How to Inspire and Empower the next generation through a Leadership Legacy

Rachel Atkins 4 Aug 2021

Following the launch of our Global Leaders in Law (GLL)’s ‘Leave a Legacy’ Report, Rachel Atkins shares with Global Leaders in Law what leadership legacy means to her, the vital importance of resilience and inclusivity.

In life, we usually try and avoid leaving ‘things’ behind, but as leaders, the idea of a legacy that will endure once we are gone is both alluring and, in some ways, inevitable. 

This is because leadership legacy reflects not just the values of an organisation’s leaders but also those of everyone who works there.

I believe leadership legacy to be bound very closely with the culture of our business,  and it’s this connection with the entire workforce that keeps us on our toes. 

As leaders, we hope to make a difference in the here and now and inspire and empower the next generation.

Over the last 18 months, our culture and values have been tested beyond what we could have previously imagined. 

Working remotely and often in challenging circumstances has thrown what we do and how we do it into sharp perspective. 

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a great deal has been asked of us and we’ve asked a lot of our colleagues. 

I’ve always been a great believer in the necessity of resilience both in life generally and as a litigator.  The impact of the pandemic has only served to amplify this. 

To be able to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off in the face of such adversity – finding a way through or around the obstacles in our path has allowed us not just to survive but to thrive.

As the dust begins to settle and we start to talk, tentatively, about life post-pandemic, I’ve been able to reflect on some of the genuinely remarkable resilience I’ve witnessed.  Resilience from colleagues at Schillings, friends in my community and the clients I’ve been lucky enough to work with. 

That’s not to say resilience is easy though – particularly when we’re all working remotely, which is why honest, open and supportive relationships with colleagues are so vital.

Time and again I see this behaviour reflected back at us in the legacy of our leaders and it’s something I’m incredibly proud of about our culture here at Schillings.

In my experience, the best leaders support us to work at our best so that we can deliver results.  They do this by making sure we feel confident to ask questions, unafraid to challenge the status quo and at ease living the values we hope those around us will emulate.

I recognise the privilege I have as a Partner at Schillings, where part of our leadership legacy is giving something back through our pro bono work.   

Uncertain times call for bold thinking and even bolder actions, which is why I’m so pleased to be part of this year’s campaign judging panel. 

In the Report, you’ll find some fantastic examples of leaders who truly strive to make a difference, inspire others and ultimately leave the world around them better off. 

As we chart a course through this next chapter of the Covid saga, I hope you’ll find this report both an inspiration and a call to action.

Request a copy of the report here