Bar Leadership Institute

Developing leaders within the Bar, Foundation, community, and profession since 2002


Program Overview

Participation in the Bar Leadership Institute (BLI), though primarily virtual in 2021, includes 15 hours of CLE credit, facilitation by leadership consultant Dave Newell (including the option of two hours of individual coaching), and a weekend retreat with both virtual elements and in-person elements (held outdoo.  This year's program kicked off on the evening of Thursday, May 13, 2021 with a keynote address by Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. 

Participation also includes opportunities to connect with fellow BLI participants and Bar, civic, and community leaders over the course of seven evening programs featuring special guests. Past presenters have included Bar and civic leaders, law professors, and judges. Topics range from leadership skills for lawyers, the history of practicing law in Mecklenburg, the role of race and poverty on our community's past and future, and diversity and inclusion in the profession and justice system.  

The seventh and final session will encourage participants to reflect on the BLI experience and to consider potential avenues of leadership within the Bar & Foundation, the participant's firm or organization, and the community.  In an effort to further participants’ impact, each member of the class will be expected to meaningfully engage in the work of the Bar or the Foundation (through, for example, committee membership, section leadership, etc.) beginning in the upcoming fiscal year.


In planning the BLI 2021 program, the BLI Committee expects that participants will recognize its plans are fluid this coming spring and will adapt as needed.
The primary focus of the BLI is to identify and develop leaders for the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation (MBF). The goal of the BLI program is to provide an opportunity for participating attorneys to: 
develop their personal leadership potential and skills to become a leader in the Bar/Foundation;
become aware of leadership opportunities with the Bar/Foundation and the greater Charlotte community; 
consider pressing Bar and community issues with peers and presenters of the highest caliber; and 
develop a spirit of lasting collegiality with their fellow participants.  

Selection Criteria

Application to the BLI is open to members of the MCB who have been practicing attorneys for at least three years. Approximately 15 to 20 lawyers will be selected for participation in the next class.  
The BLI Committee will look for potential participants who demonstrate the following criteria:
• Commitment and motivation to serve in positions of leadership;
• A record of public service and service for charitable organizations;
• A minimum of three years practicing law; and 
• The ability to attend all sessions, including the weekend retreat, and the willingness to engage meaningfully in the work of the Bar or the Foundation beginning the upcoming fiscal year.  
This is a competitive selection process. In choosing potential participants, the BLI Committee will review and evaluate all portions of your application and attachments. Additionally, the BLI Committee is committed to seeking a diverse and dynamic class of participants in an effort to obtain representation from a cross-section of the Bar.

2021 Program Dates
  • Kickoff Event: Thursday, May 13 (evening) 
  • Kickoff Retreat: Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15 (Friday local, outdoors, and socially distant and Saturday virtual)
  • Programs (the seven Wednesday evenings immediately following the retreat): May 19, May 26, June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23, and June 30
  • Graduation Event: TBD

Program Fees

All qualified MCB members are encouraged to apply. The total tuition for participation in the BLI is $1,100, of which $100 must be paid by the participant. The remaining $1,000 may be paid by the participant or by the participant's employer. If accepted, payment is due before the program kicks off and may be paid by credit card online or by check (payable to the Mecklenburg County Bar).  Financial assistance may be available, but is limited and awarded at the discretion of the BLI Committee.  If you are interested in financial assistance, indicate in the application the amount you are requesting.

Continuing Legal Education

It is expected that 15 hours of CLE credit will be awarded to BLI participants who complete the program.

Contact MCB Associate Executive Director Shannon Reid at with any questions.  The deadline to apply to be a candidate in the BLI Class of 2021 was March 8, 2021.