by: Kathryn Marshall
There has been a lot of talk lately about ways to reform our legal education system in Canada. There has been a move towards more practical lawyering skills courses, such as negotiation and advocacy. While law school remains a largely academic, traditional education experience in Canada, the reality is that the legal profession is a practical vocation that requires many everyday skills. These skills include staff management, communication, business development and finances.
Lawyers are many things, from advocates to problem solvers, but they are also business people and Business 101 should be a mandatory course for all law students. There are several law degree programs in Canada that offer a joint LLB/MBA stream, however this is not really suitable for people who plan to practice law exclusively.
Most lawyers, even junior lawyers, are typically responsible for managing staff as part of their legal practice. Lawyers who start their own firm or become partners in a firm have business management duties beyond practicing law.
A basic business course would benefit most lawyers in their law practice, and should be taught along with the black letter law courses in school.
What course do you think should be taught in law school?