As a professional school, Baylor Law School has a particular obligation to develop students who not only can provide legal services competently to their clients upon graduation, but also will assume leadership within their community and the legal profession.
Lawyers Serve as Leaders
Throughout history, lawyers have played a critical role in shaping stable, peaceful and prosperous societies. In our own country, no other profession accounts for more of our leaders. Thirty-five of the fifty-five delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were lawyers. Twenty-five of the forty-four United States presidents have been lawyers. The occupation with the largest representation in U.S. Congress is the legal profession. All over this country in every aspect of society, lawyers lead. Lawyers serve as heads of government, business and nonprofit organizations. Additionally, lawyers influence other leaders daily as they interact with and represent them. Perhaps more importantly, all lawyers have a duty to lead their clients by providing principled counseling.
At Baylor we pride ourselves on producing "Baylor Lawyers" who will be actively and civically engaged in their communities. From our mission statement:
As a professional school, the School of Law has a particular obligation to develop students who have the character, maturity, skills, and values needed to assume leadership positions in a profession charged with responsibility for maintaining and improving our nation's system of justice. . . The obligation to develop students prepared for professional leadership also mandates that the School of Law expose students to the history, traditions, and values of the legal profession. Among these values is a commitment to public service and leadership within one's community and profession. . .
The Law School's desire to produce leaders is accordant with the University's Pro Futuris strategic vision for Baylor's distinctive role in higher education: "We strive to prepare students to make a difference in our world as citizens and leaders who have the faith and integrity to do what is right in the face of competing pressures and to have a passion to apply their knowledge to ends that transcend mere self-interest."
Leadership development has always been a core component of the education and training of every Baylor Law student. From day one of each student's orientation through our rigorous third-year Practice Court program, we are developing individuals who will be prepared to seek and assume leadership roles across a wide spectrum of organizations within their communities and within the legal profession. While leadership training is part of the fabric of Baylor Law School, specific emphasis and training is important and helpful to adequately equip our graduates with the leadership skills they will need in an increasingly-complex and ever-changing environment.
Formal Leadership Training More Important Than Ever
Recent leadership studies suggest the competencies that will be most valuable to developing future leaders appear to be changing as organizations and the world become "more complex, volatile and unpredictable." Leaders of the future need to have "more complex and adaptable thinking abilities." Creativity is an increasingly important skill. A recent study of Trends in Executive Development found that a common concern of CEOs is the concern that the individuals within their organizations being groomed for leadership were lacking in "the ability to think strategically and manage change effectively." The need for students to focus on developing analytical skills is more important than ever. Additional instruction on, and practice in, leadership strategies and skills will better prepare students for their future roles in effectively manage people and organizations they will lead.
An increasing number of legal publications discuss the importance of formal leadership training for students in law school. A growing number of law schools have created leadership programs. Leadership skills and acquiring leadership attributes are fundamental lawyering skills which can be gained through experience over a period of time. Developing leadership skills and professional competencies while in law school can provide competitive advantages to graduates in the marketplace especially in an era where legal employers are less willing to hire inexperienced law graduates when the market is ripe with experienced lawyers seeking a change in employment.
An emphasis on public service and leadership while in law school will help all students build careers and habits leading to satisfying and fulfilling lives in the law. Specific leadership training in law school not only helps law graduates be more successful as lawyers and leaders but also has the added bonus of improving the reputation of lawyers and the legal profession in general.
Requirements for Baylor Law School Program
Successful completion of the Leadership Development Program requirements leads to a certificate and recognition at graduation. To successfully complete the Leadership Development Program, a student will be required to complete the following:
Take the two-hour Leadership Development class. Since this class is a limited enrollment class, priority will be given to students participating in the Leadership Development Program.
Complete a personal development and team building course, such as a Ropes Challenge Course.
Leadership students must complete twenty-three hours of Professional Development programming. At least five hours must be designated as Leadership Development programming.
Serve as an officer of a Baylor Law School student organization for a minimum of three quarters. While serving as an officer, the student must perform a minimum of 25 hours of service related to the activities of the organization.
Complete 25 hours of community service.
Serve as an intern for a charitable or community organization's director or management team, working a minimum of 45 hours. Alternatively, a student can work as an extern for a legislator (either state or federal level) for a minimum of 45 hours.
If you are interested in learning more about the Leadership Development Program and would like to participate in exclusive programs and events, please fill out the Intent to Participate form and deliver it to Associate Dean Leah Teague. Simply completing and turning in an Intent to Participate form does not commit you to pursuing the Leadership Scholar designation.
To declare your intent to complete the Leadership Development Porgram, complete the Intent to Pursue Leadership Designation form. By completing the Intent to Pursue form, you will automatically be included in any programs or events so you do not need to also complete an Intent to Participate form. When you have completed the requirements for the program, complete the Application for Designation as a Leadership Scholar form. After completing either of these forms, deliver the form to Associate Dean Leah Teague.
In completing the requirements for the Leadership Development Program, please use the Community Service Hours Reporting Form and the Student Organization Hours Reporting Form.
If you have questions, please contact Associate Dean Leah Teague or Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs Stephen Rispoli.