At William & Mary, we believe that lawyers are in a unique position to effect positive change in their organizations, their communities, and beyond. Whatever students’ career goals may be, we encourage them to reach their full potential by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to serve as citizen lawyers and successful leaders.
The William & Mary Law School Leadership Institute provides a special opportunity for select first-year students to identify and develop their innate leadership skills early in their legal careers.
Approximately twenty first-year students are invited to participate in the Institute based on their law school application materials. We seek to bring together students with varied backgrounds and experiences who demonstrate leadership potential, but past leadership experience is not a requirement. Many Institute participants have been inspired to assume leadership roles during their law school careers in organizations such as the Black Law Students Association, the Latino Law Students Association, the Student Bar Association, the Women’s Law Society, and many others. Some have started their own student groups or organizations or found other ways of practicing leadership in their communities.
Each fall, the Institute welcomes its new class with an overnight retreat, created in consultation with Lead Star, a Northern Virginia–based leadership development consulting firm. During this retreat, students have an opportunity to get to know other members of the group, explore and challenge their own views on leadership, and participate in group discussions and interactive skill-building exercises.
Throughout the school year, students meet once per month to continue learning about a wide range of topics, such as critical thinking and resiliency. We also focus on issues of particular importance to modern-day leaders, such as the value of diversity, conflict, and collective intelligence. In addition to learning from one another, students have the opportunity to meet and hear from our Institute graduates as well as from various professionals and leadership experts. Previous guest speakers have included individuals from a wide variety of disciplines, such as judges, politicians, journalists, and professors of business and the social sciences.
For more information about the W&M Law School Leadership Institute, please contact Professor [[laheym,Laura Heymann]] or Professor [[ejhendrickson,Erin Hendrickson]].