Journal of Leadership and the Law

Introduction to the Winter 2015 Edition

From editors-in-chief Ernest Lewis, Jr. and Shoshanna Silverberg

Ernest LewisI write this letter in a swirl of emotion. This season is a time of gratitude and thanksgiving. I am at a lost trying to control and understand the many emotions that stem from the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, and the many other incidents of questionable uses of police force that have occurred in the past year. I am angry and frustrated as citizen and as a law student. While this letter is not the proper platform to delve into the complexities, ambiguities, or the painful realities of each case—lawyers and law students are part of a profession that has the specific responsibility to respond to injustice. We must be the gatekeepers of justice. We must lead from where stand. This type of leadership is about wholeness and the law is our chosen platform to walk out whole lives to the benefit of our communities.

Leadership is more like an iceberg. Icebergs are often measured by what is seen at the surface. I know that I have been perceived to have everything together because of being in law school or being perceived as intelligent. But, there is far more to me as a law student. This perception is problematic because we miss what lies beneath the surface in all of us. Leadership is concerned with whole people and whole communities. This is what the Elon Law Leadership Fellows seek to be about. Making an impact on our spheres of influence that capitalize on our natural gifts and talents. This requires a focus on wholeness and authentic living, which I am proud that this issue will highlight.

The law is simply the platform. Who we are as whole people is much deeper than that. The study of law is at its best when students, professors and practitioners remember that what we do exists in a context. This context carries with it a responsibility of awareness and wholeness. This issue will demonstrate that very fact.

The diversity of articles and perspectives of our authors demonstrate the many directions of law. We have highlighted Animal Rights, women in leadership, two former students and their work in different areas, and more. It is my hope that this opens the door to deeper discussions about the power, diversity, and impact of the law.

I want to say that it has been an honor to be a co-editor-in-chief of Elon’s Journal on Leadership and the Law. This fourth issue will mark a transformative shift in what the Journal is and will be in the future. I want to thank the past editors for their work and laying the foundation. I want to thank my co-editor, Shoshanna, for being a supportive and challenging voice for the group. I want to thank our amazing team of writers and student editors, your enthusiasm has kept my fires stoked as an editor. Thank you to every staff person and faculty member that assisted us. Finally, I hope that you all visit our journal and are inspired by the amazing work that is happening at Elon University School of Law.

Much of this publication was written in November, 2014. As we shifted our publication from the fall semester to the spring semester, I wanted to add a brief postscript. This journal will highlight just a small part of diversity of what Elon University School of Law is all about. Much of what we do, almost all of what we do as law students and lawyers, needs to be outwardly focus. This does not mean that we neglect ourselves, to the contrary, in order to serve, we must as a profession seek to be whole people.

Shoshanna SilverbergToday’s law students, and Elon’s in particular, are diverse.  We vary in our ages, backgrounds, and interests.  What we share is the experience of legal education.  And taking on the challenge of law school is a major event in one’s life.  This seems to be the case whether students are twenty-three year old grads just out of university or adults in their mid- or late twenties all the way to folks whose years behind them are greater than the age of most of their peers. 

At Elon, we also promote diverse perspectives on leadership. This means making self-awareness a priority, and understanding that what makes us valuable as individuals is what we have to contribute to the field of law and society as a whole. 

In this issue we try to highlight ways that Elon students are growing as individuals and engaging as whole people in their legal education.  We believe that what these students are doing – who they are – embodies the type of leadership that law needs in the twenty-first century.   

Our pieces in this issue highlight student engagement in the community, both in terms of contributions to the legal profession through legal work, and through more creative, multi-disciplinary work that impacts the field, and within that, legal education.  Pieces range from conversations filmed at Elon’s recent Symposium on Experiential Learning in Legal Education to student reflections about the status of gender roles, to observations about the nature of collaboration and the role that hierarchy helpfully (or not so helpfully) can play in this arena.  We include interviews with those who are taking a lead creatively, including alumnus Tyrone Davis, and the way his work in environmentalism and commitment to institutional change recently brought him to the White House.   We’ve profiled students who are addressing the ‘wellness crisis’ in legal education through new media, the question of where emerging fields such as neuroscience enter the discourse of law, and those who are advocating for business practices that support the rights of animals. 

We are running a gamut here in the hopes of showcasing what Elon Law students are doing in the world to share the gift of their education and to make the world we all share one that is better for us all. 

Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy.