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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of September 27, 2016

Law School Education: An Eye toward Good Business

Law schools, take note: Innovation beyond the traditional is essential to attract and create a new legion of lawyers, ones who will find success in the business of law.

In a June 23, 2016, ABA Journal article entitled “Why Law Schools Need to Teach More Than the Law to Thrive (or Survive),” Chad Asarch and Phil Weiser discuss the fact that law schools need to be innovative and reinvent themselves. The days of merely teaching the details of law and testing students on that knowledge is, according to the authors, an outdated system.

The authors, both affiliated with the University of Colorado Law School, developed courses there that focus on skills beyond learn-and-spit-back testing. The courses focus on “experiences with real-world situations” and working in teams to learn from each other. The idea was to collaborate to help each other make the most of himself or herself. It involved working together and peer evaluations.

The article highlights an important point that is often overlooked in the discussion of the education of future lawyers: law is, at its core, a business, and students need to be prepared to enter this world of business in terms of legal skills as well as personal characteristics that will help one succeed in business.

Collaboration and peer evaluation are important aspects of the world of business. In the business of law, a person will need to interact with others—clients as well as colleagues—and learning how to work with others toward a common end, how to negotiate effectively, and how to be the type of person that others want to work with are critical skills.

In addition to personal characteristics that are important in business, it is important for law schools to teach business skills. As I have noted before, it is not enough for law schools to teach the specifics of the law. In order for a lawyer to succeed in practice, he or she must know about such things as business plans, insurance, pricing legal services, collections, creating cash flow forms, etc.



Law School Education: An Eye toward Good Business

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