Institute for Leadership in the Legal Profession

 Offered just once every two years, the next Cohort start on February 15th, 2023.

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Video Credit: Passi Road Pictures

This innovative and transformative five-session training program is designed to help you achieve the next leadership level in your legal career. The Institute for Leadership in the Legal Profession (ILLP) is created to be comprehensive, holistic, and relevant to legal professionals in a variety of practice and organizational settings and roles. Over the course of the sessions, we explore self-leadership and awareness, leading others, and leading within an organization. Prior to the start of the sessions you will complete a short questionnaire and from this, you will be provided a personalized emotional quotient inventory, giving you insight into your own strengths and weaknesses in emotional intelligence. Built specifically for lawyers by lawyers, ILLP prepares participants from all levels of their organizations to lead during a times of great change within the legal profession.

2023 Cohort Sessions | Back in-person, new shorter timeline and added perks!

Dates & Sessions:
Session 1: February 15 | Understanding Your Emotional Intelligence and its Impact on Leadership
Session 2: March 1 | Leadership through Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Well-Being
Session 3: March 15 | How to Lead Authentically through Conflict
Session 4: March 29 | Leading through Change and Crisis
Session 5: April 12 | Organizational Leadership

Times & Locations:
Sessions 1, 3, 5: Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in-person only at HCBA (parking covered and lunch provided!)
Sessions 2 and 4: Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. by Zoom only

Approximately 14.25 CLE Credits.

To register, click here.


“Legal organizations don’t run themselves- they thrive with good leadership. The Institute is an eye-opening experience into your own leadership skills and it will give you the power to become a better leader, allowing your organization to advance through vision and strategy, while empowering talent to achieve potential and results.”

Jeffrey Bores, Managing Partner, Chestnut Cambronne PA

“The Law Firm Leadership program was instrumental in helping find my voice as a new firm leader.  My biggest take away and something I reflect on every day: Self-awareness as a leader. At the time I took the course, no one saw the pandemic lurking right around the corner.  Fortunately, the skills I learned in the program have guided me in leading through the pandemic challenges we all now face.”

Lisa T. Spencer, President, Henson Efron, PA


“The Institute is one of few programs of its kind in the country, and we are fortunate to have easy access to it with no travel expenses and the opportunity to make connections in our own legal community. We’ve been proud to see many past graduates promoted into higher levels of leadership, some as top leaders in their organizations.”

Jeff Baill, Partner, Yost & Baill
Institute Co-Founder and Former HCBA President


Ideal for attorneys working within any size and kind of organization, IILP equips participants with the skills, knowledge, and broader context needed to succeed in leading groups, heading committees, and serving in other key organizational leadership roles. Through ILLP, participants make an invaluable investment in developing their abilities to be effective and visionary leaders in the legal profession today and in the future.

Through this program, you will learn how to:

  • Discover the skills, attributes, and abilities necessary for effective leadership 
  • Build your own personal, professional, and leadership development plan 
  • Navigate the unique challenges and demands of leading lawyers
  • Develop emotional and interpersonal intelligence in yourself and others
  • Incentivize the behaviors and actions your organization desires
  • Attract, cultivate, motivate, and retain talent at every level of your organization
  • Appreciate the power of organizational culture and alignment to the bottom line and mission of the organization
  • Create an inclusive workplace where everyone’s individual contributions are valued and where everyone thrives
  • Counteract implicit bias and understand the processes and norms that undermine diversity and inclusion efforts
  • Navigate difficult conversations and conflict with others 
  • Create meaningful short- and long-term strategies that position your organization for future success
  • Focus and prioritize your many and competing responsibilities
  • Balance your individual work with your leadership role (producing vs. managing) 
  • Lead your organization through change, such as reorganizations, evolving technology, and thoughtful succession planning
  • PLUS, all participants will receive individual assessments on their leadership style


The Institute for Leadership in the Legal Profession was formerly known as the Law Firm Leadership program. This new title reflects the evolution of the program over the last six years as well as the reputation and level of educational gravitas the program has achieved. 

In 2014, a small group of leaders in the HCBA proposed the creation of a program to help prepare aspiring law firm leaders. No such program existed in Minnesota. Even nationally, there were very few formal programs with this specific focus. The program’s Steering Committee spent a year creating the most comprehensive and cutting-edge leadership curriculum available, and the program’s first class matriculated in 2015. 

When the program was originally conceived, the focus was on law firm leaders. Over the years, it became clear that the content of the program would not only serve law firm leaders, but leaders in any kind of legal organization, such as law firms, non-profit organizations, the public sector, and governmental entities. For that reason, beginning with the 2021 Cohort, the Institute will be open to and focused on participants from a variety of settings, using both general and break-out sessions to address topics of universal and specific applicability. We look forward to welcoming not only law firm leaders, but leaders from a variety of other settings, including Legal Aid organizations.

Offered in alternate years, each offering of the program has been met with increasing success. The program now has alumni from three cohorts with a fourth cohort beginning in 2021. In addition to the formal program curriculum they have completed, alumni of all three cohorts meet regularly to discuss current leadership issues and other topics of interest.

2019GroupCohortsmallishDue to the cohort model of the program and the close professional relationships developed during the program, participation is capped in order to allow for group interaction and individualized learning. Many past participants have credited the Institute and their participation in the program as a “game-changer” in their development into the leaders they are today.

Every year, the Institute’s Steering Committee, chaired by Kendra Brodin, Chief Attorney Development Officer at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, carefully reviews participant feedback from prior iterations of the program. Brodin explains that “while the foundation of the Institute’s programming is strong and proven, there is always room for improvement. For each new cohort, we carefully recalibrate and polish the program so that it gets better every time it is offered.” This constant responsiveness to the needs of future participants, the feedback from past participants, and the latest learnings on leadership has made the Institute one of the most advanced programs of its type in the nation. Many Institute graduates have gone on to manage their organizations, and many of those leaders have returned to serve on the Institute’s planning committee.

Kendra Brodin Taft Headshot smallest

“So who are you and who do you want to be? Where do you want to go in your career and how do you want to show up as a leader? Whatever your answer is, the Institute for Leadership in the Legal Profession can help get you there.” 

Kendra Brodin, MSW, JD | Founder and CEO, EsquireWell
Institute Co-Founder and Institute Planning Chair

A special thank you to the Steering Committee:

Kendra Brodin, MSW, JD | Founder and CEO, EsquireWell | Co-Founder ILLP 
Jeffrey Baill, Partner, Yost & Baill | Co-Founder ILLP
Chuck Barry, Senior Legal Counsel, Coloplast Corporation
Stuart Bear, President, Chestnut Cambronne
Jeffrey Bores, Managing Partner, Chestnut Cambronne
Suz Feely, Personal Development Practice Lead, JD, SPHR, PCC | The People Side
Bridget Gernander, Legal Services Grant Program Manager at Minnesota Supreme Court
Joshua Hasko, President, Messerli Kramer
Nicole Kettwick, Partner, Brandt Kettwick Defense
Chandra Kilgriff, Chief Talent Officer, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr
Joshua Ladd, Ramsey County Public Defenders Office
Abby Rooney, COO & Director of HR, Foley Mansfield
Tara Smith, Smith Family Law PLLC
Daniel Supalla, Special Counsel, Nilan Johnson Lewis
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