Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership Abstract

Lawyers are leaders, which makesleadership an essential aspect of lawyers’ professional identity. Leadership development is about helping students see themselves as leaders who will use their legal knowledge, skills and competencies to solve problems and serve others as they work toward common goals. Their leadership occurs when representing and advising clients as well as serving within their communities. Just as developing legal skills is a life-long endeavor that begins in law school, so does growing as a leader. Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership was written to help law schools guide law students through a process to understand and own their professional identity as a lawyer, to self-assess their strengths and weaknesses, and to equip them to work well with others. By enhancing their legal education with leadership skills they will be better equipped to accomplish their goals and better prepared to be difference makers in society.

In Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership, we explore the aspects of leadership that law students can develop and improve during their time in law school. This textbook begins in Part I (Overview of Leadership) with the study of “leadership” as a process whereby an individual has influence on another (or a group) to achieve a common goal. As lawyers, our students will have the opportunity to help and serve no matter what title or position they hold in an organization. Law students need to recognize that their position as a lawyer in our society is a leadership position as they advise clients and organizations and as they serve in their communities. In Part II (Leadership of Self: Growing into Leadership), student begin, or continue, their leadership journey with a look inward to examine their professional identity – who they are, what type of lawyer they want to be, and how they will lead. Topics covered include characteristics of leadership (traits, skills and competencies, including those traditionally developed in law school); fixed vs. growth mindset; grit and resilience; feedback and failure; well-being; integrity and character; preparedness and setting goals. In Part III (Leadership with Others: Effective Group Dynamics), we turn our attention to help our students develop their ability to interact effectively with others. We cover topics such as emotional intelligence; relationships and influence; strategic communication; and diversity, inclusion and cultural competency; effective management; and working within legal organizations.  Finally, in Part IV (Leadership within Community: Service and Impact), we encourage students to seek opportunities to use their legal training and other talents and gifts to serve society in ways that are meaningful to them and that can have a significant impact on others. We challenge them to consider what legacy they want to leave. This section can be used when emphasizing leadership for change and encouraging law students to use their legal skills to effectuate desired goals in areas about which they are passionate.

Additional recommendations when using the book:

  • Guest speakers: Leadership and professional identity/development courses and programs provide a wonderful opportunity to bring your alumni and high-profile lawyers into the classroom to interact with students and share their experiences. We select guest speakers who can reinforce or help us teach the chapters assigned for that session.
  • Experiential Learning: Role playing, exercises, small group discussions, and discussion boards are used as regular components. Many samples are provided in the book with additional options available – and new ones being added all the time – in the Teacher’s Manual.
  • Student Journals: A powerful tool as part of the student’s experience, journaling personalizes and internalizes the concepts discussed in the book and during class interactions. We start with the sample journal prompts but often adjust them after class to respond to the discussion or address a point that needs emphasis. Witnessing their growth as we read their journals is one of the most satisfying teaching experiences we have!

Read more, access the Teacher’s Manual and sample PowerPoint slides, and request a complimentary copy here: https://www.wklegaledu.com/Teague-Leadership. The textbook chapters also can be used as modules for stand-alone programs or incorporated into other courses. We want to make it easy to create a class or supplement a program so we continue to develop teaching materials (notes, exercises, PowerPoint slides, etc.) to accompany our book.