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

25 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2014 Last revised: 23 Nov 2014

John C. Coates, IV

Harvard Law School

Jesse M. Fried

Harvard Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Kathryn E. Spier

Harvard University - Law School - Faculty; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 17, 2014

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.

Keywords: legal education, accounting, finance, law firms, legal practice, corporate finance, legal profession

JEL Classification: K20, K29, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Coates, IV, John C. and Fried, Jesse M. and Spier, Kathryn E., What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard's Largest Employers Weigh In (February 17, 2014). HLS Program on the Legal Profession Research Paper No. 2014-12; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 14-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2397317

John C. Coates

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jesse M. Fried (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Griswold Hall 506
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-8158 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10289/Fried

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Kathryn E. Spier

Harvard University - Law School - Faculty ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 302
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 496-0019 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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