Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Shepard Broad College of Law has established a curriculum it calls the NSU Law Leadership Academy that is designed to develop its students’ technological, financial, and global economic competencies. Students may elect to take a specialized list of courses that include, among others, Business Operations for Lawyers, Strategic Planning for Lawyers, and Law Practice Business and Technology Workshop. I will highlight two of the courses that most intrigued me.
First, NSU Law describes its course in Business Operations in this way, “In every area of legal practice, one or more of the parties in a transaction or dispute are business enterprises operating using a common set of disciplines and tools to share information, evaluate risk, and make financially-based decisions. This course provides law students with an introduction to these primary tools of quantitative analysis and research relied upon daily in the for-profit business, nonprofit, and public sectors. Lawyers who understand these tools can better understand the needs of their clients, provide additional strategies for structuring transactions and resolving disputes, and adding discipline to the operations of lawyers’ own law firms. Through simulations, exercises and discussions, students will explore how best to apply these tools to the practice of law.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the field often referred to as “Legal Operations,” take a look at a graphic created by Professor Bill Henderson of the University of Indiana Mauer School of Law that depicts the Legal Operations Core Competencies. Professor Henderson’s compelling Legal Evolution Blog includes a section devoted to Legal Ops.
A second NSU class, Law Practice Business and Technology Workshop is intended to supplement NSU Law’s Law Office Management Course. As NSU explains, “This course provides hands-on experience for students on a number of key operational aspects of the practice of law, including the business foundation of successful law firm management; security and confidentiality of client information; marketing, public relations, advertising and social media; duties of technological competence under ABA ‘Ethics 20/20’ amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility; predictive coding and other eDiscovery issues; client intake and case management; and issues related to the scope and composition of representation, including the unauthorized practice of law and unbundled legal services.”
Together, the courses that compose NSU Law’s new leadership curriculum are an important step in nudging legal education towards its inevitable and dramatically different future. New attorneys will need to be adept in the use of constantly evolving business and technology tools and practices thus better preparing them to adapt to their clients’ changing needs.