AFS Fellows Program

Leadership Is a Choice, Not a Title

AFS Fellows is a three-year leadership development program designed to help foster skills and forge lasting relationships across the firm. Since 2017, ArentFox Schiff attorneys with diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to making a meaningful difference have taken part in this novel initiative.

Our Program

Year One Fellows will attend a weekend retreat where they will learn key concepts of effective leadership and gain insights into personal leadership styles through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Skillscope 360-degree assessment.

Year Two Fellows will get a behind-the-scenes look from current and former firm leaders at what it’s like to lead at ArentFox Schiff, strategies for overcoming challenges, and the importance of protecting a culture of inclusion and empowerment.

Year Three Fellows will identify a meaningful issue at the firm and suggest a strategy to improve it. They will spend the final year of the program implementing a strategy and reporting on their progress.

Foundational Pillars of AFS Fellows

Partnership and Leadership Are Not the Same

While a partner can certainly be a great leader, there is no automatic correlation between the two. Anyone — regardless of title, position, or length of service, can be great leaders. Everyone must be empowered to share great ideas and solutions to problems as they arise.

Leadership Can Be Taught

Many believe that leadership is innate. This is a common but dangerous misperception. First, the traits people usually refer to when describing a “natural born leader” relate more to their stage presence and physical characteristics than their ability to articulate a clear and positive vision. This line of thinking also allows for implicit bias and must be avoided.

Leadership Matters

At its core, leadership is where cultures are won or lost; morale rises or falls, and vision is gained or sacrificed. Leadership is not relegated simply to those elected or appointed to a titled position — everyone can and should make a difference. We must all lead from where we are.

Without Diversity, You Cannot Lead

A leader must always include and empower different voices. Whether setting an internal vision for the future or coming up with a practical, real-world solution for a client, the dialogue must include voices that reflect as many different experiences and viewpoints as possible. The Fellows Program, therefore, must not only be truly diverse itself — it must challenge its participants to perpetually ask, “what voices are missing from the discussion” and how to meaningfully add them to the conversation.

AFS Fellows News

“AFS Fellows has been one of the most impactful professional experiences of my career. The program allowed me to meet new colleagues and engage in important moments of growth for the firm involving race, family, and equity. It will always be a blueprint, for me, for meaningfully engaging the diverse talents of lawyers.”
ArentFox Schiff Fellows Class of 2019
Anne-Carmene Almonord, Associate