As an attorney, I spend plenty of time thinking about what it means to work inside an adversarial system, and I believe competitiveness - at least for those of us who practice trial law - is one of, if not the biggest reasons many of us enjoy working in the legal field.
Now, I don’t think any of us doubt the fact that competitiveness will inherently generate some need for leadership skills.
Even from a young age, kids who show the most competitive drive are the ones who make team captain, school president - and this isn’t a bad thing.
But as my guest points out, that kind of competitive leadership is balanced by cooperation.
Yet, the practice of law demands constant skepticism, the ability to create multiple narratives.
And while these are great qualities in an attorney, they can also be the qualities of the micro-manager from hell.
Balancing cooperation and skepticism is only one of the many unique challenges when it comes to leadership in the law, but thankfully Donald Polden literally teaches the class on this subject.
Donald Polden is Dean Emeritus and Professor at Santa Clara University’s School of Law where for nearly two decades he has served students and the larger community.
Dean Polden practiced antitrust and corporate law for several years and has taught courses in federal antitrust law, corporate and federal securities law, and employment law.
And for the interest of our conversation today, he also teaches leadership skills and theory to law students and lawyers.
We discuss how the next generation of lawyers views leadership, how different situations can call for different styles of leadership, and even manage to squeeze in some self-deprecating legal humor.
Enjoy the show!