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Leading in Law


Leading in Law

Leadership Development for Law Students

by Donald J. Polden, Barry Z. Posner

Forthcoming February 2022 paper

ISBN978-1-5310-2100-9
e-ISBN978-1-5310-2101-6

2021 Teacher's Manual forthcoming

Tags: Law School Study Aids, Lawyering Skills/Study Aids, Professionalism/Law Practice


Leading in Law provides a comprehensive treatment of leadership education and development for law students. The book is designed for law schools and legal educators to prepare their students to exercise leadership in law firms and legal organizations, as well as other roles they will play in society.

There is a dearth of books and instructional materials on lawyer leadership and especially about how law students can learn about and hone their leadership skills during law school. Leading in Law offers a research-based approach to developing these skills at a behavioral, rather than conceptual, level. In the law school market, this is the only text on lawyer leadership that offers a systematic and practical approach to leadership development and provides a thorough consideration of the context and challenges associated with being a leader and providing leadership in law settings.

The book draws upon a leadership development model, which is evidence-based, practical, and used extensively in other professional disciplines (e.g., business, healthcare, and education). Leadership is considered within the context and challenges associates with effective team building, ethics, decision-making, innovation, diversity and inclusion, adversity, and emotional intelligence. Moreover, key aspects of effective leadership by lawyers—not only for lawyers with a firm or legal office but also for lawyers as public servants, in nonprofit organizations, and in many other “callings” where lawyers function—are identified and described.

Chapters begin with a roadmap of key ideas (“The Lead-In”) and conclude with a summary section (“Following Through”). The individual chapters present current research findings, case studies provided by law school students, and practical guidelines for thinking and behaving as a lawyer leader. At the end of each chapter are a set of questions (“Reflections”) meant to stimulate students to think more deeply about the materials presented in the chapter. Reflection questions can be discussed in a classroom or group setting or be assigned as exercises to advance students’ appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be a lawyer who provides leadership and makes a difference.

The Teacher’s Guidebook provides a host of instructional materials, including cases and hypotheticals. Classroom discussion topics and experiential exercises are provided, along with supplemental reading suggestions.


Complimentary Copy RequestIf you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.


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