Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More law schools are teaching business skills

It was only two years ago that Harvard Law School began offering the first-of-its kind "business skills boot camp" for associates working for Milbank in NYC.  And Michigan State recently announced plans to begin teaching law students how to be more entrepreneurial.  Today, several more law schools have either launched or have in the planning stages programs to teach students and lawyers alike how to think like a businessperson.  The National Law Journal has the story as part of its special report on law schools:

A Place for Lawyers to Learn Executive Skills

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Law schools have long lagged behind business schools when it comes to executive education, but a handful are moving off the sidelines. Their administrators view executive education both as a fresh revenue stream and an avenue to closer ties to practitioners and the legal industry.

Georgetown University Law Center launched its executive-education program in 2012 and has worked with about 200 attorneys thus far, said Mitt Regan, co-director of the school's Center for the Study of the Legal Profession. Although still in the early stages, the program already is generating a profit. "We are confident that the demand is there," Regan said. "We would of course like it to generate more of a profit, but our projections are that it will grow."

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is moving forward with plans to launch its Corporate Counsel College in early 2014. The school plans a slate of six weeklong summer courses covering topics relevant to in-house counsel — or to practitioners who aspire to move in-house — including intellectual property and business skills. The program is intended as an in-depth alternative to general counsel training programs that last just a few days. Participants could take as many of the five-day modules as they wish, and those who complete at least three will receive a certificate.

The executive-education offerings at Harvard and Georgetown both focus on leadership and management skills, but they take different approaches. Harvard offers a five-day leadership training session for highly placed law firm leaders, and a separate, weeklong session designed for junior partners or senior associates who are just assuming management responsibilities. Harvard also offers a three-day leadership program for in-house counsel. The costs range from $12,500 to $15,000 per person.

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