Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Entrepreneurial Attorney

One of the interesting results that came out of LexisNexis's year-end survey of the legal profession was the finding that 65% of law school students (and 90% of lawyers) feel that law school does not teach them the practical business skills needed to practice law in today’s economy.

While it is common for MBA programs to offer cross-disciplinary entrepreneurial studies, it is not the norm at the vast majority of law schools.

But that may be changing.

Duke Law School recently announced that it will launch a unique master’s program in law and entrepreneurship for prospective lawyers "who plan to be involved with innovative business."

From the Duke Law School press release:
In America and, increasingly, on a global basis, we look to the entrepreneurial sector for creativity and solutions. The ongoing economic shifts resulting from the crisis in the global capital markets are likely to accelerate this trend.
Duke joins a number of universities leading the charge to incorporate entrepreneurial studies into their law school curriculum.

The University of Pittsburgh Law School offers cross-disciplinary opportunities in their Innovation Practice Institute. The IPI's director, Max Miller, says on the IPI website:
The marketplace is demanding solution-oriented, business savvy lawyers. IPI is here to train the new generation of lawyer.
The University of Oregon offers their Center for Law and Entrepreneurship, whose mission is to "prepare law students to represent and to be entrepreneurs."

Drexel's Earle Mack School of Law offers their Business and Entrepreneurship Law Program, and the Pepperdine University School of Law has the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and Law.

The trend towards incorporating entrepreneurial disciplines into traditional law school curriculum makes perfect sense.

One inevitable byproduct will be new law school graduates who think like entrepreneurs, which can't help but bring technologically driven advances to the business of law.

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