FSU law professor wins professionalism award

Larry Krieger

As director of the externship program and member of the clinical faculty at Florida State University College of Law, Larry Krieger has spent the past 15 years providing his students with the skills to be successful and professional attorneys. Yet it is what he has helped his students remove from their lives that led The Florida Bar to award him the 2006 Faculty Professionalism Award.

The award, presented annually by The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism, recognizes the efforts of a faculty member from one of Florida’s law schools whose efforts best represent the committee’s dedication to promoting the values of professionalism within the legal system.

Krieger’s emphasis is on teaching students critical values that promote professional behavior while relieving the stress and depression often associated with legal work. He researches and publishes in the area of law student and lawyer health and satisfaction and served as vice-chair of The Florida Bar Committee on Quality of Life and Career from 1996 to 2005.

"There were a number of highly qualified nominations for this award and your unanimous selection by the subcommittee is a tribute to your innovative approach to the creation of programs at Florida State University that make professionalism more relevant to law students," James Floyd, chair of the standing committee, said in a letter to Krieger.

His focus on teaching students about the stresses of the profession originated as "little jots of information" that he worked into his Clinical Externship classes nearly 10 years ago. However, after receiving an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from students, these short lessons soon became a prominent aspect of his teachings.

Because stress can have a negative effect on behavior, Krieger said he believes that adding this aspect to the legal skills already provided would allow law schools to produce not only great legal minds but great professionals as well.

"There’s this expectation by students that they’re going to be stressed and miserable and that’s just the way things are," Krieger said. "I’m trying to change that expectation by showing them that they can be successful and personally thrive at the same time."

Krieger, who has published widely circulated articles and booklets, lectured and created a national listserv on this issue, will accept his award at The Florida Bar’s annual meeting next June.

Clinical Professor Ruth Stone, co-director of the law school’s Children’s Advocacy Center won the award in 2004.