The Importance of Leadership

The Chicago Bar Association understands that in the legal profession, “The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”  (Tony Dungy) The CBA developed the Leadership Institute to increase leadership skills among excellent lawyers and to enhance business development strategies which are essential in the ever more demanding practice of law.  

Leaders are essential to a law firm; they make the workplace better, attract clients and guarantee good work product.  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead) The Leadership Institute is directed at emerging leaders within Chicago's legal profession. 

The Institute features dynamic presenters on business generation, the importance of networking, critical thinking and provides opportunities to interact with other leaders, similarly situated in the legal profession. Leadership is a sought after talent; a quality not everyone has, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)  

About the Institute

The Leadership Institute uses a small cohort model and includes professional development sessions featuring dynamic faculty, interactive skill building exercises and networking opportunities. Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a graduation certificate. A complete list of meetings and topics for the 2024 program is listed below.

How to Apply

The 2024 Leadership Institute is now accepting applications through March 22, 2024. Click here to download the application .

Please inquire for more information or submit completed applications Jennifer Byrne at

2024 Institute Agenda

Session I: What Kind of Leader Are You?

April 11, 2024, 2:00pm-6:30pm

Session II: The Foundations of Effective Leadership

April 24, 2024, 2:00pm-6:30pm

Session III: Building and Curating Your Career and Business Development 

May 9, 2024, 2:00pm-6:30pm

Session IV: Advanced Business Development Strategies 

May 21, 2024, 2:00pm-6:30pm

Leadership Institute Graduation Reception

June 6, 2024, 5:00pm-6:30pm

Confirmed Speakers: 

John Mitchell, KM Advisors and Quandary Consulting
Sheila Murphy, Focus Forward Consulting
David Susler, National Material, L.P.
Alycia Sutor, GrowthPlay

"The CBA Leadership Institute was a fantastic experience that brought me out of my comfort zone while teaching practical skills that I was able to use in my practice and with my colleagues the next day. The hard-skill development paired with the connections developed with my cohort made the entire experience invaluable and extremely beneficial."

-- Max Novak, McGuire Woods LLP, 2023 Leadership Institute Class 

"The Leadership Institute allowed me an opportunity to step back and reevaluate myself and various aspects of managing teamwork, conflict, and leadership.  Participating in the course at this stage in my career was invaluable because I had the relevant context to apply the tools that we are being provided and to network with peers at similar stages in their careers." 

--Tanvi Patel, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, 2018 Leadership Institute Class


"The CBA Leadership Institute was a practical forum with interactive sessions that were designed to spark participants’ growth in team leadership, development of  a network, building a strong professional reputation and growing a book of business."

--Dan Buoniconti, Reed Smith, 2018 Leadership Institute Class