Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Indiana Launches Nation's First Law School Family Office Practice Program

Maurer School of Law Launches First Family Office Practice Program in United States:

Indiana (2017)The Indiana University Maurer School of Law has launched a program that trains students interested in working for family offices and firms with family office service practices. The law school will be the first in the United States with a program focused specifically on this growing area.

"The number of family offices in the U.S. is increasing at a dramatic rate," said Austen L. Parrish, Maurer School dean and the James H. Rudy professor of law. "They are capable of conducting sophisticated transactions that were traditionally the province of big companies or private-equity firms, and they also provide a complete range of traditional estate-planning, real estate, tax-planning and wealth-advising services."

Family offices are estimated to hold assets exceeding $4 trillion, and a significant number of the most prestigious law firms have established family office practices, Parrish said. "By capitalizing on this trend, the Maurer School of Law will help meet the growing demand for lawyers by offering a wide range of courses, placements and mentoring experiences," he said.

Maurer's esteemed JD/MBA program, extensive business and corporate law curriculum and well-regarded tax law program make the school well-positioned to host this type of program, Parrish said. Students admitted to the program will benefit from a range of other opportunities, including taking courses at the Kelley School of Business and participating in the school's Business Law Society, Tax Law Society and transaction drafting competitions.

The law school plans to admit about five highly credentialed students to the new program beginning in the fall of 2020. Qualified candidates will either have experience in the business or investment field or an interest in earning a JD/MBA. Students admitted to the program will receive the following:

  • A scholarship equal to at least 50 percent of tuition, up to full-tuition scholarships.
  • A mentor from the program's advisory council.
  • A second-year research assistantship with the school's business or tax law faculty.
  • A third-year clinical position with one of the school's business-related clinics.

The school expects to be able to offer students in the program summer placements and other positions with family offices, law firms and other organizations with family-office service practices. The school also plans to develop a one-week intensive course during fall break in Chicago focused on family office practice and services.

Alumnus Michael Flannery, a member of the law school's Board of Visitors and CEO of Duchossois Capital Management, a family investment firm in Chicago, will serve as a member of an advisory council for the program.

"There is enormous demand for sophisticated legal talent in family offices and firms serving those offices," Flannery said. "This innovative program should be ideal for talented and ambitious students who are applying to law school from accounting firms, investment banks or financial institutions, and who understand how working with family offices can be an attractive and intellectually challenging career path."

Professor Brian Broughman, an expert on corporate law, corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions, will serve as director of the program. He will be supported by professor Mark Need, who oversees the Elmore Entrepreneurship Clinic and the school's JD/MBA program. The school is in the process of naming affiliated faculty to design and teach family office-related courses. An advisory council will also be appointed to support the school and serve as mentors to students.

Karen Sloan, All in the Family (Offices):

Props to Indiana for recognizing an area of growth within the legal industry and trying to figure out how to position graduates for those jobs. That said, I suspect this program will appeal to a very narrow segment of the law school applicant pool. First, they are looking for people with a few years of experience in investment banks, accounting firms, and the like, so already that winnows things down. And we’ve been hearing a lot lately about how law applicants and students are motivated by a desire to make the world a better place. I’m not sure that helping the super-wealthy to become even more so hits that mark. Still, if completing this program helps a handful of students pursue their career goals, then it seems a worthy enterprise.

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