Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Janice N. Friedel


Employing a phenomenological methodology, this qualitative study is an exploration of how college presidents who were once practicing lawyers have come to understand their legal training and work experience in terms of their effect upon leadership. Participants consisted of present or former college presidents that were engaged in the practice of law prior to becoming president. Participants had not previously served as tenured faculty, academic deans, or chief academic officers. Four participants were identified using opportunistic sampling and data was collected via open-ended, semi-structured interviews. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) How do college presidents with a background in the law perceive their legal training and work experience in terms of benefits to them as presidents and in terms of their effect upon leadership; (2) What experiences have been beneficial to them in developing leadership; and (3) How do they characterize their approach to leadership?

The data generated from the study was coded, organized, presented, and discussed. As more fully set forth below, participants’ experiences were in some ways consistent with the relevant literature. Despite a lack of formal leadership development courses available to them during their formal legal training, participants nevertheless developed leadership from a variety of formal and informal sources.

Copyright Owner

Jermaine Johnson



File Format


File Size

138 pages