The American Bar Association’s Student Lawyer magazine focused its December issue on the increasing value of leadership experience for law students’ career success. The article spotlights Elon Law’s multi-year leadership program.
“Law schools with leadership programs are not yet common. However, the reality for new lawyers requires more extensive leadership experiences,” the Student Lawyer article states. “Elon University School of Law … created a multi-year leadership development program. As 1Ls, students work in model law firms. As 2Ls, students take assignments at nonprofits and public agencies. As 3Ls, students may participate in an optional capstone project working for municipal authorities and community groups.”
Career services experts, recruiters and law firm partners provide insights in the article about what employers are seeking in new attorneys. Qualifications sought include a proven aptitude for positions of responsibility, evidence of academic pursuits and outside activities forming a coherent narrative of professionalism and civic engagement, and volunteer service in which students exhibit an ability to lead teams, make decisions well and contribute meaningfully within organizations.
“Leadership experience wouldn’t have been a factor in legal education a generation ago,” the article states. “Now, law schools are responding with leadership training that didn’t exist a few years ago.”
The article includes insights from Faith Rivers James, professor of law and director of leadership programs at Elon. In the article, Rivers James notes that Elon’s leadership program connects students with executive coaches to create personal leadership development strategies. She also notes that the program emphasizes pro bono service and competencies in productivity, efficiency and self-assessment.
The December cover story of Student Lawyer magazine will be available online soon at http://www.americanbar.org/publications/student_lawyer.html.