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Better Career Opportunities Through ... Accounting?

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on February 23, 2015 8:50 AM

While we've taken our shots at the "practice-ready" curriculum and "JD advantage," if you're at a law school where those buzzwords percolate, chances are your job prospects aren't that awesome (otherwise, the career services office would be talking about actual practice jobs, not "sort of law-related" jobs).

You've made your bed. No use crying over spilt milk. And other cliches. Lots of lower-tier law schools are trying to make their students attractive by giving them other skills. So prepare yourself for some intensive training in ... accounting?

Learning the Basics

At Brooklyn Law School, students are spending three days in a "boot camp" learning about accounting and business, The New York Times' Dealbook recently reported. The point is clearly to give students at not-so-highly-ranked Brooklyn Law School an edge over graduates from other schools by imbuing them with business knowledge (although three days of "intensive" training in learning how to read a balance sheet probably isn't going to make the job offers pour in).

Although, the Times says, even schools like Cornell -- which is highly ranked -- are getting into the training-lawyers-for-business gig. More broadly, the point is to make the Future Lawyers of America aware of how businesses work. For students who want to work at BigLaw firms, much of their time is going to be spent working with giant mega-corporations, so they'd better know how their clients operate.

I Don't Know Much About the Business World

Business training also prepares students for how to work in a business environment, necessary because of "the lack of exposure many graduates have to teamwork, business strategy, client interaction and other fundamentals of running a corporation." In other words: Law school students don't know how to go to work. At an average age of 24 or 25, most 1Ls come straight from undergraduate school or a year spent volunteering, and haven't had a "real" post-college adult job.

And we're not even talking about classes on how to run a business, a necessity for any student who's thinking about starting his or her own firm. Yes, yes, law is a profession, but running a law office? That's a business, too, and plenty of businesses fail all the time because the owners have no idea what they're doing.

It's not terribly likely that a few seminars' worth of rudimentary business skills are going to impress employers. What they might do is impress potential internship placements, leading to internships, which do lead to actual connections and the possibility of employment. We just hope these students don't think learning about double-entry bookkeeping is going to guarantee them a job.

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