Law Firms Seek Associates With More Business Training

According to a recent “Roundtable on the Future of Lawyer Hiring, Development and Advancement” hosted by NALP, law firms are in broad agreement that they would like to see new lawyers with more exposure to business training.  As explained by Robert E. Williams, Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, “[a]ll the lawyers here are familiar with the legal case method, where you read a fact pattern and then think of the applicable law.  In the business case method, you read a fact pattern and then think of what you should do…I think that’s really invigorating to someone who’s been steeped in the legal case method for quite a long time, and it will bring them into closer alignment with the way their clients think.”  (“Finding the New Normal,” NALP Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 6, June 2011)  If you have a business degree or a background in a business related field, emphasize the skills you learned in that regard on your resume and in interviews.  When asked what distinguishes you from other candidates, point out how your practical business experience translates into being a better attorney who understands the practical day-to-day implications of legal conclusions.  Afterall, a law firm is a business!