Today’s highly competitive job market demands lawyers who possess both legal and business skills. In recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of today’s legal practice, Villanova University School of Law recently launched new learning modules that integrate critical business skills into the core curriculum. Under the umbrella of the new Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, these week-long modules on business-related issues were held January 13 to 17, 2014.
“At Villanova, we have listened to our students and to law firm, corporate and government employers: Law graduates of the 21st-century must have a more sophisticated, hands-on approach to both the legal industry and to the business practices of their future clients,” remarked John Y. Gotanda. “These new modules directly address this core competency and better prepare our students for today’s business-centric legal practice.”
By partnering with industry experts and leading law firms, Villanova Law designed two innovative courses that directly align with the demands of professional practice. The “Business and Financial Literacy for Lawyers” Module (for 1L students) and the “Business Aspects of Law” (for 2L and 3L students) are mandatory for the Class of 2016 and beyond.
Business and Financial Literacy for Lawyers
Business skills and financial literacy are vital to the success of new lawyers in today’s legal market. Crafted and presented in consultation with business and financial leaders, including Reuben Advani of BarBri, this module introduces law students to critical business and finance concepts. Beyond learning to read a financial statement, this course allows students to exercise creative problem solving, strategic thinking and professional judgment, and learn to work effectively with colleagues and senior attorneys. Students put these new concepts into practice as they work through real-life legal scenarios—the purchase of income-producing real estate and the sale and purchase of a business—to identify and better understand the business and financial issues faced by practicing lawyers.
This year’s lecturers included Joseph Del Raso ’83 and James Jumper of Pepper Hamilton; Stanley Milavec, Judy Wang Mayer ’07 and Doug Coopersmith ’74 of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney; Michael Trachtman ’74 and Eric Wilenzik of Powell Trachtman; and Samuel Becker ’78 and Kevin Baum ’97 of Blank Rome.
Business Aspects of Law
As the legal industry continues to evolve, understanding the business of practicing law has never been more important. The structure, personnel and economics of a law firm, and how to properly manage legal projects are all topics that today’s legal graduates must understand to be successful. This week-long course offers real-world lessons in the business of practicing law. Designed in consultation with legal management leaders with coursework tailored to what graduates need to know, this dynamic module covers topics such as legal management structures, ranging from the sole practitioner to large international firms; law firm personnel and their roles; revenue generation and overhead; and resource management for legal projects.
This year’s lecturers included Tony Licata and Colleen Nihill ’01, of Dechert LLP; Arthur Greenberg of Goodwin Procter LLP; Amy Schuh ’98 of Merck & Co. and Meredith Carter ’06 of Rembrandt IP Management; and Steve Sugarman of Steven L. Sugarman & Associates.
Click here to learn more about the Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.