Institute for Lawyer Leadership Education

law students with Dorian Daley J.D. '86

Oracle GC Dorian Daley and law student attendees at Advancing Leadership symposium.

Leadership matters. In nearly every aspect of public and private life, the ability to inspire others to work towards positive and ethical change is critical to the success of organizations, businesses and communities, and other groups. Leadership also is critical to the success of our political and governmental institutions because people want to believe in the ability of their leaders to guide change and achieve success. The same is true for lawyers whether in private law practice, government service, work with nonprofit entities or other areas where lawyers use their skills and knowledge. Leadership involves skills and competencies that are essential for success in the practice of law and in other occupations and callings that lawyers fulfill. It is therefore surprising that leadership is not taught in most American law schools and that only a few, but visionary, law firms are developing leadership skills in their lawyers in a systematic way. What accounts for this gap between the skills necessary for success in a client-service and value-driven profession and the educational objectives of both the professional education and practice regimes?

Leadership abilities can be taught and can be learned and developed and, since 2009, Santa Clara Law has offered leadership development courses for its students and offered leadership education programs and activities for lawyers, judges and law students. This website provides information about this significant initiative by faculty and staff members at Santa Clara’s law school and access to many of the resources that have been developed by experts in the field of leadership education for lawyers. This information includes course syllabi from several law school leadership courses, materials from leadership conferences and symposia, and information about some of the leading teachers and scholars in this field. We are sharing this information with the hope that leadership is taught more pervasively in law schools and lawyers’ leadership abilities are common parts of the expectations of lawyers. Please contact members of the Santa Clara Lawyer Leadership Education initiative if you would like additional information about developing courses or programs in leadership education for lawyers, judges or law students.

Santa Clara Law Leadership Institute Faculty

Contact the Institute for Lawyer Leadership Education:

Donald J. Polden, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law
(408) 554-4768