Having spent time with a wide variety of senior partners in major business law firms throughout California and Arkansas, I have lost count how many times I have heard them wish that law school graduates who enter into a business law practice would better understand the business aspects of business law, including finance, business strategy, and business analytics. Given my own practice experience, working on a number of construction defect cases even though I knew nothing about construction or the construction business, also gave me an understanding that law students need to learn more than just law.
Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law has taken up the challenge in a big way. Beginning in Fall 2017, he law school has begun offering a suite of five courses through the university’s Kellogg School of Management: Accounting for Decisionmaking; Business Analytics; Business Strategy; Finance 1; and Leadership in Organizations. The courses are taught by Kellogg faculty and are courses that Kellogg’s MBA students also take. Here is a link to a story about the new courses from the Northwestern Pritzker website.
Northwestern reports that in this, the first year of this new set of offerings, enrollment has been robust: 51 students in Accounting; 28 students in Business Analytics; 39 students in Business Strategy; 15 students in Finance; and 38 students in Leadership in Organizations. These enrollment numbers suggest that the Northwestern Pritzker student population has responded very positively to this new opportunity.
As outgoing Dean Daniel Rodriquez argues in the linked story, great lawyers are T-shaped, possessing both deep knowledge of the law and broad knowledge of related fields, including, for future business lawyers, the world of business.