Monday, July 26, 2021
April M. Barton (Duquesne), Teaching Lawyers to Think Like Leaders: The Next Big Shift in Legal Education, 73 Baylor L. Rev. 115 (2021):
The old saying is that students go to law school to learn to think like lawyers. While thinking like a lawyer is indeed critical to becoming a good lawyer, we must also teach our law students to think like leaders. Countless leaders in politics, government, business, and the non-profit sector are lawyers. While these lawyers are smart, precise, thorough, and honorable professionals, our public and private sectors would be further served by lawyers who are also taught to understand what leadership is (and is not) and who have honed their own leadership awareness and skills.
Lawyers are taught to advocate, to persuade, to analyze, to parse, to spot issues, even to convince others that they are right. These skills, while admirable, do not always align with good leadership; in fact, if not balanced with emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and social awareness, these skills can defy good leadership.