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Origins of What Do Lawyers Do?

During the 2015-16 bar year under the leadership of former ABA Young Lawyers Division Chair Lacy Durham, the ABA YLD partnered with the Texas Young Lawyers Association to expand What Do Lawyers Do? (WDLD?) into a national resource.  

The What Do Lawyers Do Program (WDLD) is an interactive program designed to educate undergraduate students about how to become a lawyer. The project focuses on preparation for law school, the law school experience, and different career paths for law school graduates. Among its many goals, the project seeks to encourage a discussion about the different aspects of a legal education and the seemingly endless options open to those interested in pursuing a legal education.

The program emphasizes connecting with students at historically black colleges and institutions as well as predominantly Hispanic-serving institutions. Following the program, students will have a newfound understanding of the important roles that lawyers play in society, and feel empowered knowing that a legal education and career are well within the reach of anyone willing to put in the time and effort to succeed. 

The ABA Young Lawyers Division works to identify opportunities to bring WDLD directly to local schools across the country through our leaders and conferences. In addition, we present WDLD virtually.

Planning the Program

Sample Flyers

  1. Sample WDLD Flyer 1
  2. Sample WDLD Flyer 2
  3. Sample WDLD Flyer 3
  4. Sample WDLD Flyer 4

PowerPoint Presentation

Note: Most WDLD? programs do NOT use a PowerPoint Presentation. Instead, the presenters keep the attendees engaged by sharing the presenters’ personal experiences. However, in the rare instances in which 4-5 panelists cannot be obtained for a program, 1-2  presenters may utilize a PowerPoint presentation, such as the one provided here.

Watch a WDLD Recording


Have you ever thought about going to law school? About what it means to be a lawyer? A legal career is well within the reach of anyone willing to put in the time and effort to succeed.  To help you navigate your way to this interesting and rewarding career, young lawyers from diverse practices and backgrounds answer your questions and share insights and tips in this free non-CLE webinar, "What Lawyers Do and How to Navigate Your Way to An Interesting and Rewarding Career."

Background Reading

Resources discussing legal diversity pipeline programs:

  • E. Christopher Johnson Jr., Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession – Pipeline Programs, 91 Mich. B.J. 33 (2012).
  • Alisa Cunningham & Patricia Steele, Diversity Pipeline Programs in Legal Education: Context, Research, and a Path Forward (2005).
  • Alex M. Johnson, Jr., Knots in the Pipeline for Prospective Lawyers of Color, 24 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 379 (2013).
  • Sarah E. Redfield, The Educational Pipeline to Law School – Too Broken and Too Narrow to Provide Diversity, 8 Pierce L. Rev. 347 (2010).
  • Charles R. Calleros, Enhancing the Pipeline of Diverse K-12 and College Students to Law School, 58 J. of Legal Education 327 (2008).
  • Susan Smith Blakely, Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (2009).
  • Sarah E. Redfield, Diversity Realized: Putting the Walk with the Talk for Diversity in the Legal Profession (2009).
  • Dorothy Evensen & Carla D. Pratt, The End of the Pipeline: A Journey Recognition for African Americans Entering the Legal Profession (2011).
  • Sarah E. Redfield, The Education Pipeline to the Professions: Programs that Work to Increase Diversity (2012)

Further Information

If you'd like to learn more about the What Do Lawyers Do? program, you can reach out to the following program contacts: