CSU C|M|LAW Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program


A limited number of first year law students are chosen for the Dean's Leadership Fellows Program through an application process during the first year of law school. Selection into the Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program is competitive and based on strong academic achievement, leadership qualities and potential, a commitment to active participation in the Program, and a commitment to our values of Learn Law. Live Justice. 


Core leadership skills transcend occupational lines, and these skills can be learned through study and practice. The legal profession supplies a large portion of people who take up leadership positions in government, business, nonprofits, and law firms, but law students and lawyers typically receive little training in leadership characteristics and skills.

By participating in the program, each Fellow has the unique opportunity to build on their skills and talents to become an effective leader, counselor, and manager in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. The program has a particular emphasis on using law as a vehicle for social, organizational, and business change.


Our Dean's Leadership Fellows Program equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to address important public policy and social challenges and to lead in their communities and beyond. Fellows have the special opportunity to interact with prominent national, state, and local leaders to explore issues in leadership and the law through regular small, interactive roundtable discussions at the law school and in the community.

Dean’s Fellows also may apply to serve as a paid Research Assistant to Dean Lee Fisher, who teaches a course called “Leadership and the Law,” during their second and third years of law school. 

Topics include characteristics and styles of leadership, strategic planning, managing growth and change, public speaking, motivating people and teams, decision-making, mindfulness, conflict management, entrepreneurship, innovation, diversity, ethical responsibilities, and collaboration.

Fellows use a combination of readings, project work, problems, exercises, case studies, individual and group presentations, media clips, and guest lectures by and conversations with successful leaders to learn the core competencies necessary to become a successful leader.


  • Gain insight into the characteristics, strengths, and styles of leadership, and their impact on organizations and other people.
  • Complete self-assessments to determine personal strengths and leadership styles, examining how those styles may effect professional relationships and what other characteristics must be developed.
  • Develop an understanding of the leadership challenges facing lawyers, and articulate a personal theory of leadership and the values lawyers must embody in leadership roles.
  • Identify essential soft skills for lawyers, methods to strengthen those skills, and develop a personal leadership strategic plan to practice those skills in everyday interactions.


  • Personal Leadership Strategic Plan
  • Leadership Self-Assessment
  • Group Discussions, Exercises
  • Leader Conversations
  • Leader Interviews
  • Guest Speakers
  • Special Events 
  • Individual Presentations
  • Group Project Presentations
  • 2L Leadership and Law Course Opportunity
  • 2L Dean’s and Associate Dean’s Research Assistant Opportunities
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