Monday, May 23, 2022

Teaching Leadership to Transactional Business Lawyers

The edited (and annotated) transcript of my 2021 "Try This" session from the 7th Biennial Conference on the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills ("Emerging from the Crisis: The Future of Transactional Law and Skills Education," hosted virtually by Emory Law in the spring of 2021) was recently published.  Leadership for the Transactional Business Law Student, 23 Transactions: Tenn. J. Bus. L. 311 (2022), offers background and tips on teaching leadership to transactional business law students.  The substantive part of the SSRN abstract follows.

We do not always acknowledge this in legal education, but our students are learning to be leaders, because lawyers are leaders. That is as true of transactional business lawyers as it is of litigators, lawyers who hold political or regulatory appointments, lawyers engaged with compliance, and lawyers in general advisory practices. Yet, most law schools do little, if anything, to teach law students about leadership, or allow them to explore the contours and practices of lawyer leadership.

This edited transcript explains the importance of teaching leadership skills, traits, and processes to transactional business law students and offers insights on how instructors in a law school setting might engage in that kind of teaching as part of what they do. . . .

Edited transcripts of interactive teaching sessions at conferences are imperfect communication tools.  But I hope the publication of my teaching forum offers some food for thought for fellow business law profs (and maybe others).  I continue to explore teaching law leadership in specific and general settings.  Along those lines, I will have more to say about teaching leadership in law schools in a future post featuring my recently published piece in the Santa Clara Law Review on teaching change leadership, which I mentioned in an earlier post on Teaching Leadership in/and Law.

Joan Heminway, Law School, Lawyering, Teaching | Permalink


Think this is a wonderful endeavor. Nothing that you necessarily can do in an academic setting, but it would be so much more beneficial if the students had more "life experience." In mentoring younger lawyers, there is most certainly a "legal analysis" contribution; but, I tend to find the mentees need more "perspective." Despite questions arising, I believe that the clinics help on the "skills" side; but, well, without more seasoning its hard to explain as a concept of leadership, " gotta know when to 'hold'em' and know when to 'fold'em.'" Leadership, as so true with other things, is often situational ("carrot or stick").

Posted by: Tom N. | May 25, 2022 10:47:05 AM

Yes, Tom. Leadership is situational. It can be taught in many settings--experiential ones and others. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in responding to this this.

Posted by: joanheminway | May 25, 2022 10:09:39 PM

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