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Law School kicks off Leadership & Public Law course

A Winter Term course at Elon University School of Law aims to get to the heart of leadership and its importance to solving legal problems in the public law sector. The intensive two-week course will give second-year law students the chance to learn about leadership theory and apply it through work on real issues with real community partners, such as Legal Aid of North Carolina and Action Greensboro. Details...

"Leaders are formed over a long period of time, and the good ones have opportunities like these to sit back and reflect on leadership," Elon President Leo M. Lambert told students on the opening day of the Leadership & Public Law Winter Term course at the Elon law school.

The course, titled "Leadership and Public Law," began Monday, Jan. 7 and represents a crucial step in each student's journey to becoming lawyers who are civic leaders, a distinctive feature of the academic program at the law school. The course is being led by Faith Rivers, associate professor of law, and Margaret Kantlehner, associate dean for external relations.

President Lambert told students the success of businesses, communities and society depends on the development of the next generation of leaders.

"Why is leadership important?" Lambert said. "In my view, it's very simple: the difference between a nation on the rise and a nation in decline is leadership."

He told students he hopes the course will give them the chance to reflect deeply on their own leadership qualities, something he had the chance to do several years ago at a program in Colorado called Leadership at the Peak.

"That was one of the most valuable experiences of my lifetime," Lambert said. "Leaders are formed over a long period of time, and the good ones have opportunities like these to sit back and reflect on leadership."

John Alexander, Elon's Isabella Cannon Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership for 2007-2008, said leadership is different from management, but they are seldom independent of each other.

"Leadership is about communicating, motivating and creating a vision for the organization. But good leaders have to be good managers, and vice-versa."

The course will conclude Friday, Jan. 18, finishing up an intense two weeks that will include exercises on group leadership, fiscal policy and problem solving through litigation. Students will also gain practical experience through field work on Thursday, Jan. 10, working with clients such as Action Greensboro on property rights and land acquisition for a proposed greenway.

Students will work in groups to conduct additional fact finding, such as field investigations, write reports and then present their findings and recommendations on the last day of class.

David Hibbard,
1/7/2008 3:25 PM