designed to help first year law students identify their strengths and values at the outset of their legal careers. By allowing each student to identify what brought them to law school and what goals they hope to accomplish, the program aims to enable students to create a pathway to sucess, while remaining connected to their personal values.
Prior to orientation week, incoming students were required to complete an online StrengthsFinder assessment and a personal questionnaire to help assess their strengths, weaknesses, and core values. This was followed by in-person sessions conducted during August 2017 orientation week and January 2018 re-orientation, where students identified their short-term goals and designed a pathway to achieve these goals. These sessions were facilitated by Kimberley Rawes, a Career Educator with UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Careers.
This initiative was in response calls for increased support of student wellness, resilience, and career development. After consultation with students during the 2016-2017 academic year, Chira Perla, Assistant Dean of Career Services recognised “a recommendation that the Allard School of Law support wellbeing in personal and career development by facilitating opportunities for students to set and revisit individual career values and goals…With LawMap, we used our students’ recommendation as a jumping off point for promoting career development from a strengths theory perspective. When students are able to identify and connect their personal strengths, values, and goals, the result is a touchstone they can refer back to in moments of celebration and challenge; something to anchor their decisions and provide them with agency as they move through law school and into the profession.”