Leadership Courses: Paving the Path for Future Attorneys

Written by: Dean Rosemary Queenan, Albany Law School; and Dean Mary Walsh Fitzpatrick, Esq.


There is a call to action to provide students with the opportunity to build leadership skills. This call originates, in part, from the changing legal services environment and the recognition that lawyers need to know more than the law: they need to master many disciplines that are commonly and collectively referred to as “leadership” skills. Broken down into its separate parts, leadership may include communication, teambuilding, organization, presentation, active listening skills, and a cadre of emotional intelligence competencies.

To answer the call, Albany Law School has developed and added to its course offerings a new Lawyers as Leaders course, which is being taught collaboratively by Mary Walsh Fitzpatrick, Assistant Dean for the Career and Professional Development Center and Rosemary Queenan, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The course will use skills-building exercises and constructive feedback to allow students to practice leadership skills. Students will create their own organizations and will be assigned to take on leadership roles in performing certain tasks including identifying a vision for their organization, managing and working with teams, making difficult decisions, navigating difficult conversations, presenting and communicating effectively and problem solving.

Our first class focused on a discussion of the work of Carol Dweck, Ph. D., Peter Senge, Ph. D., and Daniel Goleman, Ph. D., on mindset, emotional intelligence, and leadership styles, in the context of our broader discussion of what makes a great leader. With this introduction, students were asked to assess and identify their own leadership styles and emotional intelligence attributes. Each organization was also asked to research a leader in business or law and present on that leader’s failures and successes in leadership.

We are looking forward to this first-of-its-kind course to be offered at Albany Law School and are confident that every student will benefit in some way from the experience. Stay tuned, as we will provide updates on our progress and outcomes along the way!

One Response

  1. I totally agree with this post. Attorneys receive more and more leadership opportunities in industry, education and elsewhere.

    For me, the work of Pat Lencioni proved most helpful in my leadership positions.

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