Leadership conference draws educators, lawyers from across the country

Leaders in legal education who came together at the University of Tennessee on April 4-5 gained insight into how to incorporate leadership training into their law schools.

The event, hosted by the College of Law’s Institute for Professional Leadership and Director Doug Blaze, was designed to expand conversations.

“There is increasing need for leadership training in law school and the profession, and fortunately, a growing number of law schools are responding,” Blaze said. “So we are pleased to bring together the folks that are involved, or interested in becoming involved, to share their ideas, experiences, and research.”

A few of the topics discussed during the two-day event included collaborating with student affairs and career services, integrating well-being into curriculum, starting a leadership program, developing exercises to enhance leadership training, and establishing race and gender equity within the profession.  

Some of the presenters and moderators included Bob Carlson, president of the American Bar Association; Cheri Beasley, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice; Garry Jenkins, dean of the University of Minnesota Law School; Donald Poden, director of the Center for Global Law and Policy at Santa Clara University School of Law; Deborah Rhode, director of the Stanford Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession; Leah Jackson Teague, associate dean at Baylor University College of Law; and Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admission Council.

In his address to attendees on Thursday, Carlson reminded the crowd that eyes are focused on the legal profession.

“The world is watching what we in this country do,” he said. “Aspiring lawyers, law students, and young lawyers are watching us. Our institutions are strong, but they are not invincible. They require the support and protection of each and every one of us to endure.”

 Carlson said more than ever students need strong leaders “to shape them into the public citizens that our rules of professional conduct call on us to be.”

“Whatever the storms around us, we must always demonstrate civility, maintain our dignity, and encourage respect for our institutions of law and values of justice,” he said.

More than 70 legal educators from across the United States attended the event.