What sort of business/management training is relevant to lawyers?
May 12, 2011 9:57 AM   Subscribe

What sort of business/management training is relevant to lawyers?

I work in a government department, where we have a few thousand dollars per fiscal year per employee for training, and we need to select courses "related to our job" or promotional opportunities within the department. Basically, the idea is training us for a career path in the government.

However, for a number of reasons, I don't see my long-term future as working towards management in government, particularly in the department I work in as while the people are great, I'm in an activity area that's not particularly relevant to either my current altruistic interests (civil liberties, privacy and human rights) nor to my academic background (comparative democracies and international relations). I'm in the process of applying to law schools (to start in Fall 2012), but for financial reasons I'll be working for at least one more fiscal year, so I may as well spend my learning budget.

So, my question is to those in the legal profession (either public/crown or in private or corporate practice): what sort of management or business training would you have found useful when starting your careers that isn't included in a legal education? The budget allows for very short-term courses. I'm looking at subjects related to planning, risk management, etc, that I could make a case for in my current role, but since I see myself going into some variety of litigation or possibly becoming a crown, it would be nice to take something that could potentially help me there, too.
posted by Kurichina to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First, understand that the odds of you actually getting a job doing civil rights or international law work is pretty slim. Those jobs are either 1) really sexy and thus intensely competitive, or 2) drastically underfunded. You'll probably wind up litigating torts or defending criminal cases.

Second, that being said, there are definitely things you can do here that would be relevant. First, look into a course on the basics of insurance. Almost every lawyer deals with it, even if only tangentially, but most don't take any classes on it. Even the ability to navigate a policy will come in handy. Second, law is a business and this has a lot in common with more traditional businesses: we sell services to make money. So a course on reading a balance sheet or basic accounting will be useful not only in reading documents for cases but in running and understanding your firm.
posted by valkyryn at 11:58 AM on May 12, 2011

Oh my goodness do I wish I had taken a basic accounting course. Even if you never work for yourself, finances come up in all kinds of cases.
posted by freshwater at 2:14 PM on May 12, 2011

Nthing accounting.
posted by seventyfour at 2:29 PM on May 12, 2011

This is probably less useful than advice from practicing (Canadian) lawyers, but my (US) law school offers accounting and corporate finance classes as part of the law school curriculum...
posted by _Silky_ at 2:31 PM on May 12, 2011

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