Bates President Garry W. Jenkins awarded honorary degree by Albany Law School

When Bates President Garry W. Jenkins was presented with an honorary degree by Albany Law School during the inauguration of the school’s 19th president and dean, both Jenkins and the school’s new leader, Cinnamon P. Carlarne, were touted as innovative leaders.

Jenkins’ keynote address focused squarely on the need for such leaders — and the need for effective leadership education in law schools. “Being an effective lawyer and being an effective leader must be thought of as complementary skills,” Jenkins told those gathered for the investiture ceremony at the school’s DeMatteo Gymnasium in Albany, N.Y., on Dec. 1.

Bates President Garry W. Jenkins and Albany Law School Dean and President Cinnamon P. Carlarne arrive at DeMatteo Gymnasium for Carlarne’s investiture ceremony on Dec. 1, 2023. (Albany Law School)

In delivering the citation for Jenkins’ honorary degree, Jeff Schanz, the school’s vice president for institutional advancement and chief of staff, praised the Bates president as “a nationally respected authority” in several legal areas, including nonprofit law, corporate governance, and the one that Jenkins spoke to directly in his keynote: lawyers and leadership development.

As Jenkins explained in his keynote, his 20 years of experience as a scholar, teacher, and administrator has focused on advancing leadership education and scholarship in law schools, long the primary province of graduate business schools and public policy schools.

While at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Jenkins co-founded and directed the Program on Law and Leadership, one of the first such programs at a U.S. law school, and taught the program’s innovative, core course, “Lawyers as Leaders.” He has published articles on the subject in respected law reviews, has spoken at dozens of academic conferences, and was a founding member of the Section on Leadership of the Association of American Law Schools, the field’s learned society.  

Asking future lawyers to figure out how to be leaders on their own “should alarm us,” Jenkins said in his keynote address during the investiture ceremony. (Albany Law School)

In his keynote, Jenkins said that great lawyers of the future must not just be skilled legal practitioners “but also highly capable leaders who are ready to operate in a constantly changing, interconnected, and interdependent world.”

Jenkins shared how he has often asked general counsels at large corporations about the major challenges that they face in their jobs, and how they frequently cite the “leadership development needs of the lawyers on their staff,” he said.

Too often, lawyers are tapped for leadership positions but then left to figure out how to lead on their own, “thrown into the deep end.” Some learn to swim, but others sink and “never try a leadership role again.” Asking someone to practice leadership on the job without adequate training or guidance “should alarm us.”

Jenkins and Carlarne were faculty colleagues at Ohio State Law. Jenkins said that the new Albany Law School president “embodies intellectual energy and integrity.” (Albany Law School)

Teaching leadership skills to aspiring lawyers matters for their careers, Jenkins said. It also matters for their own understanding of how today’s leadership is grounded in “collaboration, participation, integration, and culture creation,” and it matters for the world, which “demands great leaders.”

As for Cinnamon Carlarne, the new leader of the Albany Law School, Jenkins noted the Albany Law School community is now in “magnificently capable and caring hands,” because Carlarne is just the kind of thoughtful, responsive, and relational leader needed today. 

The two have known each other for nearly 15 years, starting when they were faculty colleagues at Ohio State Law. The new Albany Law School dean and president, Jenkins said, “embodies intellectual energy and integrity, and she will, I know, model leadership in the kind of highly intentional and admirable ways that we need to do as a broader profession.”

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