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B573 Law Firm as a Business Organization

Description The Law Firm as a Business Organization (2 credits). This course is an overview of the historical, economic, and sociological factors that have shaped (and continue to shape) the modern legal marketplace. The central focus is the law firm as a business organization. A recurring theme throughout the course is the tension between (a) the ideal of the lawyer as a trusted, autonomous professional, and (b) an emerging business environment that increasingly treats legal services as a commodity input. Discussion topics include the economic factors driving the growth of large law firms; law firm "business models" and how incentive structures affect relationships and behavior within the firm; how legal specialization affects the prospects of becoming partner; the entrepreneurship and business calculus of the plaintiffs' bar; the trend toward outsourcing legal services to non-U.S. lawyers, the movement toward multidisciplinary professional firms; and the continued economic viability of small law firms and solo practitioners. This course has no prerequisites and requires no knowledge of business. In fact, students without substantial work experience may find that the focus on the law firm provides a fairly intuitive introduction to basic business principles. This course will be taught in a seminar format, and there will be no final exam. Written assignments can be used to satisfy the second-year writing requirement.

Faculty W. Henderson

Spring 2014 - 2015Law Firm as a Business OrganizationHenderson, B.