Law Students Don’t Know Enough About Business (And What Law Schools Are Doing To Fix That)
As the state of legal education remains in flux, some schools are making moves to change the way they train future lawyers. One of the popular changes is trying to give students more practical training. Some schools are offering more experiential learning. Others are teaming up with a more successful example of higher education: business schools.
Last month, University of Rochester’s Simon Business School announced it would be opening an offsite location for its students at New York Law School in New York City. The agreement is mutually beneficial for two reasons. Business students gain access to the finance capital of the Western World and law students get access to business professors and courses to learn basic accounting and finance skills.
Harvard Business School also announced in April that the school would offer an 11-week course for incoming 1Ls to learn business fundamentals through its online business training program, HBX. In a statement on the Harvard Business School website, Harvard Law School Dean, Martha Minow said, “Lawyers need to understand and use the tools and skills involved in growing and running a business. Law firms, businesses, and also public sector and nonprofit employers increasingly value these skills.”
Harvard Law plans to cover nearly all of the $1,800 it takes to complete the course. Participating law students will only have to pay $250.
The need of lawyers with business skills stems largely from increased regulations on business. “Every time the Congress passes a statue such as Dodd Frank or the Affordable Care Act, people have to figure out what it means. Lawyers are going to figure out what it means,” Northeastern University School of Law Dean, Jeremy Paul told Businessweek. “Of course, it creates more business” for law firms and in-house counsel, he also said.
Paul added that it is the responsibility of the law school to produce J.D.s that can think and speak like MBAs. “You have to understand, not just the language of the law, but the language of your clients. Sometimes the language of your client is business,” Paul said.
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