Leadership for Lawyers

Teaching Lawyers to be Leaders and Innovators

A.  Purpose

The purpose of this skills-oriented class will be to encourage and develop Santa Clara Law Students for leadership positions in their roles as Lawyers and members of society. Lawyers, more frequently than any other profession, take on many leadership roles in society, from members of state and local governing bodies, to members of Congress, to representation on non-profit boards. Yet lawyers have little or no training in good leadership skills. The role of a lawyer as a creative, effective and ethical contributor to society is an important one. The late John Gardner, Stanford Professor, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Johnson and the founder of Common Cause, stated there are four goals of moral leadership.

  1. Releasing human potential
  2. Balancing the needs of the individual and the community
  3. Defending the fundamental values of the community
  4. Instilling in individuals a sense of initiative and responsibility

As pointed out by Santa Clara’s own Leadership Educator, Barry Posner, “It is our collective task to liberate the leader within each and every one of us… it is possible for everyone to lead” (The Leadership Challenge). One of the fundamental insights established by the leadership research is that leadership can be taught. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. They contribute to their organizations and society in valuable ways. It should be the job of legal education to give our students the tools to make positive change and to become effective leaders.

The class will build on the Mission Statement of SCU Law School by implementing the vision that one of the purposes of a legal education is to develop leaders. Most importantly, this course has its foundation in the tradition of academic leadership at SCU Law School, which is to direct our students to a higher purpose; to provide them with an ethical prospective of contributing to the legal system in which they will work and in the communities in which they live. The course will continue to develop our students as Leaders in the community and help in fulfilling the Mission of the Law School and its dedication to:

  1. The training of lawyers with uncompromising standards of excellence in service to their clients and to society;
  2. An emphasis on ethical considerations in the legal process;
  3. A diverse community of men and women devoted to freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression;
  4. Excellence in teaching and scholarly research;
  5. A balance of the rigorous and the humane in student-teacher relationships;
  6. A curriculum addressing the fundamental demands of law practice and the evolving needs of society;
  7. Endeavors outside the University that reflect high moral standards and professional excellence. (Mission Statement of Santa Clara Law School).

This class will focus on:

  1. Providing a basic understanding of the primary leadership theories that exist.
  2. Studying legal and ethical issues that arise in current public and private situations. (Private; Public – Government, Legislative, Executive and Judicial Leadership)
  3. Studying Lawyers, as role models, who have created positive change.
    • Public Leadership – Lincoln, Gandhi, and modern day lawyers
    • Civil Rights – examples: Thurgood Marshall
    • Entrepreneurial Lawyers and Leadership
    • Judicial Leadership
    • Non-Profit Legal Leadership
      • The use of law and institutions for positive change
      • Board leadership
      • Social entrepreneurship
  4. Developing student leadership skills and styles with exercises and skill assessment.
  5. Equipping students to be strong leaders.

B. Course Specifics

The class, Leadership for Lawyers, will be given as a credit/no credit 2 unit class. It will be similar to other skill based courses, such as Negotiations, where there are lectures, Guest Speakers, as well as exercises and skill building evaluations. It will also be required that the students draft a series of short papers or commentaries regarding their own skill development in areas which will include: communication, influencing others, decisions making, creative thinking and team building.

C. Texts, Articles and Publications

The class material will be unique. We will use The Leading Lawyer, by Robert Cullen and  extensive academic and scholarly literature on the issue of leadership. The materials will cover topics in primarily in five areas:

  1. Leadership Theories and Models
  2. Development of Leadership Skills
  3. The Role of Lawyers as Leaders
  4. Profiles of Lawyers, as Leaders, who have created positive change.
  5. Ethics

Professor Robert W. Cullen
Course 521 – Spring 2015
(408) 674-5647


I. Overview

The goal of this course is to improve both your understanding of leadership principles and your effectiveness as a leader. The learning that occurs in the class will be highly dependent upon the contributions of each and every member. We will approach learning in several different ways, including lecture, case studies, experiential activities, guest speakers, exercises, and writing. Because so much of what you and your colleagues’ learn depends on you, it is important that you prepare and participate fully.

II. Course Materials

  1. Leadership, Enhancing the Lessons of Experience
  2. The Leading Lawyer, Cullen
  3. Various Additional Readings on Clara Net (claranet.scu.edu)
  4. Leadership for Lawyers Class Site (www.leadership4lawyers.com)

III. Course Requirements

  1. Attendance and Preparation: Your attendance and preparation are critical in the course. It will be important to come to class prepared and to actively participate in discussions. This will provide the most benefit to you and your classmates.
  2. Participation: This is a discussion course and it will be helpful if everyone participates. Also, if you have creative ideas on how to explore the materials and subject matter in an interesting and entertaining way, please let me know.
  3. Policy on Laptop use in Class: Given the nature of this course, laptops are not to be used in class unless specifically authorized on a particular day. A laptop can be used by the student assigned taking notes.
  4. Requirements:
    • Take extensive notes on one class for the class website: Each student will take well organized notes for one class, work with one or two others for that class, summarize the notes and e-mail them to Wilma Bennett wbennett@jsilogistics.comto be posted on the L4L class website. There will be 13 classes for note taking. The objective is to maintain a complete record of the notes from each class. Class notes MUST be written within 6 days after the class (before the next class), and then e-mailed to Wilma. Notes should contain the following:
      • topics discussed in class
      • an outline or summary of the information presented
      • lessons learned
    • Personal Best Leadership Case: Write a Personal Best Leadership Case, and take the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) developed by Kouzes and Posner.
    • Take several assessments: Kiersey, Strengths Indicator and others.
    • In a group setting with 4-5 others, you will complete a class project. This can be an individual or group project where 4-5 students will actually perform a project for the benefit of a non profit or some other organization. You may have a cause of great personal interest, or you may plan one brainstorming sessions with classmates.
    • Draft a summary of the Project and give a presentation.
  • Over the semester you will identify your leadership topic, collect new data on that topic, analyze the data, and write-up the results of your project. The written report will prompt you to consolidate your learning and begin to put your data and ideas into a format that enables them to have impact in the legal world and/or in the world of leadership studies. Our final class sessions will be devoted to project presentations at which time you will have the opportunity to orally present highlights of your research project and your findings.
    • If we have time—Each student must give their Elevator Speech or Give A Two minute Informational, Motivational or Persuasive Speech to the Class

IV. Grading

This is a Credit/No Credit class. However, you will need to participate in each of these areas in order to obtain credit for this class: class participation (1/3); class presentation and note taking (1/3); and your leadership paper (1/3).

Week 1: January 15, 2014

Introduction to Leadership

  1. Class Introductions
    • Name, experience, aspirations
    • Leader who has had impact on your life & why
  2. What is Leadership?
    • Group brainstorm list of Great Attorney Traits
    • Group brainstorm list of Leadership Traits
    • Group Brainstorm list of Skills for Attorneys
    • Group Brainstorm list of Skills for Leaders
    • Small groups work in definition of Leadership – NOT LIST OF TRAITS
    • Leadership is the ability to…
    • Groups then report back to the larger group
    • Look for similarities and differences among the definitions
  3. Who do we Lead?
    • Leadership of Self
    • Leadership of Others
    • Leadership of Organizations
    • Leadership in our Communities and Society
  4. Win as much as you can—Exercise
  5. The Leadership Model:
    • Vision
    • Share Vision, Innovate, Clarify
    • Plan, Align, Set Standards, Goals, Communicate and Take ACTION
    • Collaborate, Include, Persuade, Communicate even more
    • Focus on Performance, Develop People and Process, Learn, Improve Change Management, Measure
    • Reassess, Adjust, Reaffirm, Realign, Improve Vision
  6. Class Assignments:
    • Class Project—and final presentation
    • Assessments
    • Resume
    • LinkedIn profile
    • Note taking
    • Laptop policy
    • Journal—3S

Week 2: January 22, 2014

Leadership Introduction

  1. Introduction to Leadership for Lawyers
    • Read: Chapter One –The Leading Lawyer
    • Read: Chapter One — Leadership Textbook
  2. Assignments—Leadership of Self

Week 3: January 29, 2014


  1. Self Leadership: What is your vision
  1. Leadership of Organizations: Developing a Shared Vision
    • Read: Leadership Text Chapter 16- 657-661
    • Read: Strategies for Creating a Shared Vision-Drop Box
    • Class Assignment: Create a Firm Mission Statement
  1. Continue Discussion: Projects—Pick teams and begin an action plan

Week 4 February

Self Leadership — Leadership Frameworks

  1. Leadership Development
  2. Read Leadership Text: Chapter 2
  3. Read Chapter  2 and 3 Cullen
  4. Read:  SCU Competency Model—Drop Box
  5. Leading Self – Competencies
    • Professionalism
    • Continuous Learning—Professional Development
    • Strive for Excellence
    • Taking Action
    • Self Motivation
    • Perseverance- Grit
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Innovation
  6. Leadership Frameworks
    • Read Leadership Text Book 188-192; 201-210

Week 5 February

  1. Team Work
    • Read:  Cullen Book Chapter 7
    • Read: Speed Read/Skim Leadership Text Chapter 10 and Read pages 448-462
  1. Communication and Persuasion
    • Cullen Chapter 6
    • Art of Persuasion in Drop Box
    • Persuasion- Caldini in Drip Box
    • Assignment Take the Influence Strategies Exercise on Claranet – Chart it and come prepared to talk about it.

Week 6: Feb 19

Challenging the Process and Leading Change

  1.  Challenge the Process
    • Read: Thurgood Marshall Article Chapter 20
    • Leading Change  by Kotter
    • What Leaders Really Do  by Kotter 

Week 7:  Feb 26

Lead by Example

  1. Read the Gandhi Case Study
  2. Be Prepared to discuss the Case


  1. How Leaders Use and Create Net works
  2. Social Networking for Lawyers

March 5th Spring Break

Week 8: March 12th

  1. Lead by Example and Networking continued

Week 9: March 19th: Communication and Persuasion

  1. Take the Influence Questionnaire and Assessment—come prepared to talk about it.
  2. Read the Influence Strategies Work book.
  3. Read the Necessary Art of Persuasion– by Jay Conger.

Week 10: March 26th:  Guest – Judge Peter Kirwan

Week 11: April 2nd

Leaders as Decision Makers– Empowerment

  1. Read Deborah Rhode –  Chapter 3 –Leadership—Decision Making
  2. Empowerment:  The Empowering Principal–International Journal of Teacher Leadership Volume 2, Number 2, Winter 2009

Week 12: April 9 

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

  1. An Exploration of Social Entrepreneurship–Asian Social Science Vol. 6, No. 6; June 2010
  2. Innovators DNA– Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen- HBR 2010

Week 13:   April 16

Innovation – Creative Thinking and Design Thinking for Lawyers

  1. Skim: Design Thinking for Tool kit Educators
  2. Read: Design Thinking for Social Innovation
  3. Read: HBR Design Thinking
  4. Design Thinking for Lawyers

Week 14:  April 23, 2014

  1. Class Presentations on Projects
  2. Read:  How will you Measure Your life?  April 23

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“The Leading Lawyer, a Guide to Practicing Law and Leadership”  – Robert Cullen


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