Law schools wake up to in-house needs

By James Barnes

24 October 2012 at 09:08 BST

Several leading US law schools are taking measures to give experience-based learning for future in-house counsel.

Stanford University, California

With the role drastically changing over the past decade thanks to hard-hitting laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, some schools are taking positive steps to fully equip their students for what they may face in the future.

Chief ethicist’s Corporate Counsel web site reports that Stanford law and business students are currently able to take a class exploring ‘the role of the modern general counsel’, taught by retired Apple GC Daniel Cooperman
‘The general counsel today is the chief ethicist in most companies,’ Mr Cooperman states. ‘That's a powerful and daunting role. We ask the students: 'What could you have done, were you in the GC chair?’’
At Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, Steven Burkhart - GC at the Bic Corporation in Shelton, Connecticut - taught a spring course on ‘in-house counsel practice’ which brought real world problems to the class in order to offer practical experience.

Targeted classes

The style of course varies greatly between schools, with some focussing on the in-house role in general while others zoom in on particular duties. But, overall, the in-house focussed classes have been welcomed by students and teachers alike, with one group of law professors welcoming the targeted classes in the face of the ‘growing crescendo of ferment in the world of legal education.’


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