As someone who collaborated on a concurrent session titled “Facing Our Fears in Changing Times” at the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education, it’s probably not surprising that I was especially drawn to sessions that brought in models or speakers from other disciplines to provide insight on how to operate effectively in the midst of the current period of change in legal education.
In addition to my last post on Michele Weise’s Closing Plenary, in this and my next two posts, I’ll discuss three other provocative sessions that addressed different aspects of this theme.
On Tuesday morning my University of Washington colleagues Jennifer Fan and Lisa Kelly, worked with Rutgers-Newark’s Randi Mandelbaum and Syracuse’s Mary Helen McNeal to introduce the “liberating structures eco-systems model” of leadership. That model views organizational change as an infinity loop in which organizations move through four cycles that call for different styles of leadership:
Stage Leadership Style
Creative Destruction Heretic
The model suggests that embedded in the cycle are two “traps“:
1. Between the Maturity and Creative Destruction stages lies the Rigidity Trap of “not letting go” of what the organization has birthed and brought to maturity. Staying stuck in the past and wedded to the old ways of doing things.
2. Between Creative Destruction and Renewal lies the Poverty Trap of “not investing enough to accomplish renewal”.
Sound familiar? The session included an exercise where attendees decided which stage they perceived their individual clinic, program, institution, or the clinical legal education movement to be in. Participants then added on the infinity loop diagram post-its with their results. Although responses were spread around the loop, most clustered among Maturity — Creative Destruction — and Renewal. Most responses addressed clinical programs and law schools.
I find this framework a helpful reminder that our current struggles are “normal” and that they won’t last forever. And inspiration to let go of fears and rigidity.
Filed under: Best Practices & Curriculum, Best Practices and Clinics, Best Practices for Institutional Effectiveness, Catalysts For Change | Tagged: clinical conference, creative destruction, disruption, eco-cycle, legal education, legal education reform, liberating structures, Maranville, reforming legal education |