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Santa Clara Law Review




Law schools across the country are beginning to address the growing need to incorporate leadership training into their curricula; however, very few explicitly cover leadership in the 1L year. This article argues for the value of providing leadership training to 1Ls as part of a required course on professional identity formation. Because foundational leadership concepts overlap in meaningful ways with core lawyering competencies, such integration is both practical and efficient. Beginning leadership in the 1L year allows law schools to build on that foundational material in later clinics, externships, upper-level classes, and other experiences, creating deeper leadership skills in their students. In addition, providing 1Ls with competency-focused leadership training can also provide a number of benefits to both students and the institution, including helping students improve their academic performance in their first year and reframing their experience to emphasize the development of skills that will help them interview most effectively for the jobs they want. In addition, leadership training can help 1Ls better process and deal with the normal challenges and pressures of law school that create mental health problems for many students. In fact, emphasizing those related benefits of 1L leadership training—specifically, helping students improve their grades and more effectively identify careers that are a good fit for them—may be the strongest selling points of such a program to many students.

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University of Santa Clara School of Law

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