AALS Leadership Section Co-Hosts Conference with Santa Clara Law School on Advancing Leadership in the Legal Profession

The Leadership Section of the Association of American Law Schools, together with Santa Clara University Law School and the Santa Clara Law Review, held a major conference on advancing leadership education and development in the legal profession. The conference featured presentations by the President of the American Bar Association and leadership experts Deborah Rhode, Stanford Law School, and Barry Posner, Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. The conference was held on March 23, 2018, in Santa Clara Law’s new 96,000 square foot building, Charney Hall, and attracted more than 100 lawyers, judges, law students and leadership education training experts.

The conference was the result of almost one year of discussion and planning led Donald Polden, Professor and Dean Emeritus which included Santa Clara Law School faculty and students and several law school educators who helped create the AALS’s new Section on Leadership, including Deborah Rhode, Leah Jackson Teague, David Gibbs and Douglas Blaze. The planning group identified and invited many of the leading educators on leadership development in American law school, law firm lawyers and professionals responsible for developing leadership in lawyers, and leadership experts who worked with lawyers and law firms on leadership skills. For a link to information about the symposium including photographs, the agenda, course syllabi, and other materials, please go to law.scu.edu/leadership

Throughout the day long conference, speakers addressed key leadership issues and challenges facing several groups within the legal profession. Hilarie Bass, a partner in the national law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP and current President of the American Bar Association, gave the opening keynote address. She discussed the significant challenges facing lawyers and the legal profession in today’s global, technology driven law practice and the important initiatives by her and the ABA to address many of those challenges. Clearly and forcibly addressing the challenges facing the legal profession and the ABA requires great leadership.

A second morning session keynote address was given by leadership guru, Barry Posner, co-author of The Leadership Challenge books and training materials and his former student Ausra Deluard, an associate at Jones Day LLP office in San Francisco, and herself a leadership educator. Posner and Deluard discussed the importance of leadership education in many fields, including law, and described the practices of exemplary leadership that permit leaders to do extraordinary things within and for their organizations.

Deborah Rhode, the first chair of the Section on Leadership, directs the Center for the Legal Profession and the Program in Law & Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford’s law school, and she presented the third keynote address of the conference. Professor Rhode spoke about the critical role of legal education and law firms in educating for leadership during times where firms and individuals experience conditions of stresses and challenge. She also provided an overview of the development of leadership courses training in the law schools and in the legal profession.

Santa Clara’s Dean Lisa Kloppenberg moderated a panel of exceptional leaders and leadership development experts, including Dorian Daley, VP and General Counsel of Oracle Corporation, Olga Mack, a former GC and Organizer and Curator at TEDxEmerald Glen Park, Dean Thomas Romig, Dean at Washburn University School of Law and former Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army, Dr. Lori Berman, Director of Professional Development at Hogan Lovells, USA, LLP in Washington DC, and Dr. Roland Smith, formerly at the Center for Creative Leadership and Group Head of Leadership Strategy and Development at Interglobe Enterprises. The panel discuss several key issues concerning the importance of leadership to various legal and law related organizations and how they development and demonstrated leadership during their careers.

The symposium also featured several panels of law faculty members who are teaching leadership courses in American law schools or who have developed leadership programs and activities for law students and lawyers.  The speakers discussed their ideas and research on leadership for lawyer subjects and several described articles they have prepared for a summer 2018 issue of the Santa Clara Law Review on leadership for lawyers. According to Professor Donald Polden, who helped organize the conference, “the symposium attracted the top legal educators and lawyer-leaders in the country to discuss the challenges facing the legal profession and legal education and we heard some meaningful solutions to those problems. Lawyers, judges and educators will benefit immeasurably from the forthcoming articles published by our law review.” The academic speakers included:

  • Douglas Blaze, Tennessee
  • Louis Bilionis, Cincinnati
  • Rachel Moran, UCLA
  • Donald Polden, Santa Clara
  • Neil Hamilton, St Thomas (MN)
  • David Gibbs, Roger Williams
  • Robert Cullen, Santa Clara
  • Leah Jackson Teague, Baylor
  • Maura DeMouy, Georgetown
  • Michael Colatrella, Jr., McGeorge (Pacific)
  • Rebecca Lee, Thomas Jefferson

The Conference resulted in a number of insightful articles by the following distinguished authors which thanks to the assistance of the Santa Clara Law Review can be accessed at the following portal.  Please note the articles are in draft form pending final editing and should not be cited until they are final form which will be noted. The articles can be accessed at this link.

Donald Polden, Lawyers, Leadership, and Innovation
Barry Posner, Leadership Development in Law Schools: Myths, Principles, And Practices
Deborah Rhode, Preparing Leaders: The Evolution of a Field and The Stresses of Leadership
R. Lisle Baker, Character and Fitness for Leadership: Learning Interpersonal Skills
Louis Bilionis, Law School Leadership and Leadership Development for Developing Lawyers
Douglas Blaze, Law Student Motivation, Satisfaction, And Well-Being: The Value of a Leadership and Professional Development Curriculum
Neil Hamilton, Leadership of Self: Each Student Taking Ownership Over Continuous Professional Development/Self-Directed Learning
Leah Teague, Training Lawyers for Leadership: Vitally Important Mission for The Future Success (And Maybe Survival) Of the Legal Profession and Our Democracy
Rachel Moran, The Three Ages Of Modern American Lawyering And The Current Crisis In The Legal Profession And Legal Education