Law Firms Go to Business School

law-booksSchools such as Harvard, IE Business School, McDonough and George Washington School of Business are retooling executive education programs to help lawyers prepare for top positions in law firm management or to help them lure more clients to their firms, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Although some firms have taught their lawyers business skills for several years now, WSJsays the shrinking client lists and profits of late have encouraged more law firms to turn to short, executive education programs at business schools.

“Managing partners at law firms resemble CEOs of conventional corporations and they need to practice similar managerial skills,” Dean Santiago Iniguez of IE Business School tells WSJ.

The courses are often tailored for individual firms or geared toward partners and high-potential attorneys, the story reveals, with classes aimed at preparing attorneys to either take top management positions at firms or help them better understand their business — and their clients’ businesses.

The McDonough School of Business’s executive education program will offer a custom program in September tailored to a large global firm with several thousand attorneys. The three four-day modules will focus on each of the firm’s key practice areas,  Dean George Daly tells WSJ, and revolve around topics including new regulatory issues, client development and leadership training.

“Law firms are still run the way they were in the 17th century,” says James Bailey, a leadership professor at the George Washington School of Business who studies law firms and helps run a program for managing partners. “They never really had to worry about [management skills] because every law firm in the country made money every year.”

For more on this story visit Wall Street Journal.

(law books image courtesy of Flickr user Limaoscarjuliet, CC 2.0)


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