Recently I taught a brand new class on leadership at the Yale Law School. Despite popular misconceptions, young lawyers are hungry to become more self-aware and to sharpen their leadership competencies.

One of the best leaders I’ve met is a lawyer named Wim Dejonghe. In this interview, you’ll hear his advice to aspiring lawyers who wish to become better leaders. You should take his advice seriously. Wim is the Senior Partner of one of the world’s best law firms, Allen & Overy. Besides providing stellar legal advice to clients, they’re a leadership development factory helping young lawyers sharpen their leadership acumen and soft skills at every step of their career.

Are you a future lawyer?  Do you aspire to become a leader?  Join our conversation.

And lawyers don’t just become leaders in their law firms. They’re often thrust into salient leadership roles at top organizations across the country— from non-profits to government agencies to entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Even though most CEOs in Corporate America are assumed to hail from the country’s top MBA programs, there are a surprising amount of elite chief executives that chose to start their career in the legal profession rather than the more traditional business school path.

So yes, lawyers can and often do make great leaders. But only if they can get over a couple a few fundamental obstacles, like the fear of asking for help, the fear of looking stupid, and most of all, the fear of taking a big risk.

As Wim points out, when it comes to risk, 99% of law school is geared towards helping future lawyers identify and avoid future risk. Legal training focuses on all of the things that could go wrong. Law schools assert that this kind of training is how future lawyers will develop the proper mindset needed to help future clients avoid unnecessary risks.

Fair enough. But while understanding risk may be an essential part of becoming a wise counselor, taking risk is an essential part of becoming a great leader. This begs the question that most law schools still avoid— how can lawyers shuttle back and forth between risk avoidance and risk acceptance? It’s a daunting challenge. Wim tackles these issues head-on.

If lawyers can overcome these tough leadership development obstacles, the rewards are enormous. Not only can lawyers become an effective team and group leaders in their law firms, but they can also become successful CEOs in any industry.

Some of the best CEOs chose law school over traditional MBAs. To focus on one industry, during its demise in the 2010’s Wells Fargo was run by MBAs, whereas Bank of America was run by a lawyer named Brian Moynihan, who graduated from Notre Dame law school. Bank of America greatly outperformed Wells Fargo during the same 5 year stretch in the 2010s.

A recent HBR article studied 3,500 CEOs, nearly 10% of whom had law degrees. Interestingly, this group of CEOs stood apart from their peers in a couple of interesting ways. First, they were less likely to be entangled in time-consuming lawsuits– up to 74% less litigation than comparable firms. More importantly, if these CEOs were leading high-growth firms, they had a greater impact on firm performance—another strong argument in favor of boards, hiring CEOs with law degrees.

Join the conversation. Are you a (future) lawyer? How comfortable are you taking risks? Tell us about a risk that you recently took. What was it? How did it make you feel? What was the result of taking this risk?

*This interview is presented by CEO Fellows and sponsored by N2Growth- Request to join our exclusive leadership forum and have conversations with our Culture Champions here. We invite you to share your story and get feedback from iconic leaders like Wim, executive advisors, top leadership professors, and gifted students from around the world.