TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Should Law Schools Offer Degrees in Legal Analytics?

Wall Street Journal, Big Data Gets Master Treatment at B-Schools; One-Year Analytics Programs Cater to Shift in Students’ Ambitions:

Big DataB-school students can’t get enough of big data. Neither can recruiters.

Interest in specialized, one-year master’s programs in business analytics, the discipline of using data to explore and solve business problems, has increased lately, prompting at least five business schools to roll out stand-alone programs in the past two years.

The growing interest in analytics comes amid a broader shift in students’ ambitions. No longer content with jobs at big financial and consulting firms, the most plum jobs for B-school grads are now in technology or in roles that combine business skills with data acumen, say school administrators.

But some faculty and school administrators remain unconvinced that the programs properly prepare students to work with analytics.

The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business began its Master of Business Analytics program this fall with 30 students. About 50 to 60 students are expected to enroll in the $47,000 program next year, the school said. ... Amy Hillman, dean at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said interest in a year-old master’s program in business analytics has spread “like wildfire.” More than 300 people applied for 87 spots in this year’s class, according to the school. ...

Yet others say it is smarter to deliver analytics training to all students, rather than a select few.

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers several courses in analytics, some of which are required for M.B.A.s. The school has no plans to offer a stand-alone business-analytics degree, said Florian Zettelmeyer, director of Kellogg’s Program on Data Analytics.

“These one-year masters programs are creating a type of person who is neither fish nor fowl,” Dr. Zettelmeyer said. “We fear they’re neither as competent with data as real data scientists, nor have the leadership skills that you really need to drive change in analytics,” he said.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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Legal writing and research programs will have to incorporate more legal analytics in their classes, since lawyers will be using these sophisticated research tools more often than they pour through books in the library

Posted by: SmittyBanton | Nov 11, 2014 11:10:20 AM