Reflections on a Rapidly Changing World
The rapid-fire pace of change in today’s world requires leaders who are flexible in their approach, with the ability to find new opportunities in the challenges that they face. Leaders must think creatively to develop out-of-the box solutions to overcome an ever-shifting field of potential obstacles. They must be willing to work collaboratively, reach across sectors and divisions, and recognize the strength that comes from advancing collective goals and actions.
One such lawyer-leader is Andrea Walsh ’88, president and CEO of HealthPartners and this year’s Matheson Lecturer in Corporate Governance. In her September lecture, entitled “Emerging Stronger: Lessons Learned Since 2020 and Implications for Leadership and Governance,” Andrea spoke passionately about the forward-thinking leadership that is critical in these fast-paced times.
As this magazine’s cover story, “Leading a Law Firm in Changing Times,” makes clear, our alumni are thinking creatively about how to evolve the work of their firms and position their organizations for long-term sustainability and success. As law firm leaders, they are responsible for both big-picture and day-to-day business affairs, a dizzying array of institutional relationships, and shepherding their firms through change and innovation.
Minnesota Law graduates today enter a vastly different world from the one our first graduates experienced nearly 135 years ago. And, no doubt, future generations of Minnesota Law alumni will enter their own rapidly changing world. To prepare future leaders and members of the legal profession, Minnesota Law continues to adapt and evolve while providing the world-class legal education that is the hallmark of our global reputation.
Clinics and other experiential learning opportunities now are key components in our mission to produce students who are ready to thrive in the world of practice. This fall, the Law School launched two new clinics — the Racial Justice Law Clinic and the Sports and Name, Image, and Likeness Clinic. Each of these clinics offers new ways for students to engage with the law, connect with clients and communities, and build practical lawyering skills. We remain committed to expanding our already-robust experiential learning opportunities, including our 25+ clinics, moot courts, and externship and field placement programs, among others. This summer, we named Professor Mitch Zamoff the Law School’s inaugural assistant dean of experiential education, overseeing our broad array of non-clinic experiential learning opportunities. We are grateful for Dean Zamoff’s leadership in identifying ways to deepen commitment and influence in this area.
We also continue to expand our commitment to increasing diversity in the profession and preparing our students to lead in increasingly diverse environments. As you will read in this magazine, the incoming first-year class has the highest academic credentials in the Law School’s history, while also setting records for diversity. Our student body as a whole is now the most diverse it has ever been. This fall, Ra’Shya Ghee ’13 joined the Law School as our inaugural assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion, leading support for our student community, overseeing a new optional Race Equity Milestone (students receive a transcript notation after successfully completing a series of workshops), and providing strategic leadership for our array of DEI initiatives.
After the many pivots of the pandemic, I cannot tell you how terrific it felt to return to the beautiful Northrop Auditorium for our in-person Commencement, or how much I appreciate seeing the smiling faces of students in the halls of Mondale Hall this academic year. Even as we adapt and evolve, we also continue to value the warm and welcoming community at Minnesota Law that makes our law school so special. Onward and upward!