In a 2014 survey of legal aid, county government, small firms, and large firms, all four types of employers agreed that five competencies are critically important in deciding when to hire someone: integrity/honesty/trustworthiness; good judgment; analytical skills; initiative/drive/strong work ethic; and commitment to the firm or department and its goals or values. (See Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Meaningful Employment at page 32.)
The fact is, in a competitive marketplace you must be a unique candidate who brings more than knowledge of the law and ability to practice law.
Developing and demonstrating that you have so-called soft skills can be difficult. Thoughtful course selection matters – you should consider courses where you’ll develop these skills and establish relationships with faculty members who can attest to your skills. Law 768: Leadership and the Law: The Habits of Highly Effective Lawyer-Leaders, taught by Dean Fisher during this upcoming Fall semester, is one of these courses. Offered for two credits, the course will challenge you to develop core leadership skills, and serve as a platform for demonstrating that you’re professionally prepared beyond knowledge of the law. Guest lectures by successful leaders will expand your network; group presentations will help you hone critical communication skills.
The course description in CampusNet explains: There is extensive literature on how leaders are developed, and how leadership can be learned. Yet lawyers typically have little training in leadership. This course seeks to help our students become effective leaders, counselors, and managers in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. The course will have a particular emphasis on using law as a vehicle for social, organizational, and business change. Topics will include characteristics and styles of leadership, strategic planning, managing growth and change, public speaking, motivating people and teams, decision making, conflict management, entrepreneurship, innovation, diversity, ethical responsibilities, and collaboration. Students will use a combination of readings, project work, problems, exercises, case studies, group presentations, media clips, and guest lectures by successful leaders to learn the core competencies necessary to become a successful leader. Available for Upper Level Writing credit.
There are still spots available in the course; contact the Office of Career Planning if you’d like to discuss how to adjust your Fall semester schedule to accommodate the course.