At the same time that HLS students are learning from the real world of practice, lawyers are benefiting from HLS classrooms. The HLS Executive Education Program offers intensive courses, including Leadership in Law Firms, aimed at law firm managing partners and senior firm leaders, and Leadership in Corporate Counsel, aimed at general counsels and chief legal officers. In the spring, the New Partners Program will focus on recently elected equity partners. In addition, last winter, a training program for Milbank associates was launched, which will provide intensive education in business, finance, and law from HLS and HBS faculty over the course of several years.
“We try to connect the worlds of academics and practitioners to the benefit of both communities,” says Professor of Practice Ashish Nanda, faculty director of Executive Education. “Already, we have seen the benefits of collaboration … in the form of new case studies, research projects, class visits and seminars.”
Professor John Coates, who also teaches in the executive ed program, says he appreciates being exposed to what today’s lawyers find most challenging. “Teaching people who’ve been out in practice for 20 or 30 years is certainly changing the way I think about teaching things,” he says. For example, Coates, who also teaches legal ethics, recalls that he used to believe that noncompetition agreements among lawyers should be prohibited. After listening to longtime practitioners describing the problem of turnover—with lawyers building up business at one firm and then taking clients with them when they join another—he now thinks noncompetes have a valid purpose. “All of that comes out of listening to the stories of people running these firms,” he says.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2012 edition of the Harvard Law Bulletin.