Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Following up my previous posts on law school co-deans (see below): Patrick McKenna (Legal Evolution), Sharing Law Firm Leadership: NOT for the Faint of Heart:
Many lawyers and law firms find co-leadership irresistible, as they evaluation only the "plus" side of the equation. Having witnessed many crash and burns, here are seven guidlines for making it work in practice. ...
Having examined a number of shared leadership arrangements, I believe one factor is paramount — those partners involved have to be prepared to work together as a team for the good of the entire firm. This element, more than any other, allows you to work through any differences and collaborate effectively. Each of you must be prepared to learn how to take a step back in the areas where the other is better equipped to take the lead. There can be no competition between you for power or accolades. A very specific problem arises when motives are suspect. If either of you is perceived to be pursuing a personal agenda — it is a clear red flag.
When one thinks of having co-leaders, the favored analogy is riding a tandem bicycle. Riding a bike with two seats, two sets of pedals, and powered by two individuals who may at any second decide they would like to go in different directions, can be exceedingly difficult. Attempting to steer any group of traditionally autonomous professionals in tandem requires a delicate balancing act.
The good news is that it can be accomplished, but only with some very deliberate and thoughtful preparation.
- Jessica Berg & Michael Sharf (Co-Deans, Case Western), Reflections on Shared Law School Leadership, 46 U. Tol. L. Rev. 299 (2015) (Dean's Leadership in Legal Education Symposium)
- Is The Case Western Dean Search A New Model: Co-Deans Selected From Among Internal Candidates With No Faculty Vote? (June 15, 2015)
- New Mexico Appoints Two Internal Candidates To Lead Law School As Co-Deans (June 17, 2015)
- Amidst Turmoil, LSU Law School Appoints Interim Co-Deans (Aug. 11, 2015)
- Jessica Berg And Michael Scharf Named Case Western Law School Co-Deans (Aug. 21, 2015)
- Chronicle of Higher Education, The Law School Co-Deaning Trend (Sept. 26, 2015)
- Michael Cahill (Former Vice Dean, Brooklyn), Ronald Chen (Acting Dean, Rutgers) Named Co-Deans At Rutgers (Mar. 22, 2016)
- Why Universities Hire Co-Deans To Lead Their Law Schools (Apr. 9, 2016)