Amber Shanafelt Myers, Baylor Law JD ’14,
Leadership Development Fellow
Lawyers are in a unique position when they enter the workforce. We usually don’t start at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy. Most start somewhere in the middle. Many new lawyers are even tasked with supervising other employees. For most traditional law students who have completed law school right after college, this is terrifying! How can you know how to manage without training, but beyond that, how do you take it a step further and lead?
The ever-changing legal market makes this problem bigger than it did in years past. Today, only a slim majority of graduating law students will go to work at a large firm, organization, or company with a structured training program and career ladder. Companies, and even government organizations, have opted for a leaner approach, requiring that lawyers who come on board jump right in the deep end.
There are so many different things that my law school leadership training taught me that has served me well in this environment. Some skills that have helped me the most are understanding how to talk to people, identifying different personality types, and learning how to adapt and be flexible. These skills have been invaluable. Even though I spent time in leadership classes and seminars before I went to law school, I couldn’t have guessed how to apply those concepts to the legal field until I had some legal education under my belt.