Outline and Boxes on a Blue Blackground

Leadership

The role of a lawyer is to advocate, persuade, engage in difficult conversations, and work with others to resolve conflicts or to achieve a common goal. In short, lawyers must lead. Acquiring a core set of skills can transform lawyers into strategic and creative leaders with the vision to change the world for the better—and influence others to do the same.

What skills do law students need to become lawyers who lead teams and institutions effectively? 

Students learn not only to manage the everyday practice they will pursue, but also to rise to complex challenges throughout their careers. Through programs such as  Davis Polk Leadership Initiative and the Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership, Columbia Law offers courses, workshops, and research and professional development opportunities to teach students to be leaders in both the private and public sectors worldwide.
 

Why Columbia?

Take intensive courses to develop leadership skills and advance meaningful institutional and social change, such as Lawyer Leadership, Structural Change in Public Education (an immersive full-semester program in public education), and Vision, Action, and Social Change

Spearhead real-world projects to make a positive impact on the Law School community, the legal profession, and the broader community through funding and resources provided by the Davis Polk Leadership Fellowship and Innovation Grants. 

Develop essential skills around vision and strategy, management and teamwork, problem solving, and cultural literacy through workshops, coaching, training, and other programming.

Receive one-on-one mentoring from from experienced practitioners, staff, and faculty to develop leadership skills related to your career goals and aspirations.

Learn from visiting leaders-in-residence in the Reuben Mark Initiative’s In-House Counsel Program, who have served as general counsel, chief legal officers, and senior executives at top companies, such as Former Apple GC Bruce Sewell and Nike General Counsel Hilary Krane.  

“We are committed to teaching the skills that prepare students to excel in the diverse roles they will occupy over the course of their careers—as both lawyers and leaders in society.” 
Gillian Lester, Columbia Law School Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

Related Faculty

Dean Gillian Lester

Gillian Lester

  • Dean of the Faculty of Law and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law
Avery Katz

Avery W. Katz

  • Milton Handler Professor of Law and Reuben Mark Professor of Organizational Character
Susan Sturm

Susan P. Sturm

  • George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility

Related Centers and Programs

Davis Polk Leadership Initiative

Through the Davis Polk Leadership Initiative, Columbia Law offers courses, workshops, and research and professional development opportunities to teach students to be leaders in both the private and public sectors worldwide. Students learn not only to manage the everyday practice they will pursue, but also to rise to complex challenges throughout their careers.

The Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership In-House Counsel Program

The Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership leverages the intellectual capital of Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School to design courses and programs that teach the leadership skills and strategies necessary to create an optimal organizational culture. The initiative’s In-House Counsel Program offers students innovative and rich courses, research, and programming exploring the role of the in-house counsel as strategic partners and leaders within companies and organizations.

Center for Public Research and Leadership

The Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) aims to revitalize public education while filling substantial gaps in professional education. CPRL’s rigorous coursework, skills training, and research and consulting projects prepare graduate students in law, business, and public policy for careers in the education sector. With an eye toward improving outcomes for all children, CPRL utilizes the latest techniques in education, such as organizational design, democratic accountability, team-based problem-solving skills, and socio-emotional learning. Students can also participate in a semster-long intensive around transformational change in public education by enrolling in the Public Education Policy Lab-Seminar and Skills courses. 

 

Columbia Law School Mindfulness Program

Founded in 2017, the Columbia Law School Mindfulness Program is a community of faculty, staff, and students committed to the practice of mindful awareness and the examination of how it informs our understanding of law and lawyering.

Areas of Study

Close up of the columns of the Supreme Court building with an American flag and the US Capitol in the background

Public Interest/Public Service

No matter what your area of interest, find ways to incorporate public interest and public service into your academic program and career.

Academics Careers

Related Student Groups and Journals

  • Harlem Tutorial Project
  • High School Law Institute
  • Loquitur Mentoring Youth Through Legal Education
  • Negotiation Association
  • Society of Law and Ethics

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