Discussion Groups provide an in-depth discussion of a topic by a small group of invited discussants selected in advance by the Annual Meeting Program Committee. In addition to the invited discussants, additional discussants were selected through a Call for Participation. There will be limited seating for audience members to observe the discussion groups on a first-come, first-served basis.
history, lawyers have played critical leadership roles in both the public and
private sector. In our own country, no other profession accounts for more
leaders. Thirty-five of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in
1787 were lawyers. Twenty-five of the 44 United States presidents have been
lawyers. The occupation with the largest representation in U.S. Congress is the
legal profession. In every aspect of
American society, lawyers lead. Lawyers serve as heads of government, business,
and nonprofit organizations, and play leadership roles in many aspects of their
Yet not all
lawyers are well prepared for their roles, and their influence in some contexts
may be declining. For example, the percentage of U.S. Congresspersons who are
lawyers is down. In the 114th Congress, 159 of 435 U.S. Representatives had
legal degrees, down from 177 in 1996. In a 2013 Pew Research Center poll, about
a third of Americans said that lawyers contributed little or nothing to
society — the worst record of any of the professions surveyed.
is mentioned in the mission statements of many law schools, and many law
schools expect their students will be actively engaged in their communities in
a variety of leadership capacities. Yet formal leadership training has not been
part of traditional law school experience.
some signs of change: a growing number of law schools have introduced
leadership development into their programming and curriculum to help prepare
students for their future roles as lawyer leaders. This discussion group will
include a diverse group of legal educators and other professionals from around
the U.S. who are working on leadership development.