By Stephen Rispoli
On April 4th and 5th, Leah and I were in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Law’s Leadership Conference. Doug Blaze, Dean Emeritus at UTK, put on an excellent conference highlighting the good work that law schools are doing around the country in leadership programs and courses.
The program was well designed, the flow was good, and the speakers were inspiring. Beth Ford, Director of the Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee, already wrote a piece for Doug’s blog, Leading as Lawyers, and it is a great recap of some of the highlights of the program. Here’s a link: https://leadingaslawyers.blog/2019/04/18/reflections-on-the-leadership-roundtable/.
Like Beth, we came away with a lot of new things to implement at Baylor Law and some wonderful ideas to consider. Here were some of our key takeaways from the conference:
- How can we improve the framing of leadership at Orientation for our students? Should it be through a session or through an immersive experience? Although we haven’t made a final decision, this is something we are turning our attention to improving.
- The whole building can be more involved in the leadership development process. Not just faculty, but each department – admissions, career development, alumni relations, pro bono clinics, externships, etc. – can play a role in helping law students understand their leadership potential and reach it.
- Tagging other courses in the curriculum that have leadership components, such as ADR and Professional Responsibility.
In short, Doug’s conference will be a hard one to follow. As we are planning our own 2020 leadership conference, what we learned at UTK will shape our program and what we hope each attendee takes home.