- Shepherd Russell III is the Managing Partner at Friday, Eldredge, and Clark, which is Arkansas’s largest law firm with 84 attorneys on staff. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in four areas of law: Municipal Law; Project Finance Law; Public Finance Law; and Structured Finance Law. He received his B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975, and his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1978. He also serves as an adjunct professor in public finance at the University of Arkansas.
Because of his role in the firm, I recently interviewed him to learn more about his views on leadership. From the beginning, Mr. Russell was very clear in his definition of leadership. He said it is first being willing to take a firm position on issues faced by the firm. But, most importantly, leadership involves serving as a role model. He believes it is crucial to lead by example, and be able to communicate to others through his actions. He has seen first-hand how people watch the leader very carefully, and he said “they see a meaning in everything.” What he does as a leader often has a much greater impact than initially anticipated. This forces Mr. Russell to be very careful about how he acts as a leader personally and professionally.
Then, I asked Mr. Russell what diversity within a team means to him as a lawyer. He said that he is always looking for different perspectives. This comes from the diverse nature of people involved on the team, which can involve a mix of ethnicities, interests, etc. Essentially, he believes it is important that not everyone on the team is alike. This prevents the team from coming up with plans that go unchallenged. Having a diverse team helps to formulate and carry out a good team plan. Overall, I really enjoyed my conversation with Mr. Russell, and learned much more about effective leadership within a law firm.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gillings School of Global Public Health
BSPH Health Policy & Management
Minors: Public Relations & Public Policy