Throughout history, no other profession has accounted for more of our nation's leadership. Twenty-five of the forty-five presidents have been lawyers. Forty-one percent of the men and women of the 115th U.S. Congress are attorneys. And all over this country, in every aspect of society, lawyers lead—serving as heads of government, business and nonprofit organizations in communities large and small.
Leadership development has always been a core component of the education and training of every Baylor Law student. From day one of Orientation through the rigors of third-year Practice Court, Baylor Law has consistently turned out lawyers with the "character, maturity, skills and values needed to assume leadership roles within their profession and their community."
The percentage of leadership positions occupied by the legal profession is shrinking. The cost for legal services is growing. The impact of technology on law firms is expanding. The skills required by lawyers to navigate a rapidly changing marketplace are evolving. And law schools have not kept pace.
Today's lawyers need to be competent in more than knowledge, methods and legal skills. They have to be prepared to navigate change. As the world becomes more complex and unpredictable, creativity and innovation are becoming increasingly important skills, as is the ability to think strategically to develop broad-view solutions to problems we all face as citizens. As a nation, we don't need more lawyers. We need more, "well-trained" lawyers, with the tools to actually make a difference.
Equipping young lawyers with the additional toolkit to seek and assume leadership roles is what the Baylor Law Leadership Development Program is all about. No other law school in the nation has a program like this. No other program is as intentional in its breadth and depth of leadership experiences to prepare graduates for professional success and worthwhile contributions to society as this one. And few graduates, from any program, ascend into leadership roles with more tools to lead than Baylor Lawyers.
One of only a handful of law school programs in the country dedicated to preparing students to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their clients, their profession, and their communities—the Baylor Leadership Development Program produces graduates not only proficient in analysis and advice, but able to think critically, navigate complex and diverse issues, use reasoning, judgment, imagination and foresight to create new possibilities, and maximize their potential to lead.
As students make their way through the program, they take on leadership roles in organizations, work together as teams, serve in their community, and learn to translate their legal training into leadership readiness that transcends the courtroom and the boardroom. By the time they graduate, they've mastered skills and techniques that will serve them throughout their career, equipping them to:
1. Gain an Edge.
Legal employers want law school graduates who need less handholding. Now, more than ever, they look for new lawyers with not only the intelligence and legal skills, but with the professional competencies to be able to step into complex situations, confidently assess the issues, think pragmatically, work creatively, operate collaboratively and deliver solutions—all of which leadership develops.
2. Make Connections.
Lawyers who invest time to lead organizations and causes within their communities reap substantial dividends. Their more visible presence in the community often results in more clients and opportunities. Their network of connections expands. Their firm's business grows. Their relationships in the community deepen. And lifelong friendships, often cultivated outside the realm of law, flourish.
3. Know Oneself.
Leadership helps students embrace and appreciate what is intrinsically them—strengths and attributes that will bring value and set them apart. Likewise, considering areas of weakness offers opportunities for growth that enable them to build on and complement their own unique talents and gifts. Along the way, the program helps channel graduates to begin to think intentionally, "what am I going to do with all of this?" The answers lead to a more purposeful path, and ultimately, to a far more fulfilling career.
4. Embrace a Cause.
Exposing students to leadership opportunities in a focused, intentional way often produces "light-bulb moments." As they serve in the community, administer to the poor, assist the elderly, provide for veterans, protect families—and give their time and energies to support any number of noble causes—they often discover their passion. Years later, the moments that stirred their emotions as students, often become the causes they champion as leaders.
5. Make a Difference.
Students who choose Baylor Law look at the rigor, preparation and professional development and assume they will find success. But most want more than a financially rewarding career. They want it to mean something. Discovering additional ways to use one's skills and position of influence to impact lives and lead change adds significance. It's about more than making a living. It's about making a difference.
A student having met the requirements of the Leadership Development Program, is designated as a Leadership Fellow, and is awarded a certificate, along with special recognition at graduation. Earning the designation requires successful completion of the following:
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:
If you're 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. (Note: 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 Program, complete the Intent to Pursue Leadership Designation form and return to Dean Teague. (Note: 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 fulfilled the requirements for the program, complete the Application for Designation as a Leadership Scholar form and deliver to Dean Teague.
For years, having operated ahead of the curve, Baylor Law today finds itself at the forefront of an emerging movement. The goal: to integrate leadership development into every law school program in the country. As one of the nation's recognized leaders in leadership training, Baylor Law provides advice and counsel to institutions looking to launch similar efforts, and freely shares its model program with other schools large and small.
While Baylor Law has always been centered on its students and alumni, its mission is greater than that. As the gateway to one of the country's highest professions, it's about continuing to attract the best and the brightest. It's about continually refining its programs to better prepare the next generation. And it's about an unwavering commitment to professional excellence that elevates our profession—and our nation—through great lawyers, great citizens and great leaders.
Over the years, Baylor Law has continued to shape its curriculum and fine-tune its programs to best prepare students for the obstacles and opportunities awaiting them in practice. Above and beyond, Baylor Law offers aspiring lawyers three critically-acclaimed development programs to not only propel them to success in law, but in life:
Career Development—an invaluable collection of educational programs and resources synchronized to help students identify their strengths, explore their interests, develop their career plan and connect with employers.
Professional Development—a first-of-its-kind, 3-year, comprehensive program designed to build the requisite skills to succeed in practice, while understanding and embracing the professional responsibilities that accompany it.
Leadership Development—one of only a handful of law school programs in the nation dedicated to preparing students to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their clients, their profession, and their communities.
While there are law schools with similarly named programs, few schools have committed to providing the same level of personal and professional training as Baylor Law. It's why more and more students looking for the most in-depth, real-world preparation for practice—choose Baylor Law. And why more and more employers looking for the graduates best prepared for the rigors and realities of modern practice—hire Baylor Lawyers.