Five students from Miami Law took part in the 2016 LawWithoutWalls (“LWOW”) kick-off, held at IE University in Madrid, Spain. Miami Law students Lauren Georgalas, Salvador Gomez, Sara Klock, Cullen Mahoney, and Howard Rapp joined 200 of the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs, academics, venture capitalists, and students from over 30 law and business schools for two days of idea generation, skill building, cultural competency, leadership, and teaming.
Under the leadership of LWOW Founder and Professor of Law, Michele DeStefano, attendees were introduced to LWOW, a cross-cultural, transdisiplinary think-tank focusing on critical twenty-first century professional service skills.
The LWOW kick-off is the first of many steps to a unique and innovative process that allows students, lawyers, and business professionals from around the globe to collaborate both in-person and virtually to solve the problems facing the legal field. It allows teams to understand each other, how each individual works, and how the team will work. Inherent in LWOW is that every student comes from a different background, including age, race, country, education, skill-set and most importantly culture.
“[M]any of the issues we face as students and entrepreneurs in the United States are completely different than those faced by our counterparts around the globe,” said 2L Cullen Mahoney. “These differences reflect the diversity of and opportunity offered by LWOW. It’s an exciting challenge to accurately communicate our viewpoints and thoughts, and it will definitely add a unique twist to our final Project of Worth.”
LWOW participants in Madrid, Spain
Teams of two to three law and business students were seated with their mentors (including corporate lawyers, in-house counsel, law professors, entrepreneurs, and compliance professionals). The teams received and reviewed detailed work style assessments—both individual and collective—in order to find more efficient ways to work together. Students and mentors collaborated in barrier-breaking improvisational, communication, and teaming exercises.
“The exercises really opened the entire room up for the weekend,” said Salvador Gomez, 2L. “In the course of just a few hours, we went from a group of people who barely knew each other, to people who felt really comfortable around each other, which allowed for people’s true creativity to come out.”
Kick-off attendees also had the opportunity to watch startup pitches to venture capitalists, learn problem-solving strategies, brainstorming techniques, and presentation skills. Students were able to immediately apply what they had learned in creating and presenting a “mini-innovation” with their teams.
“There’s nothing like having three hours to find a problem, find a solution, and present your solution to a room of 200 people,” said Sara Klock, 2L. All with people you met hours ago—but you do it and you do it successfully.”
For the five Miami Law students, the kick-off meant so much more than expanding their legal education.
“We created bonds and friendships that will be used to create innovative and real solutions to real problems facing the legal industry both today and in the future,” said Klock.
Students and their mentors will team virtually to create a Project of Worth, a targeted solution to an identified, narrow problem within legal education or practice. The LWOW community will reconvene at Miami Law in April for the 2016 LWOW ConPosium.
Additional participants from Miami Law included Dean Patricia D. White, Erika Pagano, LWOW Associate Director and Lecturer in Law, Lauren Madigan, LWOW Program Manager, 3L Rachel Streitfeld, and Miami Law alumni Max Viski-Hanka and Alex Rattner.
For more information, visit lwow.org.