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By Ryan McClead
On 17 October I saw Daniel B. Rodriguez, Dean of the Northwestern University School of Law, speak at the ARK Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference. His presentation explained how some of the challenges that we are experiencing in law firms have trickled down to the law schools, and he gave some examples of how they are adjusting their approach and curricula to better prepare their students for the “new normal”. One of the solutions he described was partnering with other schools to provide joint degrees. Since the economic downturn, Northwestern has reduced the number of traditional JD-only students, but has increased the size of their JD/MBA dual degree program. He also expressed an interest in partnering with a medical school to develop a JD/MD curriculum, and he made a passing mention of possibly doing something with “the humanities”.
I wholeheartedly applaud the joint degree approach. In my opinion, there is a severe lack of basic business understanding among lawyers. The fact that the phrase “not all revenue is profitable” often requires a lengthy explanation is a good indication that attorneys need more business training. The JD/MD seems a little less immediately applicable, except of course to medical and health care law, but anything that gets attorneys to see how other people think is probably a good thing. Which brings me to “the humanit
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Ryan is the Manager of Knowledge Systems at Norton Rose Fulbright
(Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP). He has spent the last decade
advocating for and implementing, policies, procedures, and tools to
improve the flow of knowledge and information across the firm. He works
interdepartmentally to find logical and technological solutions to
problems plaguing individuals, departments, and the firm at large. Ryan
is also a regular contributor to 3 Geeks and a Law Blog at geeklawblog.com.
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