News Column

What courses do big law firms want you to take in law school?

February 21, 2014

A group of Harvard law professors surveyed attorneys from 11 big law firms to ask them what courses students at Harvard ought to take. The big headline is that they recommend finance courses, like accounting and financial reporting, and corporate finance both for transactional lawyers, and to a lesser extent, for litigators. As Eric Posner puts it:

This chimes with my experience. I tell students that they should take as many finance-related courses as possible, including advanced courses in the business school. Math-anxious law students normally shy away from classes like these, only to find that they are expected to understand what a collateralized debt obligation or credit default swap is on the first day of practice. And, unlike the case of, say, antitrust, a good understanding of finance is not something one can pick up from practice. One might learn to fake it, but one needs a deep understanding. Every other big case these days seems to have a large finance component, and lawyers who are comfortable with finance can contribute more than those who aren't.

All of that seems fair enough. But what if you've taken all of the business-type classes your school offers, or you want to take other stuff? The most highly rated non-business type courses were (in descending order):


Intellectual property law

Federal courts

Administrative law

Patent law

Conflict of laws

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: Legal Monitor Worldwide

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