December 7, 2023


Advocacy. Mediation. Success.

Farewell, UT Law – A Culture of Servant-Leadership

Nevertheless, alter is in the air . . . individually, I am excited to see how the next chapter of my everyday living reads [and] I glance ahead to handing off the baton and heading for the mountains.

Dean Douglas Blaze

University of Tennessee Higher education of Law

As I approach retirement right after approximately three many years at UT Law, I have been imagining about what I acquired and what has meant the most to me. The legislation university has been a quite special put for a lengthy time. Our solid feeling of community, our shared mission to educate long term attorneys effectively and comprehensively, and our commitment to provide and boost our profession and local community sets us apart. But how and why? How has the regulation university managed to maintain individuals characteristics for so extensive?

For me the solution is that the law school enjoys a special lifestyle of management. But not leadership vested in a solitary chief or collection of leaders. Rather, a lifestyle of leadership that is a process, not a placement. A management course of action in which all the school are completely engaged. And, most important, a lifestyle grounded in a specific type of management – servant-management.  

The strategy of servant-management has been all around for a long time, but it received renewed attention via an essay by Robert Greenleaf posted in 1970 [1]. According to Greenleaf, a servant-leader focuses largely on the development and perfectly-becoming of people today and the communities to which they belong. The servant-chief shares electrical power, puts the requires of some others first, and aids persons produce, perform, and achieve their possible. Servant-leaders, as reflected in the word order, are servants to start with and leaders second. Their service is how they lead.

When I consider of my colleagues about the yrs – persons like Dick Wirtz, Jerry Black, Carol Parker, and Tom Galligan – I identify a number of shared attributes.  

Very first, they cared and shown a kindness and worry for their colleagues, college students, staff, and clients.  Each of them certainly valued all members of the law school local community. 

2nd, every of them promoted the regulation university and others, not them selves. Each and every of them had egos to be confident, but their egos did not get in the way of their management. Their egos were being channeled into institutional accomplishment and accomplishment and recognition of the achievement and achievements of other individuals.  

3rd, each and every of them was dependable entirely. They have been, in their personal person way, genuine and dependable. They experienced everyone’s again and absolutely everyone realized that they did.    

Fourth, they were almost never certain and conveniently shared their uncertainty. So, they willingly listened and actually desired to understand from other individuals. Their technique assisted them greater comprehend what was required and how to accomplish it.

But most critical, their most important aim was to make the law university the quite ideal it could be. That intention and the tone it established – shared by so lots of of their college colleagues, employees, and even college students – served develop and maintain a tradition of servant-leadership. They helped build an ecosystem of mutual acceptance and respect. I have been blessed to be component of it.

Still, change is in the air. Numerous senior faculty and employees are retiring. Individually, I am fired up to see how the future chapter of my lifetime reads. I glimpse ahead to handing off the baton and heading for the mountains.

But most of all, I am thrilled about the future of the establishment that indicates so a great deal to me. All of the alterations give new issues and fresh prospects. I am self-confident the faculty will satisfy the troubles correctly and choose entire edge of the chances. As I glance all around at my colleagues, I know the shared culture of servant-management will go on. The upcoming is incredibly vivid. And it will be enjoyable to check out.

[1] Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader (1970).