Journal of Leadership and the Law

Introduction to the Spring 2016 Edition

From Editor-in-Chief Morgan Leigh Furman L'16

Experiential learning is the process of engaging with education in a hands-on and reflective manner.  Traditionally, the study of law has focused on the Socratic teaching method and a conventional routine of learning through reading, writing, and research assignments and structured summer internships.  However, when law students leave the classroom more frequently and gain direct exposure to the legal field, they are able to develop practical skills, engage in the culture of professionalism, and explore potential careers.  Experiential learning is not simply the practice of acquiring applicable practical knowledge, but rather, and arguably more importantly, it is a way for students to immerse themselves in an environment where they can learn specifically through making mistakes and gain valuable lessons for the future about responsibility, diligence, and integrity.  Engaging with the law, the community, and oneself through useful, real-world experiences, while still being able to grow through supervisory feedback, is an invaluable experience for modern law students as they enter the legal profession.  The Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of Leadership and the Law showcases the significance and impact of experiential learning in the context of law school and the legal profession.

Dr. Christopher Leupold, faculty advisor for the Journal of Leadership and the Law, delves into the importance of law students exploring and honing their individual learning agilities to gain the most out of every academic and practical experience.  Merima Mustafic shares her research on restorative justice reform and her theories on how to successfully re-integrate prior offenders into their communities.  Brittney Burch details how her summer experience abroad provided her with the opportunity to analyze and compare employment law in the United States and Europe.  For her Leadership Fellows Capstone Project, Jessica Richardson initiated a pro bono effort to bring legal resources to rural communities in North Carolina through student-led mobile law clinics.  Stephanie Murray, through her personal, academic, and professional endeavors, has examined an ethical framework for ensuring integrity and professionalism in the legal field.  Through her coordination of the annual Leadership Fellows programming event, the Leadership Academy, Danielle Prongay has facilitated meaningful connections between Elon Law students and local university and high school students to emphasize the significance of community involvement.  Nathaniel Cook shares his experience hosting Governor Jennifer Granholm during her visit as part of the Joseph M. Bryan Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series and speaks to the value of learning from experienced lawyer leaders.  

Each article in this issue of the Journal of Leadership and the Law highlights the significance of experiential learning.  Whether it be researching and engaging with a topic of interest from an academic perspective, analyzing the law through coursework or a summer internship, or using legal knowledge to create a lasting impact on the community, experiential learning prepares Elon Law students to enter the legal profession with innovation, resourcefulness, and applicable skills.  This issue of the Journal of Leadership and the Law seeks to explore the varying methods of experiential learning, and the students who share their experiences exemplify the value of reflective, hands-on engagement. 

I would like to thank the entire staff for their contributions, the faculty advisors for their guidance, and you, the audience, for your interest.  I hope you enjoy the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of Leadership and the Law.

Morgan Leigh Furman, L’16