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Happy Holidays…

We wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to ‘seeing’ all of you at the
AALS Annual Meeting in January!


Sessions Sponsored or Co-Sponsored by the Section on Leadership:

Wed. January 5th – 12:35 – 1:50 PM ET – The Deborah Rhode Award Presentation

Wed. January 5th – 12:35 – 1:50 PM ET – Advancing Equality for Clinical Faculty of Color:
Recruitment, Retention, and Support

Wed. January 5th – 3:10 PM ‐ 4:25 PM ET – AALS Open Source Program: The Impact of Deborah Rhode

Fri. January 7th – 11:00 AM ‐ 12:15 PM ET – What Can Research Tell Us About How Law Schools, Lawyers, and
Leaders Can Nourish Democracy?

Fri. January 7th – 3:10 PM ‐ 4:25 PM ET – From Watergate to Insurrection: Fifty Years of Legal Ethics in the U.S.

Fri. January 7th – 4:45 PM ‐ 6:00 PM ET – Anti‐Racism and Clinic Design Choices

Sat. January 8th – 12:35 PM ‐ 1:50 ET – Prioritizing Public Service in Your Role as the Dean: Why it Matters

Sat. January 8th – 3:10 PM ‐ 4:25 ET – Leadership Education as a Component of Anti‐Racist Education in Law Schools

FROM THE TRAINING LAWYERS AS LEADERS TEAM


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Reflection: Essential Practice for Growth

By Leah Teague


What happens when we repeat the same behavior or action over and over again?

Nothing new! The outcome is the same.


We know that, and yet sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a rut and have to learn that lesson again. What are we missing? Adopting a regular practice of reflection can help us learn and move forward to make the difference we seek. Reflective practice, like Aristotle’s practical wisdom, is built on the process of assessing an experience for the purpose of learning from it.

Some law school programs, such as legal clinics, routinely incorporate reflective practice into their training. As Professors Jodi Balsam, Susan Brooks, and Margaret Reuter noted in Assessing Law Students as Reflective Practitioners:

Clinical law teachers widely view reflective practice as fundamental to effective lawyering and the professional identity formation of lawyers, including the pursuit of core values, social justice, and personal growth. Indeed, most professional disciplines, including those related to medicine, mental health, and teaching, recognize reflective practice as a core competency.

Reflective Practice: Thinking About the Way You Do Things offers a further explanation and this visual approach to a reflective practice:

For a more detailed explanation of the steps in a reflective practice, and a helpful worksheet for your use, go to Reflective-Practice-in-the-Workplace.pdf (duke.edu).

The end of any period (such as the end of fall classes or the end of 2021) is an ideal time to be thoughtful and reflective before embarking on your next round of activities and duties. The challenge is finding time in the busyness of life to put that into practice. We encourage you to set aside the time to reflect, analyze, and plan for your future.

Challenge for December:

  1. Pick one activity in your life you wish were better/stronger/different and set aside one hour to reflect, analyze and plan.
  2. Building upon our gratitude focus last month, December provides an ideal time to send a holiday message to one of your groups (students from your fall class, colleagues, family or friend group). Before sending the message, reflect on your relationship with that group and then write a message that feels most appropriate. Your message could be sharing your appreciation for that group because of the significant role they play in your life and then suggesting your next interaction with them. You might use the message as an opportunity to reach out to heal a past hurt or clear up a misunderstanding. The possibilities are many! The message should be whatever your think best after thoughtful contemplation about the relationship.

We wish you the Happiest of Holidays!

– LEAH

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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving

By Leah Teague


“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”

– Cicero


Some practice a Thanksgiving tradition in which they share something (or someone) for which they are thankful. As we focus on well-being and celebrate Thanksgiving next week, it seems fitting to focus on the benefits of practicing gratitude. Rather than relegating thankfulness or gratitude to once a year, studies show tremendous benefits to practicing gratitude as part of our daily routine.

A gratitude practice may be especially beneficial for students experiencing the stress of law school. Students naively believe that life will magically be better/easier after law school, but we know such is not the case. The practice of law, and life, can grind up and wear down the best of us. Gratitude positively effects the well-being of both the person showing appreciation and the receiver.

This week before Thanksgiving is a perfect time to encourage our students, as well as our colleagues and loved ones, to practice gratitude regularly and offer suggestions on incorporating a gratitude practice.

Benefits of Gratefulness

The value of a gratitude practice is well established. In The Secret to Happiness (Part 2) – Gratitude, a blog post for the Massachusetts Lawyer Assistance Program, Dr. Shawn Healy noted:

Gratitude helps you put things in perspective. Specifically, it helps prevent your view of your situation from becoming overly negative. We have a tendency to see our situations in reference to the predominate emotional evaluation we experience. In other words, if our day seems more than 50% negative, we experience our entire day as negative. Likewise, if our day seems more than 50% positive, we have a better chance of experiencing our day as positive. Since everyday has both positive and negative aspects, it all depends on what you focus on. A day with one significant negative event can taint the entire day if that negative event is the focus on our attention.

Gratitude has a physiologic effect on us, and the benefits can be demonstrated scientifically, as Travis Whitsitt noted in a recent blog post, The Value of A Gratitude Practice for Lawyers and Law Students (And Tips For Starting One):

The regular practice of gratitude has been shown to decrease the body’s stress response, which in turn boosts immune performance. Studies have suggested it lowers the risk of heart disease, and studies consistently demonstrate that it reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression while linking it to an overall improved mood. It can also improve relationships, both romantic and otherwise, with studies showing that partners who demonstrate gratitude toward each other experience improved happiness and relationship satisfaction. Studies also demonstrate that optimistic people suffer less from the negative effects of aging, and a gratitude practice has actually been shown to shift one’s outlook toward optimism when employed over time. In a profession rife with stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout, the above benefits sound pretty good to me.

Make the Easy Choice

From the repository of the “Pendleton Judicial Training Updates,” Retired Judge Pendleton from Minnesota reminds lawyers that we have an easy choice each day “between two possible daily mindsets:

1. A mindset where you are grateful for the opportunity to excel in a challenging field and happy just to be involved, or

2. A mindset of struggling and griping about every inch of gained ground, never satisfied with the outcome.

When you read those two choices, no one would consciously pick the second one. Yet when the bell rings and your day begins, many attorneys (and judges) allow themselves to revert to an adversarial mental state (choice #2). Besides the negative affect on the quality of your own life, a non-grateful daily attitude also has a profound impact on how you are perceived by others, including your friends and colleagues. Of course, most of you already know which local attorneys and judges fall into that second category. Don’t be one of them.”

Gratitude Exercise

We offer this gratitude exercise in Chapter 11 of the Teacher’s Manual for Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership:

Gratitude Wall

Gratitude exercises allow for reflection on influential people and the milestones they made possible. A gratitude wall will enable students to show their recognition in a public way. The instructions for this exercise are simple. Have the students take 1-3 post-it notes and write down one thing they are grateful for on the note. Then have the students or lawyers place the post-it notes on the wall of the classroom or meeting room or a large poster board.

A variation on the gratitude wall is gratitude cards. For these, pass out note cards and have them write down one thing they are grateful for on each card and review these cards every day. In a following class or meeting, discuss how this exercise impacted their daily lives.

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” -G.K. Chesterton

We wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

– LEAH

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Leadership Training Discussion on EdUp Legal


If you’re not already aware of Dean Patty Roberts’s fantastic Podcast, EdUp Legal, on the EdUp Experience Network, we hope you’ll add this Podcast to your listening queue. About once a week, Dean Roberts explores the opinions and prognostications of leaders in legal education regarding the future of legal training and considers the value proposition of law school.

Dean Roberts recently interviewed Professor Leah Teague. The duo, who share a commitment to preparing law students for their important roles as leaders in society, discussed Professor Teague’s work in fostering a national movement of intentional leadership development in law schools.

Dean Roberts’s Podcast can be found, here: https://lnns.co/kWUeRhMXJd8

And the episode with Prof. Teague, is here: https://lnns.co/kPC2NJqEbuO

Are there other legal training, law school, or other podcasts that legal educators should be listening to? Add your suggestions in the comments, below.

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Join Us This Thursday: Leadership Lessons from George Washington


VIRTUAL EVENT
THURSDAY, SEPT. 16, 2021 @ 4:30PM CDT

Baylor Law invites you to join us this Thursday as Talmage Boston interviews David O. Stewart about his latest book, George Washington – The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father, and they discuss the leadership lessons we can all learn from our first President. 

Stewart’s book has been described as an “outstanding biography” by the Wall Street Journal and was recently awarded the “History Prize” by the Society of the Cincinnati. (The Society of the Cincinnati was “founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army who served together in the American Revolution.” President Washington was a founding member and first president of the organization.)

Pleae RSVP at baylor.edu/law/EventRSVP. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Stephen Rispoli at 254.710.3927 or stephen_rispoli@baylor.edu.

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Can a lawyer’s emotional intelligence really be more predictive of success than IQ?

By Leah Teague


In a profession filled with high IQs, there is evidence that working on your emotional intelligence (or EI) can pay dividends in your professional and personal life.

The education and training in law schools traditionally focused almost exclusively on developing the cognitive ability to solve legal problems. Emotions were discouraged and even criticized as a sign of weakness. Research in more recent years confirms the relevance of emotions in decision-making and the benefit of well-managed emotions to career success and personal satisfaction.

The Yale researcher in the 1990s who coined the term Emotional Intelligence found that the most sophisticated information processing and decision-making occur when we employ not only cognitive ability but also emotion. For a brief history and explanation of Emotional Intelligence, please see the ABA article by Ronda Muir, Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers. She explains,

research has established that rational decision-making is impaired if the area of the brain relating to emotions is damaged or excised. It has now been scientifically demonstrated that the best analyses and decisions are made when we engage the emotions, as well as the intellect. For lawyers, the message is clearly that, in order to upgrade their performance, they should use the additional data available from their own and others’ emotions to enhance their cognitive skills.

In his best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reported research showing the traditional IQ test only accounts for 20% of a person’s success in life. “Psychologists have concluded that a portion of the missing factors lies in Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and others and to control our own emotions while empathizing with the emotions of others.

Law schools place a high value on intellect and cognitive ability and we are not wrong to do so. Lawyers as a group have higher than average IQ scores. Some assume the IQ is an accurate predictor of success after law school, and it is – but only to a point. Lawyers “exhibit high average IQ scores (in the 115-130 range), while at the same time scoring lower than the general population on Emotional Intelligence (85-95).” Emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success when IQ is similar, according to Ronda Muir, in “Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers.”

What is Emotional Intelligence?

As a general matter, emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own and others’ emotional state to relate and work well with others. One approach to EI is to consider four aspects:

  1. What a person knows about themselves (self-awareness);
  2. What a person does with this understanding of their emotions to control or guide their impulses (self-management or regulation);
  3. What a person knows about others (social awareness); and
  4. What a person does with the awareness of others to use that information to build relationships and work well with others (relationship management).

Enhancing one’s Emotional Intelligence takes commitment to developing emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills) through sustained practice, coaching, and feedback.

Our Challenge:

Spend time this month exploring emotional intelligence. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, start with:

Record Your Observation

Pick two different scenarios where you can observe a group without participating in the group. You also should be far enough away that you cannot hear what the individuals are saying to one another. Write down what actions you observe and what you think they mean. For example, if someone frowns, do you think that person is angry, is sad, disagreed with another person, or something else? Was the emotion directed at another person in the group or someone who you do not think was present? Spend at least ten minutes observing each group.

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Back to School, Back to Advocating that Leadership Development Programming is Valuable!

By Leah Teague


On top of the traditional busyness that comes with starting a new academic year, we know many face difficulties during these challenging times. To all of you, we send you our heartfelt greetings and best wishes!

As you resume your work preparing law students to be problem-solvers and influencers, please continue your efforts to increase leadership development activities at your school. For August, we challenge you to try the following:

For readers in the legal academy: Help at least two colleagues find ways to incorporate leadership development in their classes, programs, or other work within the school. Offer specific, concrete ideas or exercises to facilitate their efforts.

For readers who do not hold a full-time position in a law school: Inquire about leadership programming at your alma mater or one with which you have a relationship and offer to help. Feel free to use some of the modules and examples from Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership for a guest lecture, a CLE offering, or a professional development program.

We believe leadership development is helpful and essential, and leadership programs are gaining traction nationally. Please note that the ABA has proposed amendments to the ABA Standard on Legal Education which impact lawyer leadership. Three important topics may become mandatory for law schools, and they are fundamental topics in well-developed leadership programs. The proposed amendments to Standards 206, 303, and 508 will be voted on at the February 2022 meeting of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. If adopted, the following topics will be required in legal education:

  • Diversity and inclusion, (now specifically including bias and cross-cultural competency);
  • professional identity including lawyers’ special obligations to clients and society (which includes topics such as ethics, influence, and leadership); and
  • student well-being.

In our opinion, these three concepts must be addressed in leadership development courses or programs as they enrich any study of leadership. Deborah Rhode’s inclusion of these concepts in the Introduction and Conclusion of her Leadership for Lawyers textbook reveals her focus upon these concepts. We address these subjects both in individual chapters and woven in discussions throughout our textbook, Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership. To explain the relevance, the language of the proposed amendments to Standards 206, 303, and 508 are included in our Teacher’s Manual (See pages 3, 18, 81, and 124, available as part of the Professor Resources) at the beginning of these three chapters:

Chapter 17: Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Intelligence
Chapter 1: What is Leadership?
Chapter 11: The Importance of Well-Being: Thriving in the Legal Profession.

This is NOT a sales pitch for our book. Our primary goal is to help as you advocate for, create, or enhance leadership development programming at your school. Whether a school or program chooses to adopt our book has nothing to do with that goal. The “leadership team” (Stephen, Liz, Pat, and me) at Baylor Law stands ready to work with other law schools fully embracing the need to develop lawyers who are not only competent practitioners in their chosen career pursuits but also well-rounded professionals who seek to be positive influencers among their family, friends, and clients and to have a meaningful impact on their communities.

We want to be a resource for – and learn from – others. Please let us know how we can work together to make leadership development programs, and legal education generally, better. That IS the reason we wrote the textbook. It was designed not only for use in leadership courses, but also so that individual chapters can be used as modules in orientation, professional identity programs, clinics, academic support programs, career development and student success centers, and any other courses or programs with the goal of better equipping our students for success in their future role as difference makers.

To read the full version of the proposed amendments to ABA Standards 206, 303, and 508, we direct you to the August 16, 2021, Memo from the Standards Committee to the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The Memo eventually should be posted in the Notes and Comments Section of the ABA website. For now, Dean Paul Caren posted the Memo on his TaxProf Blog at ABA Standards Committee Approves Anti-Racism, Bias Training as New Accreditation Standards for Law Schools.

We note that the proposed amendments are not without critics. We share concerns about the lack of attention to the assessment of the effectiveness of any new training. But we are encouraged by the work of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, and its Co-Directors, Professors Neil Hamilton and Jerry Organ, who are leading the national effort to help law schools develop and adopt assessment tools in the form of stage development rubrics. Effective use of such rubrics can help law schools not only satisfy compliance with ABA Standards but also be more intentional about developing law students who are better prepared for the obligations they will assume as practitioners, professionals, and leaders.

We wish you a great start to the new academic year!

– LEAH

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July Challenge: Cultural Intelligence

By Pat Wilson

Multiculturalism.  Is it just a buzzword, a New Age fad for the new millennium?  Or is it a meaningful concept, important to leaders now and in the future? 

Growing up in the Midwest, I learned that America was a melting pot in which different cultures contributed their own distinct flavors, literally and figuratively, to American culture.  There is no doubt truth to that, but how limited my worldview was through college and even into my early career.  Other than a girl named Tiku, who joined my 7th grade class as an immigrant from Uganda following Idi Amin’s seizure of power, my exposure to people from different cultures was fairly limited to the occasional missionary who visited my church, often a transplanted Westerner who shared his or her experiences working in some far-flung place. In fact, there wasn’t a lot of focus on the distinctly different cultures in America, for example, African American culture or Native American culture, or even Southern culture, beyond a few units in Social Studies from time-to-time.  I daresay, that was the experience of most of my friends—eating tacos (our version of Mexican food), chop suey (the only Asian meal anyone I knew ate), and of course spaghetti and pizza did little to expand our knowledge or understanding of other cultures.  Misperceptions about different people, who hailed from different cultures, abounded.

Since my childhood, American has experienced a sea change in culture, perhaps because of the growth in population of individuals from different cultural backgrounds because of immigration and shifts in birth rate.  Perhaps the changes are attributable to less of a willingness of immigrants to assimilate to the extent immigrants did in the past–many immigrants indeed are proud of their cultural heritage, continuing to speak their language and observing their traditions openly.  Or perhaps the change is because we are more cognizant that we are part of a global economy, involving a great deal of movement of people, goods, and services that require interacting with individuals from a variety of different cultural backgrounds in a variety of different settings.

Whatever the explanation, we assume, in fact we hope, that most leaders recognize and accept the premise that to be effective leaders in this multicultural world, one must intentionally work to develop and maintain cultural intelligence, which moves beyond learning about differences to connecting on deeper and more meaningful levels. Cultural intelligence starts with pursuing cultural competence which is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures.  Culture is defined as the values, norms, and traditions that affect how individuals of a particular group perceive, think, interact, behave and make judgement about the world.  As my colleagues outlined in Chapter 17 of their book, Fundamental of Lawyer Leadership, developing cultural competence involves five steps:  1) being aware of differences; 2) addressing implicit bias; 3) developing an attitude of openness; 4) gaining knowledge and understanding of different cultural practices; and 5) developing cross-cultural skills.

Toward that end, this month’s challenge involves a focus on cultural intelligence.  Over the course of the next few weeks, we will address these different steps, and as we do,  we invite you to share your thoughts and experiences about cultural intelligence.

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Another Growth Mindset Exercise Inspired by the ABA 21-Day Grit and Growth Mindset Challenge

By Leah Teague


Every presentation we do on growth mindset includes part of a quote from Michael Jordan: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Day 6 of the ABA’s 21 day Grit and Growth Mindset Challenge looks at “The Mindset of a Champion” in which fifth grader Carson Bylow gives a 6 minute TEDxYouth Talk. The talk starts with Jordan’s full quote: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Bylow points out not only the failures Jordan shared but the fact that Jordan actually was cut from his high school basketball team. So, how did Michael Jordan ultimately become the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) in basketball? Growth mindset, grit, and dedication to outworking others.

Bylow acknowledges that he has a growth mindset in some areas and a fixed mindset in others. In his journey to a broader growth mindset, Bylow noted appreciatively a teacher who introduced him to one little three-letter word to help in his battle against fixed mindset: “yet.” Adding “yet” to any self-defeating thoughts or self-talk can change a mindset from one that is ready to give up and go home to one that is invigorated and ready to try again. “Yet” suggests that a different future is possible. “Yet” suggests a new horizon. “Yet” suggests that it is worthwhile to work harder and believe in yourself. The power of “yet” is the power to become more than you are…currently. How can you harness the power of yet when helping students become leaders?

Here is an exercise to try with your students:

Step 1: Give students one to two minutes to think of an area, skill or subject (or more than one, if time permits) where they are disappointed with their performance. You can set the stage for this by sharing one of your own past struggles. In law school, mine was writing. As an accounting major in undergraduate, I scrupulously avoided any electives that required written papers. Shameful, I know! As result, I continued to feel insecure in my writing abilities and missed the valuable opportunity to get better feedback. In fact, my law review article was so bad that my poor editor had to spend many, many long hours over an entire summer to help me get it in publishable condition. I felt worthless and guilty for the trouble I caused my editor. What experience like this can your students identify?

Step 2: Based on their thoughts about areas of weakness, instruct students to pick one or two areas that they think are important or beneficial to their future success. For each, instruct the students to complete this sentence: “I am not good at …”

Step 3: After all the students have had time to write or type one, two or three of those sentences, have them write or type “YET” in big, bold capital letters at the end of each.

Step 4: Next, ask them to assess if they really mean it—if they truly believe this weakness can be improved. If they do not immediately have a sense of hope about the prospects for improvement, have them pause and determine why they are not ready to “buy in.” Why can they not connect to the positivity that comes when recognizing they CAN get better even if they never become a G.O.A.T. Ask them to think about what they could accomplish if they focused positive energy and diligent, deliberate effort to improve. Encourage them to consider the effort as a step toward their future success.

Step 5: Finally, have them write a plan for their work. This could be a good time to introduce the SMART process for setting attainable goals. SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely” and is discussed in Chapter 9, Setting Goals of Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership.  

Carson Bylow shared, “Coaches and professional scouts look for athletes who don’t just have skill. They want someone who wants to learn, is coachable, and will give 100% effort in practices. … What they don’t want is someone who thinks they are already good enough, they don’t need to learn, and are not coachable.” The same can be said about what we look for in law students, not only as they learn, but in their future employment as well.