The law school community has been discussing the merits of an LLM degree in entrepreneurship this year, prompted by Duke’s announcement of a new program.
As we pointed out earlier, considering that most lawyers may be more focused on practicing law than dealing with the particulars of business, the degree may have some merits, especially for an understanding of how to help business clients.
Inc. tried to answer the question, as The University of Colorado at Boulder Law School is also planning to implement a similar program this year.
Inc: Brad Bernthal, who will teach classes for the Colorado program, sees one of the major advantages of hiring a lawyer with an entrepreneurial law degree is his or her understanding of the business mindset. This he says, can help bootstrapping start-up companies prioritise their legal needs.
Bill Brown, who helped start the Duke program, agrees that this understanding can be mutually beneficial. “Lawyers are generally taught how to spot issues, but too frequently they’re not given the tools to solve the problems the way that their clients solve the problem,” he says. “And this really addresses that.”
But it is not clear how an LLM degree, while arming students with extra experience from externships or added classes, can replace real world business experience. As David Mann, a Northwestern professor of entrepreneurship, said, “There’s a lot of lawyers like me who learn what they need to know to serve their clients. You might have an LLM, but are you dry behind the ears yet?”
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