Monday, September 23, 2013
National Law Journal Law Schools Report: Law Schools Get Down to Business:
Finance and accounting, management, leadership and entrepreneurship — all components of a business education, not a legal one, right? Not anymore. A growing number of law schools are borrowing a page from the MBA playbook and adding courses intended to give students a foundation in business, in addition to the law. These courses are an outgrowth of the rising demand for law graduates. In the past, primarily meant some real-world legal experience through clinics or externships. Now legal educators are starting to take a broader view of what, exactly, prepares a student to practice law. They're realizing that basic business and management skills would prove useful whether the student ends up counseling corporate clients, goes solo or works in a small nonprofit. In this special report, we profile some of the schools that are getting serious about business skills.
- Law Students Flock to Financial Boot Camp: Georgetown Law developed an intense, five-day crash course in finance to cover the basics—understanding the present and future value of money; bond and stock valuation; reading an annual report; understanding the relationship between an income statement and a balance sheet.
- Elon Teaches Students How to Become Leaders: A mandatory program helps students understand their goals and work effectively in groups. Some students question the emphasis, but "eventually they connect that leadership is an important part of their future legal practice," said Faith Rivers James, director of the school's leadership program.
- Penn Law Taps Wharton to Teach Management: The semester-long business class with a heavy focus on management, designed specifically for law students and taught by business faculty, gives students an opportunity to earn a management certificate from the prestigious Wharton Executive Education program.
- They're Training Lawyers to be Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurship isn't just for business students anymore. Law schools have expanded their offerings for students interested in counseling or becoming entrepreneurs themselves.
- The Avoidable Sticker Shock of Student Loan Repayment: Law students need to understand what they're signing up for when taking out education loans, writes Equal Justice Works executive director David Stern.