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

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HLS Program on the Legal Profession Research Paper No. 2014-12

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John C. Coates; IV; Jesse M. Fried; Kathryn E. Spier
legal education; accounting; finance; law firms; legal practice; corporate finance; legal profession
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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.