Fast-Track JD/MBAs and Business Skills for Lawyers

There's a nice collection of articles in today's WSJ for aspiring lawyers and JD/MBAs:

Creating a Shorter Path to a JD/MBA: This is a good discussion of the pros and cons of the 3-year joint degree. I would add that the 3-year program is too short unless you have a fair amount of work experience and very targeted goals for the joint program (and what comes after). You would need to hit the ground running as soon as you get there, and be very smart about mapping out those three years and the summers in between. Most law school applicants and many business school applicants I cross paths with don't have that much focus yet. They are going to graduate school to figure out what they want to do with themselves, and they are not really the ones who would benefit from the fast-track joint degree.

Law Firms Embrace Business School 101: Law firms are realizing that their attorneys lack management and business training and are therefore sending them to executive ed classes at business schools ("We realized our associates don't have an inside view of how our clients work").

Lawyers Often Lack the Skills Needed to Draw, Keep Clients: They don't teach you business development or client relations in law school, and I often remind law school applicants who tell me they're "not interested in business" that at a minimum, if they hope to advance as lawyers and own an equity stake in a law firm one day (whether at a large firm or as solo practitioners), they will have to learn how to think like business owners and learn how to run a business.

Hand in hand with client relations, it's also important for young attorneys to learn how to interact appropriately with more senior associates and law firm partners. Here's a recent example, in the form of an email exchange, of a junior law firm associate who needs to learn those skills (tone, content, spelling, judgment). It's a good reminder that going to a top law school is not the same thing as knowing how to succeed in the working world.

Thoughts? Comments? Please share.