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Leadership Academy FAQs

Every summer, the Massachusetts Bar Association accepts nominations and applications for entry into the MBA Leadership Academy, a 12-month program designed to develop future bar and civic leaders, which runs concurrently with the MBA membership year, starting in September. The deadline to submit a 2019-20 MBA Leadership Academy application has passed.

Leadership Academy Co-Chairs Jeffrey N. Catalano and Christopher A. Kenney have put together answers to some frequently asked questions to shed more light on what the Leadership Academy is, and what it means for participants.

Q. Who may apply to the Leadership Academy?

The Leadership Academy is for active MBA members in good standing who have been practicing between three and 10 years.

Q. What is required for a completed application?

  • A written nomination by an MBA member other than the applicant (your nominator can also provide one of your two letters of recommendation)  
  • Two letters of recommendation supporting the candidate's professional and personal qualifications, MBA experience and commitment, and potential for future leadership at the bar
  • A completed application
  • A resume

* The MBA will include the annual Oliver Wendell Holmes Scholarship winner in each respective Leadership Academy class.

Q. What is the deadline?

The deadline to submit a 2019-20 MBA Leadership Academy application has passed. Applications for the 2020-21 class will be accepted starting in June 2020.

Q. Is there any cost to participate?

No, there is no fee associated with the Leadership Academy.

Q. What is the purpose of the Leadership Academy?

The purpose of the Leadership Academy is to develop and nurture future leaders within the MBA who will continue to give back to the bar and the greater community. The Leadership Academy helps participants understand how to lead from many perspectives, including how to lead from behind, and how to be compassionate, open-minded and thoughtful leaders.

We wish to increase the number of these kinds of leaders in private, non-profit and governmental organizations, and at the local, state and national levels of government. At the same time, we are seeking to grow and encourage more diversity within bar leadership. Now more than ever we believe the bar needs lawyers from a variety of backgrounds with integrity, character and compassion, who share the desire to be leaders at their firms and in their communities, give back to the profession and the world around them, build coalitions, and inspire others to act.

Q. What types of candidates are you looking for?

Ideally we're looking for lawyers who have a passion for leadership who have already, in some way, demonstrated leadership or taken on responsibilities through volunteer work at bar associations or in the community. We are seeking lawyers who have aspirations of leadership not only at the bar and in their firms, but also people who want to be engaged civically. The Leadership Academy is ideally suited for individuals who really want to give back to society in important ways, such as becoming members of a board of directors or creating new pro bono programs.

Q. What will I get out of the Leadership Academy?

The Leadership Academy teaches important skills and cultivates traits that today's leaders need. For example, it includes a focus on practical skills, such as public speaking, media relations, how to motivate other people and how to run a meeting. But it also involves elements on the philosophy of leadership, such as how to be a thoughtful leader who listens well and builds bridges and coalitions. The Academy employs a mix of individual and team learning to encourage collaborative leadership.

After successful completion of the academy's curriculum of educational programming, class projects and mentoring, MBA Leadership Academy graduates are better prepared to assume leadership roles at the bar, in their firms or organizations, and in government.

Q. What is the expected time commitment?

There are five to six meetings over the course of a year with additional reading materials to review and get familiar with in between. The Leadership Academy offers an amazing opportunity and there is the expectation that Leadership Academy members will budget their time and dedicate themselves to the process to make it a worthwhile program. However, we do not expect the time commitment to infringe upon anyone's ability to do their job.

Q. How will I know if I am selected?

A member of the Leadership Academy Steering Committee will contact all applicants with their decision at the beginning of the MBA's association year in September.