Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2021

Publication Title

Baylor Law Review


leadership, legal education, legal profession, justice


“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born—that there is a genetic factor to leadership. . . That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”

“Lawyers are in the anomalous position of serving as leaders but generally lacking leadership training and skills. Competency in lawyering skills often functions as a proxy for leadership skills, despite the evidence that leadership skills are distinct and may take years to develop. Our neglect of leadership skills is reaching crisis proportions because nearly half of all current law firm partners will retire within the next ten years, creating an urgent need for new leaders whose skills are presently undeveloped and untested.”

“It is ironic that the occupation most responsible for producing America’s leaders has focused so little attention on that role. . . Although leadership development is now a forty-five-billion-dollar industry, and an Amazon search reveals close to 88,000 leadership books in print, the topic is largely missing in legal education. . . The legal profession attracts a large number of individuals with the ambition and analytic capabilities to be leaders, but frequently fails to develop other qualities that are essential to effectiveness. The focus of legal education and the reward structure of legal practice undervalues interpersonal capabilities and ethical commitments that are necessary for successful leadership.”

“In a globalized economy, lawyers who focus just on a technical professionalism are increasingly like a commoditized service that can be secured from suppliers world-wide at lower prices. In contrast, a lawyer who internalizes a moral core of professional formation over a career will benefit from excellent trustworthiness, relationship skills, teamwork skills and persuasive communication that flows from a deep understanding of others.”