Annual Events

John Payton Leadership Academy


Inspire. Educate. Lead. Keeping these goals in mind, the John Payton Leadership Academy provides members with an intensive training program to develop and sharpen the necessary skills to be successful leaders of the Bar and throughout their careers.

Proving that there is not one type of leader, previous graduates came from nonprofits, small firms, large firms, and mid-size boutiques. Some were solo practitioners, while others worked for government agencies.

The Leadership Academy is not your average seminar. Swaths of paper line the walls as students engage in brainstorming and strategy sessions to determine their leadership techniques. How can you lead with integrity? How do you run an effective meeting? How do you use everyone’s strengths to create a quality team? Team-building exercises get competitive as students work collaboratively in small groups. Throughout the three classroom sessions, participants meet with both D.C. Bar and community leaders, who inspire the group with their leadership insights and life experiences.

In addition, participants of the Leadership Academy spend half a day gaining hands-on experience working at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Advice and Referral Clinic, which helps low-income District of Columbia residents navigate the legal system.

Over the course of three full days, the Academy’s curriculum covers:

  • An overview of the D.C. Bar, including its mission and strategic plan
  • Leadership Academy logoLeadership styles
  • Communication skills and styles
  • Influence and persuasion
  • Teamwork and consensus building
  • Conducting effective meetings
  • Problem solving and strategic thinking
  • Civility and professionalism
  • Leadership skills in action

The Leadership Academy experience is for Bar members interested in enhancing their leadership skills, from a new associate to a veteran attorney. “As someone just starting my legal career, I felt that I had too much to learn and too little experience to lead; the gap between me and ‘them’ was too great,” said David William Arrojo, a graduate from the inaugural 2013 class. By the end of the program, he realized that there is no “them.” “Every scenario—no matter the size of the task or the scope of the endeavor—presents an opportunity for leadership.”

Read more personal accounts of the valuable lessons recent graduates walked away with as they reflect on the Academy. 

How to Apply

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, December 5. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, January 9, 2015. Attendance at all full-day sessions is mandatory. The dates are:

  • Session one: Friday, March 6
  • Session two: Friday, March 27
  • Session three: Friday, April 24
  • Pro bono service: March 14 or April 11.

For any questions, e-mail the John Payton Leadership Academy