Message from the Chair – 2018

Deborah Rhode, Chair, AALS Leadership Section

It is with great pride, pleasure, and appreciation that I welcome readers to this first newsletter of the newly inaugurated AALS Section on Leadership. As you all know, it is a shameful irony that the occupation that produces the greatest number of American leaders has done so little to effectively and intentionally prepare them for that role. Although the legal profession accounts for only about .4 percent of the population, it has supplied a majority of American presidents, and innumerable leaders throughout the public and private sector. Few of these individuals receive any formal leadership training in law schools. This section marks a commitment to do better, and I am enormously grateful to all who have made it possible, particularly our superb executive committee Douglas Blaze, David Gibbs, Rachel Moran, and Chair Elect Leah Jackson Teague.

The section is an outgrowth of a series of symposia, conferences, and informal gatherings at the AALS annual meeting for those interested in teaching,   research, and programmatic ideas in the field. Over a 150 legal academics are now members of the section, and our hope is to expand that membership through the kind of activities described in this newsletter. We all have much to learn from each other, and the section leadership welcomes your ideas for how to enlist and engage faculty and communicate with broader audiences.

We confront a number of challenges. Part of the problem is that the field has only recently emerged, and its reputation has been tarnished by pop publications, which I have elsewhere labeled “leadership lite, ” such as Leadership Secrets from Attila the Hun, and Toy Box Leadership; Leadership Lessons from the Toys You Loved as a Child. A related problem is that to many lawyers, law students, and law professors, the subject seems somewhat squishy– a “touchy feely” curricular “frill,” unlike the more doctrinal courses tested on bar exams. But what that latter objection ignores is a wide array of research indicating that effective leadership requires so- called “soft skills,” particularly those demanding personal and interpersonal skills such as self-awareness and emotional intelligence. And by training and temperament, these are not the skills in which lawyers and law students excel; for many “the soft stuff is the hard stuff.” And a wide variety of research suggest that  that law schools can help students develop some of those capacities, such as decision-making, influence, communication, and conflict management.

A related challenge is that many students are reluctant to advertise an interest in leadership. The term seems to conjure up visions of high school student body presidents or overreaching politicians desperate for power and adulation. Yet many law students who are reluctant to out themselves as ambitious will inevitably exercise leadership, if not as heads of organizations, then heads of teams, committees, task forces, and charitable initiatives. When I was a law student, I never thought of myself as a potential leader and would never have taken a leadership course. But I would have surely have benefited from one, and I deeply regret that I did not know earlier some of what I know now.

Leadership education can also inspire future lawyers to be life-long learners, to recognize the skills that they will need, and to become reflective about their own capacities, limitations, and aspirations. And perhaps most importantly, law school initiatives can encourage students to think more deeply about what they want leadership for. Positions of influence offer many rewards, but those that are most fulfilling are generally not the perks of power, money, and status that individuals often covet. Research consistently finds that satisfaction generally depends most on other, intrinsic factors, such as feeling effective, exercising strengths and virtues, and contributing to socially valued ends that bring meaning and purpose.

As law professors, we have enormous opportunities, and I believe, corresponding obligations to equip future leaders to meet the complex challenges facing our nation and our world. In the final analysis, the question is not whether law schools should prepare students for leadership. Law schools already are developing leaders; they are just not doing it as effectively as they should. We owe it to our students and our communities to do better. I am deeply grateful to all of you who have joined the section to help us become more effective in that mission.


AALS Leadership Section Co-Hosts Conference with Santa Clara Law School on Advancing Leadership in the Legal Profession

The Leadership Section of the Association of American Law Schools, together with Santa Clara University Law School and the Santa Clara Law Review, held a major conference on advancing leadership education and development in the legal profession. The conference featured presentations by the President of the American Bar Association and leadership experts Deborah Rhode, Stanford Law School, and Barry Posner, Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. The conference was held on March 23, 2018, in Santa Clara Law’s new 96,000 square foot building, Charney Hall, and attracted more than 100 lawyers, judges, law students and leadership education training experts.

The conference was the result of almost one year of discussion and planning led Donald Polden, Professor and Dean Emeritus which included Santa Clara Law School faculty and students and several law school educators who helped create the AALS’s new Section on Leadership, including Deborah Rhode, Leah Jackson Teague, David Gibbs and Douglas Blaze. The planning group identified and invited many of the leading educators on leadership development in American law school, law firm lawyers and professionals responsible for developing leadership in lawyers, and leadership experts who worked with lawyers and law firms on leadership skills. For a link to information about the symposium including photographs, the agenda, course syllabi, and other materials, please go to law.scu.edu/leadership

Throughout the day long conference, speakers addressed key leadership issues and challenges facing several groups within the legal profession. Hilarie Bass, a partner in the national law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP and current President of the American Bar Association, gave the opening keynote address. She discussed the significant challenges facing lawyers and the legal profession in today’s global, technology driven law practice and the important initiatives by her and the ABA to address many of those challenges. Clearly and forcibly addressing the challenges facing the legal profession and the ABA requires great leadership.

A second morning session keynote address was given by leadership guru, Barry Posner, co-author of The Leadership Challenge books and training materials and his former student Ausra Deluard, an associate at Jones Day LLP office in San Francisco, and herself a leadership educator. Posner and Deluard discussed the importance of leadership education in many fields, including law, and described the practices of exemplary leadership that permit leaders to do extraordinary things within and for their organizations.

Deborah Rhode, the first chair of the Section on Leadership, directs the Center for the Legal Profession and the Program in Law & Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford’s law school, and she presented the third keynote address of the conference. Professor Rhode spoke about the critical role of legal education and law firms in educating for leadership during times where firms and individuals experience conditions of stresses and challenge. She also provided an overview of the development of leadership courses training in the law schools and in the legal profession.

Santa Clara’s Dean Lisa Kloppenberg moderated a panel of exceptional leaders and leadership development experts, including Dorian Daley, VP and General Counsel of Oracle Corporation, Olga Mack, a former GC and Organizer and Curator at TEDxEmerald Glen Park, Dean Thomas Romig, Dean at Washburn University School of Law and former Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army, Dr. Lori Berman, Director of Professional Development at Hogan Lovells, USA, LLP in Washington DC, and Dr. Roland Smith, formerly at the Center for Creative Leadership and Group Head of Leadership Strategy and Development at Interglobe Enterprises. The panel discuss several key issues concerning the importance of leadership to various legal and law related organizations and how they development and demonstrated leadership during their careers.

The symposium also featured several panels of law faculty members who are teaching leadership courses in American law schools or who have developed leadership programs and activities for law students and lawyers.  The speakers discussed their ideas and research on leadership for lawyer subjects and several described articles they have prepared for a summer 2018 issue of the Santa Clara Law Review on leadership for lawyers. According to Professor Donald Polden, who helped organize the conference, “the symposium attracted the top legal educators and lawyer-leaders in the country to discuss the challenges facing the legal profession and legal education and we heard some meaningful solutions to those problems. Lawyers, judges and educators will benefit immeasurably from the forthcoming articles published by our law review.” The academic speakers included:

  • Douglas Blaze, Tennessee
  • Louis Bilionis, Cincinnati
  • Rachel Moran, UCLA
  • Donald Polden, Santa Clara
  • Neil Hamilton, St Thomas (MN)
  • David Gibbs, Roger Williams
  • Robert Cullen, Santa Clara
  • Leah Jackson Teague, Baylor
  • Maura DeMouy, Georgetown
  • Michael Colatrella, Jr., McGeorge (Pacific)
  • Rebecca Lee, Thomas Jefferson

The Conference resulted in a number of insightful articles by the following distinguished authors which thanks to the assistance of the Santa Clara Law Review can be accessed at the following portal.  Please note the articles are in draft form pending final editing and should not be cited until they are final form which will be noted. The articles can be accessed at this link.

Donald Polden, Lawyers, Leadership, and Innovation
Barry Posner, Leadership Development in Law Schools: Myths, Principles, And Practices
Deborah Rhode, Preparing Leaders: The Evolution of a Field and The Stresses of Leadership
R. Lisle Baker, Character and Fitness for Leadership: Learning Interpersonal Skills
Louis Bilionis, Law School Leadership and Leadership Development for Developing Lawyers
Douglas Blaze, Law Student Motivation, Satisfaction, And Well-Being: The Value of a Leadership and Professional Development Curriculum
Neil Hamilton, Leadership of Self: Each Student Taking Ownership Over Continuous Professional Development/Self-Directed Learning
Leah Teague, Training Lawyers for Leadership: Vitally Important Mission for The Future Success (And Maybe Survival) Of the Legal Profession and Our Democracy
Rachel Moran, The Three Ages Of Modern American Lawyering And The Current Crisis In The Legal Profession And Legal Education


Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession Fourth Annual Awards Dinner: Innovation and the Future of Work

The Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, a research organization dedicated to studying the global legal profession led by Professor David B. Wilkins, recently hosted a series of events in the Bay Area to celebrate leading innovators in the law as well as to discuss the Center’s new research project on how legal organizations “operationalize innovation.”

On June 14, the Center hosted its Fourth Annual Awards Dinner: Innovation and the Future of Work in San Francisco where, 180 leading lawyers, academics, and policymakers gathered to celebrate three pioneers in the field of legal innovation: Kate Adams, SVP and General Counsel of Apple Inc., who received the Center’s Award for Global Leadership, and Kim Rivera, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of HP Inc., and Mark Harris, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Axiom Global, Inc., who both received the Center’s Award for Professional Excellence. At the dinner, Professor Wilkins also released preliminary findings from a study on the emergence of innovation officers within law firms and in-house legal departments. The data offered a snapshot of the career and professional backgrounds of leaders occupying these increasingly common and important roles, as well as examples of how legal organizations define and operationalize innovation, including key sources of support and resistance. On the project Wilkins comments, “While innovation is often talked about in theory, the Center is focused on understanding it from the bottom-up based on how it is operationalized in practice. Core to this process are increasingly empowered legal operation professionals within companies and chief innovation officers at law firms.” Results from the survey will be published this fall in the Center’s digital magazine, The Practice.

To further examine what innovation means in practice, on June 15-16, the Center hosted a Colloquium on Operationalizing Innovation on Google’s main campus in Mountain, CA. The event brought together approximately 80 innovation leaders from around the world, half from law firms and half from in-house legal departments, to engage in a series of in-depth workshops around two topics central to operationalizing innovation: career paths in innovation, and the formation and implementation of quality metrics. Facilitated by Professor Wilkins and Rochael Soper Adranly, the general counsel and legal design lead of IDEO, participants were lead through an intensive series of interactive “design thinking” session aimed at addressing questions such as: How might we design an innovation career path that attracts and retains top talent? How can legal organizations incentivize innovation work? How might firms and companies work together to develop mutually agreeable, objective metrics to measure the “quality” of legal services? At the end of the Colloquium, participants committed to taking at least one of the ideas generated over the two days – artfully recorded during brainstorming sessions on colorful post-it notes stuck to the walls as is common in design thinking sessions—and work on it over the next year. The Center is tracking their progress on these new initiatives through an Operationalizing Innovation Leadership Group and will host another Colloquium next spring where participants will report on their experiences. To learn more or to get involved, email the Center’s research director Bryon Fong at bfong@law.harvard.edu


Baylor Law’s Leadership Development Program

October 31, 2018 / By AALS Leadership

Each Issue of the Leadership Newsletter will feature an innovative leadership program at a law school.

Leah Teague, Associate Dean and Professor of Law

Stephen Rispoli, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs

Baylor Law’s mission statement expresses an “obligation to develop students who have the character, maturity, skills, and values needed to assume leadership positions.” Leadership development has always been a core component of the education and training of every Baylor Law student. From the emphasis on service during the first day of orientation through our rigorous third-year, six-month, required Practice Court program, Baylor Law faculty strive to develop individuals who will be prepared for the challenges of the legal profession. While leadership training is part of the fabric of Baylor Law, the Leadership Development Program was created to: (1) more intentionally equip our graduates with the leadership skills they will need to be successful in an increasingly-complex and ever-changing environment; and (2) emphasize their obligation to serve and encourage them to seek opportunities to use their legal training in leadership roles across a wide spectrum of organizations within their communities and within the legal profession.

The Leadership Development Program has four major components: (1) an elective Leadership Development course; (2) a variety of leadership development programs offered throughout the year; (3) a student organization call Leadership and Engagement Development (LEAD) Counsel; and (4) a Leadership Fellow designation at graduation for a select few students who complete the requirements listed in section 4 below.

Elective Leadership Development Course

Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) course is a two-credit hour course created to better prepare students for the professional challenges they will face in the practice of law and the leadership opportunities they will encounter as they actively engage in their communities. Topics include leadership styles and strategies, personality assessments, public service and professional responsibilities, leadership opportunities for lawyers, working in teams, and leadership in law firms. Students complete several self-assessment and formation tools to address their strengths and weaknesses. Through introspective tools and other team-building exercises students address leadership challenges, ethical quandaries, and tactical decision-making techniques. Using case studies, students discuss leadership lessons learned by experienced leaders through challenging circumstances.The primary book used is Deborah Rhode’s Lawyers as Leaders. It is well written and covers leadership from a lawyer’s perspective. We supplement this reading with recent news articles, journal articles, lawyer organization articles, and experiential exercises. Although not written for a lawyer audience, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge, written by Clay Scroggins, is referenced throughout the course as an optional book. The practical tips and common scenarios discussed in this book are appealing to young professionals struggling to figure out how they can be leaders. Both books include thought-provoking discussions and reinforce the premise that leadership is a frame of mind and not a position.

The course is pass/fail with an emphasis on active and experiential learning, writing, feedback and reflection. Each student writes a review of a leadership book and presents their plan for implementing one or more of the ideas in their own leadership journey. After each class, students respond in their journals to assigned prompts, which are based upon class materials or discussions. The journals are kept online in Box files created for each student, which also allows us access. By reading their entries as the term proceeds, we are able to monitor their progress and adapt our coverage and discussions based upon their reflections on the exercises, activities, guest lectures and assignments. Here are a few examples of journal entries from the class:The course is pass/fail with an emphasis on active and experiential learning, writing, feedback and reflection. Each student writes a review of a leadership book and presents their plan for implementing one or more of the ideas in their own leadership journey. After each class, students respond in their journals to assigned prompts, which are based upon class materials or discussions. The journals are kept online in Box files created for each student, which also allows us access. By reading their entries as the term proceeds, we are able to monitor their progress and adapt our coverage and discussions based upon their reflections on the exercises, activities, guest lectures and assignments. Here are a few examples of journal entries from the class:

  • Whenever we started the class, I found myself always wondering in what context I would apply all of the leadership principles we were learning. However, I have realized that I can apply the lessons that we have learned in my future job, as my personal life, and in the future leadership roles I will hold even though I’m not sure what they will be. I think once I quit focusing on which capacity I could apply these leadership principles in it help me just listen and learn the principles themselves, and hear how other successful people implemented them in their own lives. I do think self-awareness of my own leadership style is important but more importantly I think that I have become more aware of how others operate.
  • After taking time to think about this, I kept coming back to the thought that leadership is a much deeper and wider topic than I ever suspected or realized. There are so many facets to learning about leadership and I feel like our class is only scratching the surface (of course, which is its intent). Another thought I kept coming back to is the idea that we all have different natural leadership styles and we can work to develop the styles that don’t necessarily come as naturally to us as well as refine the styles that are more natural. I guess before this class and before really looking at leadership as a topic to study, I just presumed that we did not have the power to change that, but I’m glad I have now learned otherwise.
  • I want to be more intentional about encouraging people in my life. I need to work on get out of my own head, and taking the time to connect with other students more. Additionally, I tend to be very hard on myself. I need to encourage myself more. I think a way to do this is to take time reflecting on things I did well on a particular day. The challenge course taught me that I need to live life with intention. Whatever it is that I am doing, I need to know what I am trying to achieve. As [one speaker] said, “do you know your job? Are you sure?” I want to be more intentional about defining what it is exactly that I need to do and how I will do it. By breaking tasks down to more manageable pieces will make those bigger, long-term goals more achievable.
    I honestly think this class helped remind me of who I am/ who I want to be. It helped me to regain some confidence in my identity. Helped me recognize some of my personal strengths and given me tools on how to improve other aspects of my life.
  • I think this class has helped me learn about different ways I can make a difference. This school discusses a lot about service. I have always viewed service leadership as doing “hands-on” activities with those in need. We have met a lot of different speaks and learned a lot more about both of you. I think the numerous lessons in this class have helped me truly learn what it means to be a part of service leadership.
    I think this class provided us with a more in-depth look at HOW leaders effectuate their leadership. We always hear about so many leaders who talk about what an effective leader is: selfless, caring, affiliative, etc. There are very few classes, courses, or lectures, that focus on HOW be a leader. We discuss that extensively in this class!

The LEAD class has been an incredible experience for both of us. Not only have we learned more about our students (even the ones we thought we knew well!), but we have also learned a great deal about ourselves. It is wonderful to watch our students grow during the process, and we love hearing stories after they graduate. For anyone that would like to see the syllabus, you can access it here:

Leadership Development Sessions of the Professional Development Program

Leadership development programming is a regular component of Baylor Law’s first-of-its-kind, required Professional Development Program. Throughout their three academic years at Baylor Law, students must attend 18 hours of professional development programming that is designed to build the requisite skills to succeed in practice, while helping students understand and embrace the professional responsibilities that accompany it. The Leadership Development Program co-hosts at least one of the programs offered each academic term. Speakers for the leadership development programs are invited to address a variety of topics that help students identify their strengths, explore their interests, develop their career plan and connect with leaders. Speakers address professional competencies that enable students to step into complex situations, confidently assess the issues, think pragmatically, work creatively, operate collaboratively and deliver solutions. Students are exposed to leadership opportunities in a focused, intentional way which often produces “light-bulb moments.” By attending these sessions, students discover additional ways to use one’s legal skills and position of influence to impact lives, lead change and add significance to efforts.

LEAD Counsel Student Organization

Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) Counsel is a Baylor Law student organization organized to further the purposes of the Leadership Development Program. The LEAD Counsel mission is to equip and inspire law students to serve in the public arena, whether that be as officeholders, lobbyists, or leaders in the non-profit sector. Each year LEAD Counsel organizes an annual conference, call Making a Difference (MAD) Conference, for the purpose of engaging and inspiring law students and members of the legal profession to get involved in public life. Invited speakers are lawyers who serve and lead within their communities. Here are links to the first two MAD conferences: 2017 Inaugural Making a Difference Conference ; 2018 Passion for Justice. An annual service effortorganized in partnership with local civic leaders give Baylor Law students the opportunity to make a difference while in law school. LEAD Counsel also organizes other events such as a Seminar on Combating Human Trafficking.

Designation as Leadership Fellow

Many students enter law school with the desire to pursue leadership opportunities. We created a Leadership Fellowship designation to acknowledge the dedication of those few who are intentional during law school in seeking opportunities to become better equipped for those leadership opportunities. At graduation, these students are recognized for their commitment to using their law degree to serve not only their clients but also their communities to make a meaningful difference in society. Successful completion of the following requirements leads to a certificate and recognition at graduation as a Leadership Fellow.

  1. Take the two-hour Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) class. With a maximum enrollment of twenty, priority is given to students participating in the Development Program;
  2. Complete a personal development and team-building course, such as a Ropes Challenge Course which is currently required as part of the LEAD courses;
  3. Complete twenty-three hours of Professional Development programming (instead of the 18 hours required of all Baylor Law students) with at least five hours designated as Leadership Development programming;
  4. Serve as an officer of a Baylor Law student organization for a minimum of three quarters. While serving as an officer, the student must perform a minimum of 25 hours of service related to the activities of the organization;
  5. Complete 25 hours of community service; and
  6. Serve as an intern for a charitable or community organization’s director or management team, working a minimum of 45 hours. Alternatively, a student can work as an extern for a legislator (either state or federal level) for a minimum of 45 hours.

Through the Leadership Development Program, we seek to challenge our students to care about the well-being of those around them, to provide opportunities for our students to hone their professional competencies and to engage in a process of self-discovery and growth, and to encourage our students to pursue opportunities to serve the legal profession and their communities. By doing so, our desire is that we create servant leaders in all Baylor Lawyers.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact us: Leah_Teague@Baylor.edu or Stephen_Rispoli@Baylor.edu.