The Case for Student Leadership

By Women Law Student Association

Before entering the workforce is the right time for us to develop leadership skills, such as introspection, conflict resolution, decision-making acumen, communication, and cross-cultural competence, among others. These soft skills are usually not taught in the classroom, but they are instrumental to your success in the post-law school world. We are taught to analyze problems, pick them apart, and observe them from every angle. If you hone them, these problem-solving skills can be translated into the leadership context.


As a student leader, you will be in a position in which you are interacting with your committee or board members, other leaders, fellow students, and school faculty or staff. When maneuvering through these interactions, you will find yourself adapting your communication style to the communication styles of your colleagues and clients. This will help you make seamless shifts in communication when you’re out in practice – for instance, you know that you are likely to interact differently with fellow associates than you would with a senior partner.


You will look to the organizational vision to motivate people to achieve goals and objectives together. This will help when you are in the workforce, as you will be able to look at the intrinsic goals of the firm in finding motivation, guiding your work, the work of your team, and in finding passion for an objective  which you will inevitably dedicate most of your time.


Responsibility and accountability matter. When you step into a position of leadership, you are then held responsible for the organization, your co-board members, and most importantly towards yourself. You’ll find that when you have others counting on you,  it’s important for you to make yourself trustworthy, dependable, and reliable.


Team work makes the dream work. You’ll find that there is a synergy that occurs with your fellow board members based on their different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. This helps foster constructive dissent, which in turn leads to making better organizational decisions. Learn now how to leave your personal feelings at the door, so you can effectively listen to other’s concerns, comments, and questions. In addition, when you lead a group of people, you will learn about yourself and how you interact within a team, what your leadership style is, and how your leadership style translates. If you request feedback from team members, you will glean valuable insight on what you’re doing correctly, and where you need improvement. It’s best to improve your place in a team context before stepping into an “official” professional environment.


Finally, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as recognition for your organizational accomplishments and contributions. Learning leadership skills and experiencing the accompanying growth can do wonders for one’s mental health. The positive momentum from honing these invaluable skills will inevitably influence every other aspect of your life.