Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Harvard Survey of BigLaw: What Courses Should Students Take?

Harvard Law School LogoJesse M. Fried (Harvard), John C. Coates, IV (Harvard) & Kathryn E. Spier (Harvard), What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard's Largest Employers Weigh In:

We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses; and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills. 

Harvard 1

Harvard 2

Harvard 3

Harvard 4


Legal Education | Permalink


Maybe Northeastern was different when UN was at Northeastern. I was at Northeastern 2007-2010 and the only classes not offered in Q2 were Leadership in Law Firms, Biz Strategy and Analytical Methods. I recall all of the courses offered in Q6 being offered (except maybe Copyrights...I only vaguely remember that being offered on the opposite rotation). In fact, I took most of them. I would be surprised if Northeastern was that different when UN went though...perhaps UN was not particularly mindful of the courses taken?

Posted by: Northeastern Alum | Feb 24, 2014 7:49:00 AM

I recommend people do what I did. Take Advance Civil Procedure, Tort Litigation, Advanced Tort Litigation, Insurance Law, and clinic, and go make enough cash to open your own firm and take 10-12 weeks off for a year. These BigLaw people can go right ahead and worked their 20's away so they can make partner in 7 years. I'll be in Vegas, San Diego, or in my condo on South Padre Island if you need me.

Posted by: briang123 | Feb 21, 2014 4:11:49 PM

UN: Maybe because law students aren't "grad" students. Law school, med school, and dental school, and maybe MBA schools, are not graduate schools. Law schools, med schools, dental schools, and B-schools teach (or train, if you will) a profession, i.e. law, medicine, dentistry, and management, respectively. Graduate schools teach their students how to become academicians, how to conduct scholarly research, how to write schorlarly articles. Waint a minute . . .

Posted by: Publius Novus | Feb 21, 2014 8:23:03 AM


The law school calendar runs on quarters, whereas the undergrad and biz school do not, so the scheduling would make it nigh impossible. Beyond that, the admin of the university (and the law school for that matter) was, to be kind, shoddy, and the thought of trying to cross-register between schools is giving me palpitations now, years after the fact. Let's put it this way: it ain't Harvard or Stanford or one of those universities were cross-pollination of grad students is encouraged.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 21, 2014 7:25:51 AM

In Q2, the first two are by far the most important. UN, couldn't you have taken these through the undergrad program or B-school at Northeastern?

Posted by: LV | Feb 20, 2014 2:49:07 PM

Wow - Northeastern offers none of the courses in Question 2, only 8 of the 14 courses in Question 5, and is even missing 3 or 4 of the basic offerings in Question 6. No wonder our on-campus recruitment and employment outcomes are so poor...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 20, 2014 1:16:34 PM