AALS Annual Meeting

The program will address the key issues of engaging students and young lawyers in developing their leadership skills and attributes, including leading teams, managing crises, and innovating change. The program examines how faculty can engage their students in learning how to be lawyer-leaders and thereby assists law faculty in learning how to engage their students in personal and professional development. The program builds on the notion that leadership education has been shown to advance the critical skills, professional values, and competencies of lawyers, as well as their development as influential professional and community leaders. 

  • Garry W. Jenkins, University of Minnesota Law School 
  • Douglas A. Blaze, University of Tennessee College of Law 
  • Hillary A. Sale, Georgetown University Law Center 
  • Mitchell Zuklie, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 


Just as the newsletter was going to “press,” we all began to face the personal and professional challenges arising from COVID-19.  I hope everyone is healthy, safe, and successfully navigating educational distancing. 

Everyone is adjusting as necessary, including Leah Teague and Baylor Law.  The terrific conference planned for last month, and mentioned below, is being rescheduled to the fall.  Stay tuned for more information and please plan to attend.  It will provide a great opportunity for all of us to catch up and share our experiences.

Crises like these present powerful leadership lessons for all of us.  I encourage everyone to share teaching ideas and experiences through the section listserv.   I have received lots of great suggestions from members of the section about specific teaching challenges, like how to replace experiential field placement opportunities when the placements close. 

We are all in this together.  Stay safe and good luck!

The second year of our Leadership Section was a tremendous success!  While a lot of people contributed significantly over the past year, special thanks are due to the section chair, Leah Jackson Teague, and Deborah Rhode, the immediate past chair.  Without their vision, leadership, and hand work, there wouldn’t be a Leadership Section.

By all accounts, the section program at the annual meeting was inspiring and thought-provoking – and in the top ten of program attendance.  Everyone I have talked to spoke very highly about the remarks of the panel members, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez, Judge Robert Wilkins of the DC Circuit, and LSC President Jim Sandman, and the moderator Dean Martha Minnow.  (While I was sorry to miss it, I am pleased to report that leadership training has a firm foothold at the University of Queensland law school in Brisbane). Fortunately, the audio recordings and transcript of the program are available in this newsletter.  Thanks to Stephen Rispoli and the folks at Baylor for making that possible.

I hope everyone is aware of the upcoming Vision for Leadership Conference hosted by Baylor Law School, March 26 and 27 in Waco, Texas. Leah Teague and her team have put together a wonderful conference.  As you will see from the schedule, the program includes prominent leaders from the legal profession, legal education, the judiciary, and politics.  I encourage everyone to consider attending.

The Baylor symposium will be the fourth in a series of successful leadership conferences – Hofstra, Tennessee, and Santa Clara – since our section was approved.  Be sure to check out the article in this issue by Ellen Yaroshefsky about the Hofstra Leading Through Difference Conference. 

Over 85 law schools now have leadership courses or programs.  Kate Barton highlights one of them, the Konduros Leadership Development Program at the University of South Carolina, in this issue.    Section membership is now over 250.  You have a committed, enthusiastic group of people serving on the Executive Committee.  We all look forward to working with you over the next year to maintain the momentum.

Under the leadership of Don Polden, plans are being developed for the Section Program at the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  The theme for the meeting is “The Power of Words.”  If you have suggestions, I encourage you to contact me, Don, or any other member of the Executive Committee.

We could also use your help on another issue.  We have yet to find a simple, accessible, and organized method to share course materials, syllabi, and program information with each other.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know. 

Thanks to all of you for your interest, energy, and effort.  Your work matters.  You are making a difference in the personal and professional lives of our students.   You are helping to advance our understanding of leadership and leadership development.  You are having a very positive impact on the future of our schools, our profession, and our country.

Thanks.  I look forward to working with all of you.



Report from the AALS Annual Meeting

By Leah Teague, Immediate Past Chair

For the second year (of our 2 years in existence) our program was in the top 10 in terms of attendance for section programs! That should tell us that we are on the right track! We are excited about the growing recognition that law schools need to do a better job of equipping our students for the leadership roles we know they will assume as lawyers. In my opening remarks, I expressed my appreciation to Martin Brinkley, Dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law, for the way he framed our work. During our section breakfast meeting that morning, Dean Brinkley asked “Why are we not looking at this issue as a gap in legal education that must be filled?” We agreed that we all should.

Learning from Lawyer-Leaders Throughout the Profession

For those who were not able to attend the annual AALS meeting in Washington, D.C., you missed a great program, “Learning from Lawyer-Leaders throughout the Profession.” Our program was cosponsored by Professional Responsibility and Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities sections. We were encouraged by the many new faces in attendance.

Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor and former dean, Harvard Law School, moderated an all-star panel of lawyer-leaders: Judy Perry Martinez, President, American Bar Association, the Hon. Robert L. Wilkins, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and James J. Sandman, President, Legal Services Corporation.

Professor Minow began by asking each panelist to share their journey to leadership. She described hers as “accidental leadership.” None of our panelists had a grand plan for leadership early in their career and yet each has honorable served in influential leadership roles. All agreed they learned helpful skills such as analytical and advocacy skills in law school. As Judy Perry Martinez observed, we teach students about “gathering information, listening earnestly and then acting, taking action.” Judge Wilkins added he was inspired by professors who cared about “the world and big ideas.” Martinez was motivated in law school by stories of lawyers “making an impact,” and lawyers taking on cases to change laws and pursue reforms and “push for change” to help people without voice or resources to do so on their own. Jim Sandman shared that in retrospect he realizes now that his “first training and experience in leadership” came in law school through his work as executive editor of his law review and “[n]ot through the curriculum.” Judy Perry Martinez added that there also are “disabling aspects of law school, particularly when it comes to collaboration, when it comes to self-awareness and when it comes to taking a sense of initiative, risk taking. We cultivate belt and suspenders approaches to life, rather than be on the edge.”

Our own development as a leader is certainly a life-long pursuit, but how much better will it be when our law students have a head start that none of us did?

You can listen to the the audio recordings at or read the transcript of the session at https://baylor.box.com/s/pwbmlz4xzilz20jb900zkxwy7nx7d198

The transcripts include timestamps and speaker names. They were created to allow you to quickly read through the panel discussions. Please note: the transcripts were created using third-party technology and may contain transcription errors. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Here are some additional gems of insight from the session:

From Martha Minow: “there’s a wonderful essay that compares the use of the case method in different professional schools, and argues that medical schools historically use it to develop diagnostic skills. Law schools, analysis involves taking problems apart. Policy schools, generating options, imagining writing memos for somebody who’s going to make a decision. Business schools, the best version of it is judgment, the other version of it is just making a decision and never looking back. When I read this, I thought my goodness, we each have to do all of those things, so why do we sort it out across all those different schools? We all need to do all of those things.”

From Jim Sandman: “There was nothing in my law school curriculum that touched leadership at all. I don’t recall the word having been spoken. My impression is the legal education has changed a lot… But my sense also is that it’s still an entirely optional basis. That there are still huge numbers of law students who complete their formal legal education without having touched training in leadership. I think we need to do something…. I think knowing how to lead is as important a lawyering skill as learning how to think like a lawyer. It’s critical to your effectiveness in persuading people,  … you could be the greatest analyst but if you can’t communicate your analysis in terms that others can understand, you can’t persuade people of the value… Other things that I think are important, how to build a consensus, how to motivate others, how to listen, how to ask good questions…. How to work with a team… How to get asked to lead, how to be asked to raise your hand… Those are some of the universal skills that I think are part of leadership that can and should be taught in law, and not on an optional basis.”

From Judge Robert Wilkins: “I’m not sure what the answer is or what law schools can do about it but it just seems to me that there are a lot of people who come to law school with big ideas, maybe law schools could do more about trying to help you think about how they can achieve those goals that they put in those personal statements. But then there’s the world and there’s the reality of making a living and all of that…”

In response to Judge Wilkins observation, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez offered, “This answer or this suggestion may come as no surprise to those of you who know the work of the ABA, who know the opportunities of the organized bar in general at any level, but I think the perfect, perfect solution there and the opportunity there is to encourage engagement of your law students from the very get go in the organized bar. I would love it to be the American Bar Association, and I will tell you I will make that happen for any of you in this room, or any of your students who want to engage but it doesn’t have to be because it can be the local, the state, the specialty bar, any way that they want to engage. But that’s where you find passion. That’s where you find hope. That’s where you hone leadership skills. That is where you feel needed. That is where you feel you’re making a difference when you’re contributing an hour a month or 10 hours a week.”

Professor Minow then mentioned a student film project as part of one of her classes in which she encouraged her students to advocate for a cause about which they are passionate. I looked up the project and encourage you to do the same. The 5 films are available on the Boston Globe website at https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/18/opinion/legal-lens-home/. Here is the description: “The films address the recent elimination of Temporary Protective Status for longtime immigrants raising their American-born children in the United States; displacement of working-class families due to economic development in a harbor-front community; challenges navigating work and home due to historic treatments of pregnancy and parenting; threats to a residential neighborhood posed by flooding risks at an oil and gas facility; and challenges returning home for a military veteran with untreated trauma and a criminal conviction.” These are great examples of opportunities for law students and lawyers to get involved to make a difference.

Our esteemed panel also discussed “how to lead in a crisis” and “intergenerational leadership. What does it mean, what does it require, what does it entail to lead organizations and groups of people, or people that are coming from different generations?” In answering questions from the audience, they touched on helping our students understand “servant leadership,” “leading from the middle,” and how to be effective by adding value and “building relationships and credibility.” Also shared were stories of satisfaction, fulfillment and sense of purpose that come from helping others by using our legal skills through pro bono and public service work.

Their conversation was insightful, motivational and encouraging for our future. I encourage you to read the transcript or listen to the audio. Special thanks to Martha Minow, Lee Fisher, Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and Buck Lewis, shareholder Baker, Donelson, for putting together our fabulous program!

Whole-Building” Approach to Leadership Development of Law Students

Following our panel was a presentation chosen from our call for papers and delivered by Thomas Sneed, Associate Professor & Director of the Law Library, Washburn University School of Law. His presentation was the first in what will be an annual segment of our section program which will be known as the “Whole-Building” Approach to Leadership Development of Law Students.” Each year, we will issue a call for papers that highlights varies roles that divisions and departments of the law schools can play in the leadership development of our students. We will showcase how leadership development programming can be integrated throughout students’ law school experience. In the first of these presentations Professor Sneed encouraged us all to involves our librarians to help build our leadership development programs. He has an upcoming article in the UMKC Law Review.

Co-sponsored programs

During the annual meeting we also co-sponsored three other section programs:

  • AALS Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession, “An Empirical Look: How Well Are We Preparing Law Students to Become Ethical Leaders Who Serve Others.”
  • Women in Legal Education Section, “Teaching Law in a #MeToo World.”
  • Pro-Bono & Public Service Opportunities Section, “Pro Bono and Public Service: Pillars of Democracy and the Legal Profession,” also co-sponsored by Empirical Study of the Law & Legal Education

Several of us also attended the program hosted by Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, entitled “Cultivating the Hard Skills of the Whole Lawyer: Lawyers as Leaders.” The panel was moderated by Lee Fisher, Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker Chair in Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Dean Fisher and his team did an excellent job of making the case for leadership development in law school while showcasing the program at Cleveland-Marshall.


Leading Differently Across Differences Conference

On November 8, 2019 more than 250 lawyers, academics, deans, judges and public service professionals gathered for a day long interactive conference at the Bar of the Association of the City of New York to explore why it is so difficult to diversify the legal profession. The conference challenge was “Why don’t we do better in leadership around equity and inclusion?”

Organized by the Freedman Institute for Legal Ethics at the Maurice A Deane School of Law, it was cosponsored by the AALS Leadership Section, seven New York area law schools, the New York State Unified Court System, several prominent national law firms and private sponsors. The planning committee included the AALS Leadership Section executive committee whose members are national figures in leadership training.

The conference asked and sought to provide answers to: How do we promote leadership training in law schools in a more inclusive and forward-thinking manner? How does the profession and the academy confront the need to develop cultural competence, deal with gender, race, and other identities affecting full participation, and address generational differences? Why have we not done better in equity and inclusion? The conference acknowledged that legal profession and law schools exist in a time of profound changes in the culture and in lawyering across various fields and it behooves us to do better.

The introduction by conference organizer, Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky, noted that we do not even have a common language and framework to discuss these difficulty issues. We are communities of many identities and relationships to power. We can be privileged in one environment but excluded in another. The notion of who is an insider and who is an outsider is relative depending on the environment in which one finds oneself. We need to change ourselves, our colleagues and our institutions. This conference of intense and engaging discussions attempted to begin that process.

NYU Professor Tony Thompson’s introductory keynote was a provocative presentation that addressed why leadership training is necessary and what it means in a diverse world. He challenged us to make diversity, equity and inclusion the center of leadership training. How do we do it?

Professors Susan Sturm and Akilah Folami then engaged in a conversation that began to explore this question. They noted that we need to begin to navigating a set of tensions as part of both lawyer-leadership development generally and building the capacity to navigate across difference. Law may be reactive, but leadership is proactive. Lawyers learn to be risk averse, but leadership requires risk-taking. These tensions, among others in legal training, present profound challenges and we sought to begin to drill down to identify skills and competencies necessary to enable the next generation to confront these challenges.

The conference explored these issues through interactive panels and presentations about law practice, and the legal academy. The academic panel with Deans Angela Omwuachi-Willig of Boston University School of Law, Dean Song Richardson of the University of California, Vice Dean Ann Cammett and Dean of Admissions Degna Levister, both of CUNY Law School and Professor Susan Jones of George Washington Law School provided concrete ideas to diversify law schools. Among the suggestions was to change the pipeline into law school by reexamining admission criteria. Law schools should start relying heavily on applicants’ past history demonstrating emotional intelligence, grit, perseverance and other factors instead of the LSAT and grades main paradigm. Consider more than standard measures of success. Other concrete suggestions included changing syllabi and exercises to incorporate methods of learning beyond casebooks; to change the 1L curriculum to reflect a more diverse culture; create spaces to confront unfairness entrenched in the law; talk about and normalize experiences of failure to relieve pressure on students; create effective mentorships; reduce costs whenever possible by considering use of older casebooks and online readings; and provide implicit bias trainings for all students and faculty alike on an ongoing basis. Overall, on this panel and the others throughout the day, there was agreement that one day diversity trainings are insufficient. Race and gender needs to be included in every conversation, particularly ones around leadership training.

The panel entitled Leadership on Cross Cultural Competencies: Race and Ethnicity, drilled down into particular competencies necessary for effective leadership including experiences of growth by “learning to be uncomfortable” in exploring race and ethnicity. The remarkable panelists from the bench, bar and academy challenged the audience to have frank and difficult conversations, to start reframing issues when discussing diversity with white colleagues, to recognize that race and gender are difficult topics, and that cultural change comes via short term shifts. Judge Julie Bernard of the Massachusetts District Court described how she and others worked moved that court toward greater equity and inclusion by constant engagement, not a day long implicit bias training.

The Leadership and Gender panel began with Professor Sweetha Ballakrishnen exploring the issue of how we define gender followed by Professor Deborah Rhode discussing the structural impediments to the advancements of women in the profession. The engaging conversation among panelists including former federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, Aisha Greene, the director of attorney development at the Cadwalader firma and Cecilia Loving, the Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department who had remarkable success in diversifying the fire department.

The unique panel that ended the day was Leadership Across Generations. Listening to the perspectives of millennials, Gen X and Gen Z pointed to the critical need to address cultural differences among generations including issues such as work-life balance, work direction, mindfulness and most significantly, coping with student debt. These lawyers and law students who are future of this profession challenged the audience to change and to acknowledge incorporations of new voices in leadership.

The excitement in the room throughout the day was palpable and there is an acknowledged need to continue these conversations and develop concrete plans to move forward. This includes developing resource materials for law schools, ongoing conferences and programs and vehicles for effective communication.

Many have asked if the conference was recorded. It was not because the panelists wanted the opportunity to speak freely.

The following reading includes books and articles on leadership, diversity in the profession, race and ethnicity in the training of lawyers, gender and the legal profession and students as leaders and is first step to accomplishing this goal.


  • Anthony C. Thompson, Dangerous Leaders: How and Why Lawyers Must Be Taught to Lead (2018)
  • Deborah Rhode, Lawyers as Leaders (2013)
  • Stacey Abrams, Lead From the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change (2019)


  1. Donald Polden, Lawyers, Leadership, and Innovation, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 427 (2019)
  2. Barry Z. Posner, Leadership Development in Law Schools: Myths, Principles, and Practices, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 399 (2019)
  3. Deborah L. Rhode, Preparing Leaders: The Evolution of a Field and the Stresses of Leadership, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 411 (2019)
  4. Rachel F. Moran, The Three Ages of Modern American Lawyering and the Current Crisis in the Legal Profession and Legal Education, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 453 (2019)
  5. R. Lisle Baker, Character and Fitness for Leadership: Learning Interpersonal Skills, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 525 (2019)
  6. Douglas A. Blaze, Law Student Motivation, Satisfaction, and Well-Being: The Value of a Leadership and Professional Development Curriculum, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 547 (2019)
  7. Neil Hamilton, Leadership of Self: Each Student Taking Ownership Over Continuous Professional Development/Self-Directed Learning, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 567 (2019)
  8. Louis D. Bilionis, Law School Leadership and Leadership Development for Developing Lawyers, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 601 (2019)
  9. Leah Witcher Jackson Teague, Training Lawyers for Leadership: Vitally Important Mission for the Future Success (And Maybe Survival) of the Legal Profession and Our Democracy, 58 Santa Clara L. Rev. 633 (2019)





  • Deborah Rhode, Women and Leadership (2013)



These materials can be accessed at:



Konduros Leadership Development Program – University of South Carolina School of Law

For this edition of the leadership program spotlight, we will focus on the Konduros Leadership Development Program at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Now in its fifth year, the Konduros Leadership Development Program was created following a gift from Jim Konduros, a 1954 alumnus of the law school with a distinguished career in both law and state government.  The program starts with an application process in the fall, followed by a series of leadership sessions occurring in the spring.  For 2020, the program extends from January to March and features eleven sessions covering topics such as handling a crisis, ethical leadership, and emotional intelligence.   

Jan Baker, Assistant Director of Legal Writing at the law school, directs the Konduros Program.  Baker reports that applications for this year’s leadership class exceeded the number of applications from prior years.  From nearly forty applicants, sixteen students were selected to participate this year.  “We look for well-rounded students,” Baker noted.  “We were interested in seating a diverse class that included a good mix of second and third-year students.  It was important to us to bring students to the table who have different back stories.  Their diverse backgrounds, academic interests, life experiences, and personalities have made this year’s leadership class exceptional in every respect.”

The Leadership Program is organized into weekly sessions.  Each week, students meet with attorneys and other community leaders to discuss different leadership principles.  Students begin with a communications workshop that teaches them how to communicate complex material and difficult subjects to varied audiences.  Students also work on a case study involving a law firm crisis in which the students take on the roles of the partners in the firm and work to figure out how they will respond to the crisis to make sure their practice, their clients, and their employees weather the storm. 

Over the course of the program, students engage in a number of personal assessments.  So far, they have completed a True Colors Assessment, a Team Player Assessment, and a Workplace Leadership Assessment.  Baker described the assessment process as both revealing and entertaining:  “It has been entertaining to watch the students process their assessment results – some of them have been quite surprised when their assessment results reveal positive leadership-oriented attributes that they did not self-identify.”

The capstone project for the Leadership Program is a leadership initiative project.  In their first meeting, students are organized into small groups based on their True Colors Assessment.  Each group is responsible for identifying a local societal problem, working to create a plan to resolve the problem, and presenting their project results at the conclusion of the program in March.  This year, students will be working with local agencies to distribute resource packets to the city’s homeless population, organizing a lending closet for law students who need to borrow professional attire for job interviews, working with the law school’s Pro Bono Program to catalog legal resources for rural communities, and working to create a partnership between non-profits and state agencies to repurpose building materials to be used in skills training programs in juvenile detention facilities.  

“I can’t say enough good things about these students,” Baker said.  “The Leadership Program is not offered for academic credit – these students volunteer to participate in this semester-long program because they are interested in readying themselves for service and leadership.  Their dedication is both impressive and inspiring.  I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in their careers and in their communities.”

For more information on the Konduros Leadership Development Program and the 2020 Program, visit the following:




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 lssse@indiana.edu. You will receive log-in instructions once you are signed up.


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.


Newsletter Message
July 2019

By Leah Teague, Baylor Law

We hope you all had a productive spring term and are in the middle of exciting and fun summer plans before turning your attention to the fall. Thank you for staying in touch with us!

In this newsletter are highlights from the inspiring and informative conference at University of Tennessee. Our heart-felt thanks again to Doug Blaze and his gracious team for their superb job of hosting!

Other news we wanted to share with you:                                .

  • A Call for Papers and Program Announcements for the 2020 AALS Annual meeting
  • Invitation to Leading Differently Through Difference Conference at Hofstra University
  • Follow-up Articles from the Conference at the University of Tennessee

I want to pick up on something that Dean Blaze said in the closing session of the UT leadership conference as he and Deborah Rhode recounted some recurring themes. “This conference was preaching to the choir,” he said. He was right! He encouraged us to work together to expand our numbers and our influence. Again, he was right! And we should do so, but not just for our own gratification or because we think teaching “soft skills” to the millennials and Gen Z students is more necessary than it was for previous generations. The legal profession needs all of us in legal education to better prepare our students for the challenges they will face as they enter the workforce. We know leadership development programming does that.

Even more important than the need to better equip our graduates for their own success after graduation is the need to help them understand and embrace our obligation as lawyers to serve society. Our students need to know that their professional obligation does not end with their clients.  From the Preamble of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, “A lawyer is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice… Lawyers play a vital role in the preservation of society.” Leadership training can instill in our students a sense of obligation to serve and opportunity to make a difference.

Also discussed during the conference was the need to establish a “whole building” approach to leadership development with everyone playing a role – from deans and tenured faculty to clinicians and professional staff. To make that a reality, we need to help our colleagues see not only the value to our students and the profession but also to our nation. Most will readily agree that society is in desperate need of more leaders who are trained in analyzing complex issues, problem solving, civil discourse, conflict resolution, active listening and negotiation. We, of course, need to make sure our students not only have those skills but also are committed to establishing their reputations built on integrity, competency and diligence. Our country needs us.

Our students come to us we the desire to use their legal training and law degree for good – to make a difference. Law schools need to feed that desire, not kill it and replace it with a purview of lawyers as hired guns driven by profit to commoditize legal services. Don’t get me wrong – we need to help our students to be successful financially in order to pay off those large student debts. However, we know from Professor Larry Kreiger’s work that lawyers’ happiness and well-being are not the result of external success factors (money, position) but rather from internal factors such as a sense of purpose and human connection.  

We have the opportunity to impact the future success and well-being of our students by being more intentional about developing them as leaders. We have an obligation to insure our graduates recognize the legal profession’s duty as guardians of our system of democracy. We have the opportunity to help our profession navigate the transition from the role lawyers played in society during the last two decades to what our role will be in the next.

Returning to themes of the UT leadership conference, we need to collaborate more, to inspire innovation and to support one another through the ups and downs of this effort to firmly establish leadership development as a fundamental aspect of legal education. Together we are building the foundation for leadership development for law students and lawyers.

Our country IS experiencing a leadership gap. We should be the profession to help fill it! Our students want to be part of the solution. Let’s provide the skills, knowledge and resources for them to do so.

Please join us by sharing with us your new courses, programs and other activities, by sending us other ideas for activities for the section, and by attending the next gatherings:

November 8, 2019 • Hofstra Law • New York, NY  

January 2-5, 2020 • AALS Annual Meeting • Washington, D.C.

March 26, 2020 • Baylor Law • Waco, TX

Have a great summer!

All the best,
– Leah Teague


AALS Annual Meeting 2020

AALS Section on Leadership Meeting

Learning from Lawyer-Leaders Throughout the Profession • Fri. Jan. 3, 2020, @ 1:30pm

As more and more law students and lawyers find themselves holding positions other than in law firms, law schools must prepare our students for a wide variety of leadership roles they might play in both the public and private sector. Lawyers, through their legal education and training, are especially needed to lead in these challenging times. The 2020 Section on Leadership’s program will feature conversations with lawyers who serve in a variety of roles, including government, public interest, judiciary and professional associations. The panel will discuss the need for law schools to better equip law students for the challenges they will face as leaders in an ever-increasingly complex and challenging world.

Scheduled panelists:

  1. Hon. Cheri Beasley, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of North Carolina
  2. Judy Perry Martinez, President, American Bar Association
  3. Anthony Thompson, Professor of Clinical Law, NYU School of Law and author, “Dangerous Leaders: How & Why Lawyers Must be Taught to Lead”

The Section on Leadership is pleased to announce a Call for Papers from which one additional presenter will be selected for the section’s program, “Learning from Lawyer-Leaders Throughout the Profession,” to be held during the AALS 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington on Friday, January 3, 2020 at 1:30pm.

For more information and to submit, view the Call for Papershere.

Programs Co-Sponsored by the AALS Section on Leadership

Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities Section • Sat. Jan. 4, 2020, @ 8:30am

This all-star panel will discuss the funding issues facing organizations such as the Legal Services Corporation and state Access to Justice Commissions, how this impacts pro bono and access to justice issues, how pro bono is effective at closing the access to justice gap, and what law schools can be doing to help. 

Scheduled panelists:

  1. Betty Balli Torres, Executive Director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  2. David Bienvenu, Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service
  3. Darcy Meals, Assistant Director of Center for Access to Justice at Georgia State University College of Law
  4. Jim Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation

This panel will be moderated by Baylor Law’s Assistant Dean Stephen Rispoli, recipient of the State Bar of Texas 2019 Pro Bono Coordinator Award.

Pro Bono and Public Service: Pillars of Democracy and the Legal Profession

Lawyers have an obligation to uphold the rule of law and be the guardians of our legal system and society. Pro bono and public service are essential elements to the profession remaining a profession – helping those who cannot help themselves. These historical roles of the lawyer have been critical in protecting our society through cases for individual clients, serving as advisors for non-profit organizations, or serving in public office. Moreover, this service is not just good for clients and society, it is also good for the lawyer doing it.

However, these traditional roles face modern challenges. This session will discuss funding issues that the Legal Services Corporation and state Access to Justice Commissions face, how defunding them may affect pro bono around the country, and how legal education can help. Finally, this session will provide some practical tips and sample programs that attendees can implement at their home schools.

AALS Section on the Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession: An Empirical Look: How Well Are We Preparing Law Students to Become Ethical Leaders Who Serve Others • Thurs., Jan. 2, 2020 @ 2pm

This panel will feature research conducted on the ways in which law schools provide law students with skills and competencies, and encourage values that are central to leadership, public service, ethical conduct, and fulfilling responsibilities to others. Moreover, we envision that the panel will discuss newly emerging empirical research, often building on prior efforts, which focuses on the interest of law students in public service when applying to law school, and the impact of experiences such as clinical training, and pro bono and public interest opportunities within law school, on the leadership and public service that legal professionals undertake within our communities. Finally, we will highlight work that informs our understanding of the changing nature of leadership roles undertaken by lawyers both in government and the private sector.