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10/22/13 Business education for lawyers: Commercial law | The Economist More from The Economist Subscription kate@jerichocap.com World politics Business & finance Economics Science & technology Culture Blogs Debate Multimedia Print edition This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our cookies information for more details Business education for lawyers Comment (13) E-mail Print Reprints & permissions Commercial law An
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  10/22/13Business education for lawyers: Commercial law | The Economistwww.economist.com/news/business/21588086-effort-turn-lawyers-creators-not-suffocators-business-commercial-law1/4 More from The EconomistSubscriptionkate@jerichocap.com World politicsBusiness & financeEconomicsScience & technologyCultureBlogsDebateMultimediaPrint edition This site uses cookies. By continuing to br owse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our cookies information for more details In this section Runway or another Oh really, O’Leary?Safe as housesFizzing with rage Commercial law Catwalk credentialsTap to hail A new business idol Reprints Related topics Oct 19th 2013 | NEW YORK | From the print edition Business education for lawyers Commercial law  An effort to turn lawyers into creators, not suffocators, of business IT SEEMS that everyone, from Barack Obama down, thinks there is something wrong with America’s law schools. The president questions whether their graduate courses need to beas long as three years. Potential students are spurning them: applications are falling, other than at a few elite institutions. Michael Schill, the dean of one of those top schools, at theUniversity of Chicago, laments that lawyers are no longer making it to the top of bigcompanies as they used to. Surveys suggest practising lawyers are miserable, perhapsbecause they feel their career prospects are limited.Many lawyers end up working in business, but their legal education leaves them ill-preparedfor this. Apart from a bit of accounting, law-school courses typically contain little that is of help in running an enter prise. So Chicago’s law school has just launched a programme in which students will also take courses from the university’s Booth business school—theworld’s best, according to The Economist  ’s latest “Which MBA?” league table.One of Chicago law school’s most prominent alumni, DanielDoctoroff, the chief executive of Bloomberg, and his wife Alisa, a Booth alumna, are backing the initiative to the tune of $5m. The students will learn such things as how to manageand finance start-ups, and how to position a business in acompetitive market. Attempts have been made before to bindbusiness and legal education, but there have been few takers.Mr Schill says people may be put off by the extra cost andtime involved in pursuing a joint degree. It does not help that inmany universities the legal and business faculties are barelyon speaking terms: for years, Harvard’s stubbornly kept todifferent teaching calendars, making it hard for students toregister for both schools’ courses.Whereas MBA schools encourage their students to launchnew ventures to gain practical business skills, the ethos of lawschool is, to a fair degree, about constraining and preventingbusiness activities. Law faculties have long sent their studentsto gain practical experience by giving free advice to the poor—a worthy pursuit, but it often means learning how to be good atsuing businesses, especially private landlords. Back in class,when the students learn about business revenues, the emphasis is generally on how aclaimant (and his lawyer) can get a cut of them, rather than on how to increase them. ChicagoEducationHigher educationProfessional schools  Advertisement Comment (13)E-mailPrintReprints & permissions Print edition Oct 19th 2013Oct 12th 2013Oct 5th 2013Sep 28th 201 From the print edition Oct 19th 2013  10/22/13Business education for lawyers: Commercial law | The Economistwww.economist.com/news/business/21588086-effort-turn-lawyers-creators-not-suffocators-business-commercial-law2/4  An entire branch of legal education called “law and economics”, largely developed atChicago, touches on business. But it focuses more on how laws affect economic behaviour than on how they can be designed to promote enterprise. Likewise, statistical analysis hasbecome an important part of law, but often it is used to establish a claim against a business,such as for discrimination, rather than to assess the viability of a potential venture.Business schools, for their part, often give MBA students no more than a perfunctoryintroduction to law: they do learn about tax (and how to avoid it), and maybe take shortcourses on corporate law as it affects such things as issuing shares or declaringbankruptcy; but they learn little else on the panoply of laws that will bear down on themduring their careers.Chicago’s new course is just a first step in closing the yawning gap between theentrepreneurship that a corporate lawyer needs and the legal knowledge that a goodentrepreneur would benefit from. Like the farmer and the cowman in “Oklahoma!”, thelawyer and the manager should be friends, though their interests all too often come intoconflict. From the print edition: Business 29 View all comments (13)Add your comment Related items Recommend More from The EconomistAirline seats : Seat maths Working hours : Get a life Electricity : Edison’srevenge The Economist explains : Why areMuslims finding it harder to complete thehaj? The Economist explains : Could PuertoRico become America's 51st state? European utilities : How to lose half atrillion euros Poland and Russia : Wounds of the past Iraq's dwindling rivers : AMesopotamian odyssey Roma in Greece : Maria's fate TOPIC: »Chicago Unreliable research: Trouble at the labDaily chart: Which MBA?Business education: Change management TOPIC: »Education Education: A million reasons to improve teacher qualityFree exchange: Knowledge for earnings’ sakeHigher education: Learned Luddites TOPIC: »Higher education The Economist explains: Will MOOCs killuniversity degrees?Making law school cheaper: For many, two yearsis plentyHigher education: Universities challenged TOPIC: »Professional schools Making law school cheaper: For many, two yearsis plentyLetters: On social mobility, Singapore, lawschools, waterways, television, North KoreaReforming America’s legal education: The two- RecommendedCommented Follow The Economist  Latest blog posts - All times are GMT Most popular The Economist explains : How do bike-sharing schemes shape cities? The Economist explains - 3 hours 23 mins ago Kenya and the ICC : Trying trials Baobab - Oct 22nd, 22:57 Edward Burtynsky photographs water  :Snapping from a hole in a Cessna Prospero - Oct 22nd, 18:52 Airline customer service : Mr O’Learytakes to Twitter  Gulliver - Oct 22nd, 17:14 Pensions : Save yourself  Buttonwood's notebook - Oct 22nd, 16:53 Low-cost tablet wars : You won't find an Apple under every Christmas... Schumpeter - Oct 22nd, 16:05 Obamacare : One reason for thecomplexity Democracy in America - Oct 22nd, 16:02 More from our blogs »  10/22/13Business education for lawyers: Commercial law | The Economistwww.economist.com/news/business/21588086-effort-turn-lawyers-creators-not-suffocators-business-commercial-law3/4 Want more? Subscribe to The Economist   and get the week's mostrelevant news and analysis. year itch  Advertisement Products & events Stay informed today and every day Get e-mail newsletters Subscribe to The Economist's  free e-mailnewsletters and alerts. Follow The Economist   on Twitter  Subscribe to The Economist's  latest articlepostings on Twitter  Follow The Economist   on Facebook See a selection of The Economist's  articles,events, topical videos and debates on Facebook. Advertisement Advertisement › Best Online Colleges 2013 › Top 10 MBA Colleges › Online Depression Help › High Yield Bonds › 10 Stocks To Buy › Highest CD Rates Problems withscientific research How science goeswrong Unreliable research : Trouble at the lab The fiscal deal in Washington : Worse thanEurope, really Politics this weekLetters : On Spain, Bulgaria, David Cameron, thecensus, art, missing people, roundabouts, energy,consultants 12345  10/22/13Business education for lawyers: Commercial law | The Economistwww.economist.com/news/business/21588086-effort-turn-lawyers-creators-not-suffocators-business-commercial-law4/4 Manager/Advisor(m/f) SupportingTa… Jobs.economist.com Chief, MediaRelations, P-5 Jobs.economist.com SENIOR PROGRAM& POLICYSUPPORT SPE… Jobs.economist.com Program Manager,InformationProgram Jobs.economist.com [+] Site Feedback Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2013. 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