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Using Leadership to Teach Professional Identity Formation, Well-Being, and Diversity and Belonging.

Newly adopted ABA Standard 303(b) reinforces the duty of law schools to help their students explore “the values, guiding principles, and well-being practices,” which are considered “foundational to successful legal practice” and fundamental to lawyers’ professional identity. Our Baylor Law Leadership Development Program was created in 2013 to provide structure to teaching law students about the lawyers’ role in society and better preparing them to serve their clients and society. These goals align with Standard 303(b) as well as the professional identity formation work occurring around the country. (See the work of the Holloran Center under the co-director of Professors Neil Hamilton and Jerry Organ).

Our Leadership Development Program addresses two other recent amendments: ABA Standard 303(c) (bias and cross-cultural competency & racism education), and 508(b) (student well-being resources). All three subjects (professional identity, bias and cultural competency, and wellness) are essential topics that need to be addressed as we prepare law students for the important work of lawyers in society. Finding all three topics in the textbook, Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership, is no surprise and not an accident. With no law school textbook available when we started teaching leadership in 2013, we labored to determine what should be taught in a leadership course and program. Those three topics were recognized as fundamental to a well-rounded legal education.

We wrote the textbook and created the Teacher’s Manual and Resources to help others create a leadership course or present a program in whatever manner makes sense within their system and culture. With this easy-to-use textbook (and teaching materials), we hope more faculty and staff will join the growing movement to better prepare students to become more effective professionals and inspire them to be difference-makers. 

Both the textbook and our own course structure are divided into four aspects of developing leadership. Following an introduction to the concept of leadership, we ask students to look internally first before turning the leadership focus outward. The course is formatted as follows:

  • Part I – Overview of Leadership
    Initial sessions introduce students to what we mean by “leadership” – a process whereby an individual has an influence on another (or a group) to achieve a common goal. Leadership is the opportunity to help and serve no matter what title or position one holds in an organization. Students should also recognize that lawyers in our society hold positions of leadership as they advise clients and organizations, and as they serve in their communities. Leadership is part of our professional identity. For materials relevant to the Standard 303(b) changes, see Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership Preface, Chapter 2 (Why Lawyers Should Study Leadership).
  • Part II – Leadership of Self: Growing into Leadership
    Students are guided through a process of self-discovery and assessment to gain a better sense of who they are and what type of lawyer and leader they want to be. Topics covered include characteristics of leadership (traits, skills, and competencies, including those traditionally developed in law school); growth mindset; grit and resilience; feedback and learning through failure; well-being; integrity and character; preparedness and setting goals. For materials relevant to Standard 508(b) changes, see Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership, Chapter 11 (The Importance of Well-Being: Thriving in the Legal Profession).
  • Part III – Leadership with Others: Effective Group Dynamics
    To be effective lawyers and leaders, students need to develop their ability to work and interact effectively with others. Topics in this part include emotional intelligence; relationships and influence; strategic communication; diversity and inclusion; unconscious bias and cultural competency; effective management; and working within legal organizations. For materials relevant to Standard 303(c) changes, see Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership, Chapter 17 (Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Intelligence).
  • Part IV – Leadership within Community: Service and Impact
    Lawyers are well suited, and expected, to use their legal training and other talents and gifts to serve society. We want to encourage students to seek opportunities to serve in ways that are meaningful to them and that can have a significant impact on others. Students are challenged to consider what legacy they want to leave.  Chapters in this part can be used to emphasize leadership for positive change and encourage law students to use their legal skills to effectuate a desired goal.

This textbook is designed to make leadership and professional formation easy to implement and teach. Each chapter can be used as a module for stand-alone programs or incorporated into other courses. An abundant library of teaching materials (notes, exercises, PowerPoint slides, etc.) is available to accompany class sessions and to complement presentations.

To access the professor resources for this title, you will need a validated professor account on Aspen Publlishing. If you do not yet have a validated professor account, you may register at AspenPublishing.com/my-account/register. Account validation may take 1-2 business days. Once validated, you may log into your account using your own personal login, go to the relevant product page and scroll down to access the Professor Resources.

Thank you for your efforts to prepare and inspire law students to boldly seek opportunities to make a difference in our profession, their communities, and the world. Please let us know how we can help you!

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Women in Law Firm Leadership Are Changing The Profession

The legal world is becoming more diverse, but it still has a long way to go. Here, Nick Gaffney interviews Trinae Hall, Kelsey McCann, and Kim Bonnar— all women in leadership roles within the legal industry— about their experiences as women leading in what remains a male-dominated space.

View this post, here:

https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/women-in-law-firm-leadership-are-changing-the-profession/

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How to Be a Better Leader in 2022


In the article below, Cynthia Thomas, the founder and owner of PLMC Associates, a management consulting firm for law firms, writes about four traits that are necessary to be a good leader. A good leader is impactful, compassionate, inclusive, and authentic.

She also includes eight songs from her Impactful Leader playlist.

https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/how-to-be-a-better-leader-in-2022/


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Historic Leadership Moment

Pictured (from left) are Judge Carlos Moore, Navan Ward Jr., Douglas K. Burrell, and Reginald Turner.
Photo from the American Association for Justice, as published in the ABA Journal.

As Black History Month 2022 draws to a close, we thought we’d highlight a historic first spotlighted in the ABA Journal.  For the first time in history, African Americans are leading four major national bar associations at once: The American Bar Association, American Association for Justice, the National Bar Association, and the Defense Research Institute.

https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/four-black-bar-association-leaders-reflect-on-historic-moment


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The Great Resignation…


As law firm leaders grapple with the Great Resignation, this ABA Law Practice Division article emphasizes the importance of relationships and connections as the key to retention. Of course, creating the culture of connection necessarily means that leaders need to be ensuring that all members of the firm are feeling connected and valued, not just the members with whom they feel most comfortable:

https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/leading-through-connection-the-key-to-increased-retention/

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Black History Month – Training Lawyers as Leaders


As we celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to share with you a fantastic resource put together by the American Bar Association. Although some of these may be familiar to you, they are wonderful resources when looking for example for leadership classes or presentations. We hope that you can take a few moments to check these out and consider working them into your presentations.

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/resources/celebrating-heritage-months/black-history-month/


Header image created using materials designed by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com

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Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

By Victoria Filoso, Baylor Law Student


Friends,

As part of our leadership development class at Baylor Law, one of the assignments over the quarter is to read a book about leadership. Our definition of what constitutes a leadership book is broad for this purpose, so our students choose a wide variety of books, ranging from “leadership lite” (as Deborah Rhode called it) to biographies of famous leaders. The task to complete the assignment is for the students to write a short review covering the book and why someone who is interested in leadership might want to read it. So, we hope you enjoy Victoria Filoso’s review of Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

– Stephen Rispoli


Since her Ted Talk went viral in 2010, Brené Brown has established herself as the expert on vulnerability and leadership. Under the traditional, “old school” leadership mentality, these two terms were considered contradictory— leadership was about strength, dominance, and fearlessness. But Brown has flipped that notion on its head with her focus on how effective leadership is impossible without uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Dare to Lead explores how sustainable leadership requires a high degree of emotional intelligence. Brown seeks to inspire modern leaders to reject the traditional aggression associated with leadership, and to instead lean in to and understand our emotions in order to manage difficult situations.

Dare to Lead is divided into Brown’s four skill sets that make the best leaders: the ability to rumble with vulnerability, living into our values, braving trust, and learning to rise. The most impactful section to me was the first. “Rumbling with vulnerability,” according to Brown, refers to how leaders deal with the fear and emotions we go through when things get uncertain and tough. Avoiding hard conversations, a lack of empathy, and increased shame are three ever-present conditions that hold us back from being courageous, the skill that Brown continually emphasizes leaders in our society need to master.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” It is second nature for most of us to be concerned with politeness. We are always assessing how others perceive and are constantly crafting ways to converse with others in a way that portrays us as “nice people.” Brown says that this practice of beating around the bush is actually holding us back from being effective leaders. Kindness is not being sweet; kindness is being honest and direct without being rude. In order to make progress we have to address weaknesses and being overly concerned with politeness is counter-intuitive to that. Leaders have to stop avoiding tough conversations because they are afraid of being unkind, because the only unkind thing is being unclear about what you want and need to reach your goals. Leaders need to have the courage to sit down and face those tough conversations head-on.

Courage is the entire foundation of leadership in Dare to Lead, but courage is impossible to achieve without rumbling with vulnerability. Vulnerability is not a weakness, and we need to stop thinking about it as one. Brown dedicates an entire section in her rumbling with vulnerability chapter on the “armor” we all wear to shield ourselves from fear and how armor is the problem, not the solution. Armored leadership drives perfectionism, operates from a scarcity mindset, squanders opportunities for joy and recognition, and rewards exhaustion as a status symbol. Daring leadership, on the other hand, acknowledges and embraces emotions and clarity, encourages empathy, and cultivates a culture of belonging rather than fitting-in. The daring mindset embraces the inevitable risks and fear that accompany leadership, whereas the armored mindset tries to deflect those risks and fears and they therefore stay unaddressed and unconquered. Brown says that being armored all the time should never be rewarded, and that instead we need to reward those who accept and venture into the unknown.

Being a law student through COVID-19, uncertainty has been the constant undertone of my thoughts this past year. After some cursory internet researching, I randomly selected Dare to Lead from the class syllabus to fulfill the book review requirement, but it ended up being one of the most beneficial tools to help me manage my anxiety surrounding the uncertainty. I was meant to read this book at this time, and I encourage everyone who is struggling to navigate our unpredictable world to read it. Because the truth is that the world will not get more certain once we overcome this pandemic. We are still going to face times where a good outcome is not guaranteed and we are still going to endure anxiety as a result –that is just the reality of being human and of being a lawyer. The only place we can make a difference is in our approach: we need to dive right into the water since we are going to get wet anyway. But if we dive in wearing armor, it will instantly drag us down to the bottom. The only way to swim across is to shed the armor, stay in the water, leave our eyes open, and keep moving forward. As Brown said, “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

– VICTORIA FILOSO

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Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leaders Through Solitude

By Caleb Bortner, Baylor Law Student


Friends,

As part of our leadership development class at Baylor Law, one of the assignments over the quarter is to read a book about leadership. Our definition of what constitutes a leadership book is broad for this purpose, so our students choose a wide variety of books, ranging from “leadership lite” (as Deborah Rhode called it) to biographies of famous leaders. The task to complete the assignment is for the students to write a short review covering the book and why someone who is interested in leadership might want to read it. So, we hope you enjoy Caleb Bortner’s review of Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leaders Through Solitude by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin.

– Stephen Rispoli


In a time when most of us are alone, due to Covid-19, how can we use this solitude to benefit ourselves and our society? I chose “Lead Yourself First” because the idea of isolation strikes me as something many of us are coping with right now. So how do we turn this “negative” into a positive force in our lives? How can we harness this unfortunate life event into something positive for us all?

Throughout history, leaders have used solitude as a sort of galvanizing tool to solve problems. Leaders have used solitude to bring focus without the constant background noise. Solitude brings out your natural intuition. It brings self-awareness or introspection in a way that would be impossible when surrounded by those you are leading. Time alone allows leaders to strengthen themselves using their faith or own inner strength and look at a problem from a different viewpoint. “Lead Yourself First” explored how many historical figures used solitude as a tool to create solutions.

Whether it was Ulysses S. Grant’s solitude in his tent after sickness, or Aung San Suu Kyi’s time imprisoned, or Martin Luther King Jr.’s imprisonment in Birmingham, leaders have found that time away from everyone allowed them to think. This opportunity to think, and to think deeply, allowed them to utilize the tools that made them great leaders in the first place. For Martin Luther King Jr., it galvanized his faith and resilience to keep fighting against systemic racism. Solitude gave Jane Goodall a chance to think deeply about chimpanzees and intuit a way to study them more closely. Solitude allowed Marie Curie the chance to intuit innovative experimentation techniques and conduct groundbreaking research.

In addition to the informative historical examples throughout “Lead Yourself First,” there were also stories of leaders in society today and examples of how solitude helped them. Frequently, Kethledge and Erwin focused on running as a mechanism for solitude. Not only does running create space between yourself and others, but it is also a way many people use to think through problems they are facing. Often, if stuck in a rut when you are writing or stuck with a problem, a piece of advice people will give you is to go for a walk. There is a reason for this; it allows you to place space between yourself and the problem and will enable you to think more deeply than you would if you were distracted by the electronics in your home.

Kethledge and Erwin end their book with straightforward advice about solitude and its benefits. They say that solitude works because it allows you to embrace hard thinking. It will not work if you use solitude to think on a superficial level or review old emails on the subject. Take solitude for the gift that it is. Close your office door, spread out all the documents on the matter, or allow yourself to look at your problem on a macro level and think about it from every angle you can. Kethledge and Erwin encouraged blocking off time to engage in hard thinking and solitude. They warned to use this time wisely to engage and embrace hard thinking and not just a superficial review of the issue at hand.

I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with the forced alone time we all have right now due to Covid-19. It helped me refocus my energy when I put into context all the forced solitude leaders from history have endured. They were all pillars of strength and used their time alone to create something extraordinary. I think we can all take notes from history and from “Lead Yourself First” to make our time in quarantine the most useful that we can.

– CALEB BORTNER

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Women in Leadership: The Movement Beyond the Glass Ceiling

By Jessie Cox, Baylor Law Student


Friends,

As part of our leadership development class at Baylor Law, one of the assignments over the quarter is to read a book about leadership. Our definition of what constitutes a leadership book is broad for this purpose, so our students choose a wide variety of books, ranging from “leadership lite” (as Deborah Rhode called it) to biographies of famous leaders. The task to complete the assignment is for the students to write a short review covering the book and why someone who is interested in leadership might want to read it. So, we hope you enjoy Jessica Cox’s review of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Even though Lean In has been covered extensively since it was published, we thought Jessie’s coverage of the book was a good read and thought you all might appreciate it.

– Stephen Rispoli


Sheryl Sandberg is a mother, a wife, a proponent for women’s rights, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and the first woman ever to serve on Facebook’s Board of Directors. In her 2013 bestseller, Lean In, Sandberg discusses what she’s learned about the double standards women face in the corporate workplace, relying on both on her own experience as well as analytics and research to promote a future for women that leaves inequality behind.

The crux of Sandberg’s 5-point plan presented in Lean In is to encourage women to succeed in whatever career plan they choose. While she does strongly believe that women can do everything, she recognizes that a future without inequality doesn’t require that. Instead, the focus is on creating an environment where every woman can make a choice that is best for her without feeling guilty.

“Conditions for all women will improve when there are more women in leadership roles giving strong and powerful voices to their needs and concerns.”

Sandberg suggests that there are 5 methods women should implement on an individual level to address prejudice in the workplace:

1. SIT AT THE TABLE

Women will never be recognized as we should if we are too afraid to sit at the table. Sandberg referenced an experience in this chapter that really resonated with me. She was at a meeting when a male client walked in with two female associates. While the male, without hesitation, sat at the conference table, the two women automatically sat off to the side. As a young female in the workplace, I expect to not have a seat at the table, and that mindset is part of the problem.

Sandberg cited a statistic here that was jolting. When this book was written, only 7% of women negotiated for themselves in the workplace compared to almost 1/3rd of men. Even though most women currently in the corporate sphere did not grow up in a world where they had to fight for basic civil rights, Sandberg believes that women are still ingrained to think that they don’t deserve their successes. While men attribute success to their own hard work, women give away their successes to others – that someone helped them, or gave them a lucky break, instead of crediting their own hard work and expecting the same accolades given to men. Thanks to a century of hard work, there is now a chair waiting for women at that conference table, and we can’t be afraid to take it.

2. IT’S OK TO NOT BE LIKED BY ALL

A big part of moving past inequality is embracing change, and there will always be those that do not like change. As more women succeed in the workplace and take on leadership roles, it may mean taking a role that some believe was made for a man. However, Sandberg wants women to be confident enough in our own abilities and worth to be ok with jealousy and those that may be upset that we are succeeding.

“When you want to change things, you can’t please everyone.
If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress.”

Moving into an era where women can truly do anything without feeling pressured by societal expectations involves other women being more accepting. Sandberg repeatedly emphasizes the importance of uplifting not only women that are leaders in the workplace, but also women that choose to be stay at home moms. There is no one size fits all formula.

3. EMPOWER OTHER WOMEN

Moving into an era where women can truly do anything without feeling pressured by societal expectations involves other women being more accepting. Sandberg repeatedly emphasizes the importance of uplifting not only women that are leaders in the workplace, but also women that choose to be stay at home moms. There is no one size fits all formula.

4. GET THE RIGHT PARTNER

This was the most surprising step of the plan to me because it is not an area that many people are comfortable discussing. Sandberg believes in inequality on all fronts – both at the workplace, and at home. Generally, however, even for women that work full-time corporate jobs, those women are still taking on 2x the amount of housework and 3x the amount of childcare and rearing than their male partners. Much of this is related to another ingrained mindset where we put more pressure on boys to succeed than we do girls. Sandberg suggests that truly embracing inequality for women means giving women the same time, choices, and opportunity that men have to succeed, and that starts at home.

5. SPEAK UP AGAINST PREJUDICE

Being a leader in a world where prejudice still exists means speaking out when you see something wrong. Staying silent and watching inequality happen is essentially accepting inequality for what it is, and that is not something that any woman should be okay with. The more we get people talking, the more we get people caring about making those important changes that lead to a future we deserve.

“What would I do if I weren’t afraid?
And then go do it.”

Standing up for yourself is scary. Standing up for yourself as a woman in a room full of men is even scarier. However, our ability to succeed as female leaders in the workplace is dependent on us believing in ourselves enough to be willing to confront that fear. As a young woman, I am full of self-doubt and anxiety about being able to be successful and being enough. And Sandberg really hit home for me in this regard – if I spent half the time and energy I spend on being afraid on believing in myself instead, there would be no limit to what I could achieve. If you can’t see how step the mountain is, then you can’t fear it.

I truly enjoyed reading Lean In, and highly recommend it for other women that want a refreshing and encouraging book on how to embrace your own ambition and worth to succeed as a woman and as a leader in life and in the workplace.

JESSIE COX

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Article Recommendation: Stories of Leadership, Good and Bad: Another Modest Proposal for Teaching Leadership in Law Schools

By Leah Teague


We recommend to you an article coming out in the Spring 2021 issue of the Journal of the Legal Profession. Professor Doris Brogan, the Harold Reuschlein Leadership Chair at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, addresses the question of why we should prepare law students for positions of influence and impact as leaders in society. The question was raised by her colleagues during a discussion about curricular objectives and goals. After immediately answering that we should, Prof. Brogan asked herself, “Why did it seem so right to prepare all our students with leadership skills if not all of them would end up in the that necessarily exclusive group we designate leader?” The article is the result of her research and reflection. She recognized that “good leadership education will make our students better lawyers, whether they become leaders or not.” She then addressed the myth that leadership cannot be taught. She proclaimed, “Of course, it can. Indeed it must be taught.”

The article is a delightful read with discussions of leaders who rose to positions of great influence, such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. She included stories about companies who lacked moral leadership at critical times, such as Volkswagen and Wells Fargo. I especially appreciated her introduction to Dr. Mary Gentile’s work on Giving Voice to Values (GVV) which she recommends be adapted to law school curricula to provide “an effective platform to structure values-based leadership education.” Using GVV can prepare students to “step up and speak out in the face of actions or decisions that challenge their values,” which is a form of “informal leadership, or leadership without specific authority.”

I also appreciate her tribute to Deborah Rhode’s body of work in the areas of professional responsibility, women’s leadership and finally our movement to encourage leadership development in legal education. See footnote 2 of the article.

In the article, Professor Brogan suggests several imperatives:

  1. Law schools must prepare students for formal and informal leadership;
  2. Leadership education must focus hard on values education, and engage students in difficult, concrete discussion exploring personal, institutional, and universal values;
  3. Leadership education must prepare students to speak up for their values and in service of doing the right thing courageously, and effectively, and to do so strategically, without unnecessarily putting their careers at risk); and
  4. Those in positions of power—those in a position to act— must be prepared to listen and to hear. Few students will find themselves in influential leadership positions straight out of law school; rather, they will evolve as leaders, developing a constellation of skills and approaches and honing leadership aptitudes in an ongoing process of learning “throughout a professional trajectory . . . .”

Professor Brogan opines that “law school offers a safe place to wrestle with these issues—a place where the risks are low and where the student can try out different responses with no concern about real-world consequences. In short, law school offers a venue to help students develop a strong values-based foundation, the incentive to act in defense of values, and skills required to do so.”

For a synopsis of Professor Brogan’s article, see the March 18, 2021 posting by Dean Paul Caron in TaxProf Blog.