Yesterday, I sat in on the ABA Young Lawyers Division council meeting in Minneapolis. The council was considering a resolution to recommend to the ABA House of Delegates that would require law schools to teach business skills to law students.
Better-equipping law students to practice law ought to be the job of law schools, after all. But, I can’t help thinking, what makes anyone think law schools would be any good at teaching business skills?
I mean, few law professors actually have any practical experience. What do they know about teaching business skills? Apart from theoretically, that is. Of course, I suppose classed on law practice management are the sort of thing that would probably be taught by adjuncts — practicing lawyers — who might actually have some real-world business experience. But someone has to develop the curriculum. Who will law schools find to do that?
Plus, law schools aren’t exactly known for adapting to changes in the marketplace. The tools of business aren’t exactly static. How will law schools keep their curriculum up-to-date? Teaching business will also, presumably, involve teaching students about business-related products. Software, hardware, tablets, phones. Is it a good idea for law schools to choose Time Matters over Clio, or QuickBooks over PC Law?
I’m not saying it’s impossible for law schools to develop a good curriculum or come up with a way to teach students about practice tools without turning into shills; I just think it’s important to ask how they will do it before we start demanding they do.