Business Environment of Law Firms

Do you intend to join a law firm? Do you aspire to be a partner, general counsel, or sole practitioner? The legal sector you will be entering is changing rapidly, driven by client pressure, inter-firm competition, and technology. You will need to understand and respond to both macro and micro events which impact you, your team, and your organization. You will have to make critical business decisions for profitable growth - with clarity on financial implications of your actions. In this course, you will learn frameworks to understand and analyze law firms and legal industry dynamics; and tools to interpret financial implication of managerial actions.


By having such a deep and critical understanding of the business side, you will provide higher value to your employers. Law firms and in-house legal departments are increasingly giving credit to junior lawyers with this additional knowledge. Comprehending how law firms and the legal industry operate will equip you to navigate through the changing legal industry landscape. Learning about finance and management will provide you skills to make effective personal and professional decisions well into your career.


This course will cover all aspects: finance, management and organization; and fundamental financial and managerial processes. You will learn interrelationship of strategy, management actions and consequent financial impacts. Many course learnings can help you in a different way – to conduct financial and strategic analysis of your clients. A recent key industry survey asked which subject material would be most valuable for law school students…the result: accounting and financial statement analysis.


The topics we will cover in our class include:


o             Legal industry overview and law firm organization

o             Elements of law firm finance and key firm financial statements

o             Business development and marketing

o             Client purchasing decisions, AFAs, RFPs

o             Firm growth mechanisms and success/failure factors

o             Law firm strategy and future structures


Evaluation will be based on Harvard Law cases, individual assignments and student projects. As feasible, we will invite key legal industry leaders as guest speakers.

Class Details

Short course from 9/1/17 through 11/3/17

Meeting Days Time Location
Friday 12:30 - 3:00 pm JON 6.207

Examination information not available

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed
Will use floating mean GPA if applicable


Srinivasan, Madhav Srinivasan, Madhav