What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In

by John C. Coates, Jesse M. Fried & Kathryn E. Spier
 
 

Overview — An online survey of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms suggests possible new directions for educating and training Harvard Law School students. The most salient result from the survey is that students should learn accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These two subject areas are viewed as particularly valuable both for lawyers in litigation and lawyers working in corporate/transactional practice areas.

Author Abstract

We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills.

Paper Information

  • Full Working Paper Text
  • Working Paper Publication Date: February 2015
  • HBS Working Paper Number: 2014-12
  • Faculty Unit(s):