What is BBL?

1. What is BBL?

BBL includes:

  • A law school course
  • A video library of 105 interviews with lawyers and judges
  • A series of 8 programs on “Tips for Lawyering”
  • A 13-part educational series (one-hour programs) for online law school courses, programs sponsored by law school offices such as CSO, financial advising, and student support, bar association CLE events, and online CLE programs.

The practice of law in the 21st century requires that each lawyer treat himself or herself as a business. BBL talks about how to do this by covering the following four topics:

(1) Economic trends in the legal profession and how these trends impact law students and new lawyers

(2) Personal financial planning basics

(3) Emotional intelligence relevant to the lives of lawyers such as managing stress, using one’s strengths, maintaining  balance, and building resilience

(4) How to be an effective “free agent” throughout one’s career in light of the fact that the average lawyer changes jobs 7 times in a career

2. What is the BBL course?


BBL has been offered as a course at the University of Alabama School of Law since 2013.  It is taught by Professor Pam Pierson. Each semester also includes lawyers and judges who serve as speakers, panelists, and breakout leaders.  BBL is a two-hour ethics course and graded P, D, F.

3. What is the course material for BBL and where may it be obtained?

BBL course materials consist of (1) a copy of The Business of Being a Lawyer by Pamela Bucy Pierson, and (2) a copy of Gallup StrengthFinders 2.0 by Tom Rath. Both may be purchased in the Law School bookstore or on Amazon books.

4. What is the BBL Video Library?

The BBL Video Library may be accessed by clicking the tab to the left. It consists of 105 interviews with lawyers and judges recorded between 2012 -2016. The interviews average about 15 minutes in length.

All interviewees were asked questions such as:

  • What is your area of practice?
  • Please describe your “typical day.”
  • If law students wanted to go into a practice such as yours what steps should they take in law school or after graduating from law school?
  • What is the best part of your job? What is the worst?
  • What is the most stressful part of your practice?
  • What are your strategies for dealing with stress?
  • What are your top 5 strengths according to Gallup Strength finders0 and how do you use each in your day to day practice?
  • What is the one thing you know now that you wish you had known in law school?

There are four indices for the BBL Video Interviews:

(1) Name and occupation of interviewee

(2) Topic discussed

(3) 34 Gallup strengths in Strength finders 2.0

(4) Areas of practice

To view the BBL video library, click the tab to the left.

5. What is the series, “Tips for Lawyering”?

Videos ranging in length from 10 – 40 minutes address topics such as:

  • Advice from 3Ls to 1Ls
  • Business Etiquette: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know (topics such as dining etiquette, introductions of colleagues, correspondence)
  • Do’s and Don’ts in Law School (How Not to Make a Fool of Yourself)
  • Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers
  • Financial Advice for Lawyers
  • First Day of Your Summer Job (where to park, what to wear, correspondence prior to your first day, lunch, after work)
  • Nailing the Job Interview
  • Unity and Diversity: Overcoming Racial and Gender Stereotypes

The “Tips on Lawyering” series features law students providing advice from their experiences, as well as professionals in fields other than law. For example, Beverly Thorn, Ph.D. Psychology presents the program on emotional intelligence for lawyers; Gina Johnson, a Business Etiquette coach certified by the Emily Post Institute, presents the business etiquette program; and Mark Hamilton, a corporate CFO and treasurer, presents the program on financial advice for law students.

The 8 programs in the BBL Tips for Lawyering are available at the link to the left.

6. What is the 13-part program, The Business of Being a Lawyer (BBL) available to law schools and as online CLEs?

Thirteen educational videos (each approximately one hour in length) are available to law schools and as online CLEs. Programs 2 – 13 contain 260 embedded exercises that may be completed in conjunction with the programs. The exercises help meet the outcome assessment requirements recently promulgated by the ABA for law schools.

A Teaching Manual is available for law school faculty who use the BBL series as a 1 or 2-hour credit course. Click the tab to the left for the teaching manual.

To order any of the BBL video programs, click: http://www.clealabama.com

7. Is there scholarship available on BBL?


  • Pamela Bucy Pierson, The Business of Being a Lawyer (West Academic 2014)

Law Review Articles:

  • Pamela Bucy Pierson, Economics,EQ, and Finance: The Next Frontier in Legal Education, 65 Journal of Legal Education 864 (2016).
  • Pamela Bucy Pierson, Michael Pepper, Ashley Hamilton, Megan Root, Lawyers and Stress (manuscript in progress– discussing IRB # 16 -OR-280)

Bar Journal Articles:

  • Pamela Bucy Pierson and Emily Kornegay Price, Small Firms Poised to Thrive in Today’s Legal Market, 77 The Ala. Law. 20 (2016)
  • Pamela Bucy Pierson, How to Be a Star Performer in the Legal World, 44 ABA Student Lawyer 10 (2016)
  • Pamela Bucy Pierson, “Unbundling” in the New Legal Marketplace, 43 ABA Student Lawyer 20 (2015) to be reprinted by the New York Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section (Spring, 2016).
  • Mary E. Wood, Jacklyn E. Nagle and Pamela Bucy Pierson, A Qualitative Examination of Self-Care in Lawyers, 26 The Jury Expert, 26 (2014)

8. Where may I get more information about BBL?

Please contact: Pamela Bucy Pierson, Bainbridge-Mims Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law, P.O. Box 870382, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 (pierson@law.ua.edu)