Minding More than Our Own Business: Educating Entrepreneurial Lawyers through Law School-Business School Collaborations
72 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2008
Business clients often view lawyers as obstructionists who do little more than tell them they cannot do what they want to do. These perceptions are particularly prevalent among creative, energetic entrepreneurs who have crafted an innovative product or service to satisfy a market need and are anxious to commercialize their inventions. The most effective business lawyers understand that they must do more than report impediments. They recognize the need to consider the client's underlying goals and business plans and, when they identify a legal obstacle, to be prepared to suggest and explore reasonable alternatives that can be accomplished in compliance with the law. This article reports on developments in the education of business-oriented law students that have occurred in recent years at several U.S. law schools, explores law school-business school collaborations in particular, and offers suggestions that might be of value to others seeking to use interdisciplinary initiatives to augment the training of students desirous of becoming effective business lawyers. It identifies obstacles to law school involvement in interdisciplinary collaboration and discusses course offerings at schools that have overcome these obstacles in implementing innovative programs in both regular classroom and clinical curricula. Finally, the article presents a case study of efforts to develop a comprehensive Entrepreneurial Lawyering Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, with special focus on a law school-business school collaborative course in Entrepreneurship & New Venture Creation which involves team teaching to law students, MBA students and engineering students. The article concludes that the benefits to faculty and students of this type of collaboration far outweigh the costs of addressing the associated challenges.
Keywords: Entrepreneurial lawyers, Law school, Business school, Collaboration, Business-oriented lawyer, Interdisciplinary, Entrepreneurship, Venture Creation, MBA, Law student
JEL Classification: I20, I21, I29, L31, L32, M13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation