Message from the Chair – November, 2019

Dear Leadership Section Members,

I hope you are having a fabulous fall! We have a lot happening in the next weeks and months and we hope you will join us for all that you can. In this newsletter you will find information for the following upcoming events, including 2 this week:

We want to thank each of you for your ongoing interest in, and work on, efforts to better prepare our students for the opportunities to make a positive difference in society using their legal training and law degrees. Momentum is building in legal education! Each month we gain new members to our Leadership section and we discover new information about more leadership development programs and courses around the country. The continued growth is reported in an article to be published soon in a special leadership symposium issue of the Tennessee Law Review. We are now aware of at least 85 law schools that have at least one leadership development program, course or designation for their students. Included as an appendix to the article will be a chart listing the mission statements of all ABA-approved law schools. Highlighted are 91 of those law school mission statements that specifically use the words “lead,” “leader(s)” or “leadership.” That chart also includes learning outcomes with indications of leadership as a learning objective. This chart not only documents the growth of leadership development programming but provides resources for those seeking to create new courses and programs and to enhance existing programming.

We have much to celebrate but we also know much more needs to be done. As a section, we need to continue to find ways to support each other and to help others interested in creating or expanding leadership development. Please join us at our section breakfast on January 3 in Washington, D.C. to discuss our future efforts. Register for the AALS annual meeting by November 14 to receive best pricing.

In this newsletter we continue our highlight of leadership courses and programs by featuring programs at University of North Carolina School of Law and Washburn University School of Law. Please let us know about your new courses and other ventures and enhancements to your leadership programs.

We hope to see you soon!

All the best, Leah Teague, Chair


What LSSSE Data Can Teach Us About Developing Our Law Students for Influence and Impact as Leaders

November 5, 2019, at 10:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Central/ 1:00 pm Eastern

Presented by Chad Christensen, Ph.D., Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) Project Manager Research Faculty, School of Education, Indiana University

As established by a number of studies and reports spanning the last twenty-plus years, law schools need to expand educational programming beyond the traditional primary focus on intellectual training to better prepare students for their professional obligations and leadership opportunities. A commitment to leadership development efforts in law schools not only benefits law students but also is essential for the future the legal profession and the preservation of the rule of law in our society. To promote scholarship, teaching, and other activities focused on equipping lawyers and law students for effective leadership and service, the AALS Section on Leadership was established in 2018.

This webinar will utilize LSSSE data to explore opportunities for leadership development in legal education. Dr. Chad Christensen, LSSSE Project Manager, will share key survey findings with a focus on maximizing leadership skills along various metrics, including teamwork, intrinsic motivation, and professionalism. Participants need not be familiar with LSSSE, quantitative data, or curricular development. Join us as we facilitate a discussion on how to more effectively build leaders in law school and beyond.

To participate in the webinar, RSVP by email to [email protected]. You will receive log-in instructions once you are signed up.

EMAIL [email protected] TO RSVP

Sponsored by:
AALS Section on Leadership

Co-sponsored by:
Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)

AALS Section on Empirical Studies of Legal Education and the Legal ProfessionAALS Section on Law and the Social Sciences


Leadership Course Spotlight: Leadership for Lawyers at UNC School of Law & Washburn University School of Law

For a change of pace in this edition of the spotlight section, we will be looking at leadership courses at two schools to get a feel for how others are treating the topic of leadership in the classroom.

The University of North Carolina School of Law offers Leadership for Lawyers in the fall semester and has been doing so since 2014.  This is a three-credit course which meets once a week for three hours.  According to the course description, topics for the course include “adjusting leadership styles based on context, seeking and providing mentorship, cultivating and managing diverse teams, resolving conflict, strategic planning and goal setting, delegating tasks, and managing programs, projects and events.”  While there are no prerequisites for the course, permission is required for enrollment to confirm students have leadership experience in their background.

The current instructors for the course are John Kasprzak, Assistant Dean for Student Development, and Jared Smith, Programming and Engagement Associate, NC Equal Access to Justice Commission.  Additional information on the Leadership for Lawyers course at UNC Law can be found at http://www.law.unc.edu/academics/courses/leadership/.

Washburn University School of Law also offers a course entitled Leadership for Lawyers, with the class first offered in the Spring of 2018.  The Washburn version is a two-credit course also meeting once a week.  For the first iteration, the class was capped at 30 students and was at capacity within the first few hours of registration.  Leadership for Lawyers covered many of the same topics as the UNC Law version, with additional topics including HR issues, different generations in the law firm setting, and succession planning.  Assessment came in the form of case study write ups with an additional assignment involving a service project.  For the service project, students were asked to pick a non-profit organization and either describe their volunteer efforts for the organization or create a hypothetical event to help market the organization.

Thomas Sneed, Associate Professor and Director of the Law Library, was the instructor and plans to continue to offer the course in future Spring semesters.  Additional information on the Leadership for Lawyers course at Washburn Law can be found at http://washburnlaw.edu/academics/courses/k-m.html.