With Professor Rishi Batra at the helm as director, the Academy for Leadership in the Legal Profession has begun its inaugural year. Known on campus as ALLP, the program strives to prepare Texas Tech Law students to become effective leaders in the legal profession and greater community.
ALLP’s missions and core competencies were developed from both research and recommendations received during alumni focus groups. Consensus emerged that new lawyers need outstanding professional communication skills, an appreciation and understanding of the business side of law, the ability to work both independently and in teams, and effective time and task management.
Many law students seem to agree. On August 26, 150 students attended the informational session in Lanier Auditorium. They were briefed on the basic structure of the three-year program. First-year students participate primarily in lunchtime leadership lectures and complete leadership assessments, such as StrengthsQuest. Second-year students add small-group workshops and book discussion groups. Third-year students must design and implement an innovative leadership project.
During the program, students must earn credits and demonstrate competencies in four areas: leadership theory, ethics, personal impact (such as persuading others to join in goals and providing appropriate, impactful feedback), and professional communication and technology.
Speakers secured for this semester include Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance; Linda Swindling, CSP (’91); Casey Flaherty, associate general counsel for Kia Motors; and Emily Parker, managing partner at Thompson & Knight LLP.
As ALLP’s inaugural leadership lecturer, Chancellor Hance regaled students with stories from his time as a private practice attorney. One primary message was that leaders plan and anticipate. Another was that good lawyers know all the facts of their case and are not surprised. A third message was to listen carefully to and learn from your clients.
Alumna Linda Swindling, CSP (’91) advised students about how to navigate difficult workplace challenges through effective communication. Casey Flaherty, associate general counsel for Kia Motors, addressed students on the importance of professional communication and technology. He also led a small-group workshop on how computer-assisted audits may impact law-firm billing practices.
In October, Emily Parker, who was previously Acting Chief Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel for the IRS, will talk about developing sponsors who can help advance your career and about differences between men and women in workplace perceptions.
ALLP’s practical, hands-on leadership experience appeals to the motivated Tech Law student base. “The ALLP program serves as a bridge between two mindsets — those who look to leaders, and those who look to lead,” said Board of Barristers Chairman Jefferson Fisher (’14). “It prepares us to adopt the latter mindset by learning from some of the most distinguished legal minds. I look forward to applying these lessons to my personal journey to leadership.”