Harvard Law School Partners with Milbank

Harvard Law School announced last week that it would partner with prominent New York law firm Milbank to create an annual eight-day executive training program for associates.

The program will teach fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh year associates about three major areas: business and finance, law, and leadership and management, according to Ashish Nanda, the Law School’s faculty chair of executive education.

"Clients are increasingly demanding value-for-fee charged," Nanda said, explaining that Milbank is trying to use the program to build the capabilities of its associates that will "translate to better quality of service to clients."

The program will benefit the Law School as well, according to Nanda. He said that the program would give the Law School a “tactile, close look at senior- and mid-level associates.”

Since many Law School students will become associates at law firms, Nanda said the Law School hopes to assess what associates need to know and didn’t learn while acquiring their law degrees. This will enable the Law School to potentially tweak their J.D. program to make it more meaningful, according to Nanda.

The partnership with Milbank will also allow the Law School to explore the possibility of creating an executive education program with open enrollment or offering more executive education programs for junior members of firms. Many other professional schools, like the Harvard Business School, offer many executive education programs.

Nanda says that the Law School would be happy to collaborate on executive education programs with other law firms or government bodies that approach Law School administrators.

While other firms have chosen to respond to the market by cutting the number of associates or making associates take yearly exams, Milbank leaders have been seeking a way to distinguish themselves, according to Nanda.

“We are delighted to initiate this unique program at Harvard Law School,” said Mel M. Immergut, chairman of Milbank, in a Law School statement. “We believe that our clients need lawyers who have been trained in both business and law at the highest level, with a real-world practical understanding of the commercial problems that they face.”

Law School Dean Martha L. Minow said she was excited about the collaboration in the Law School statement.

“This collaboration will represent an important part of Harvard Law School’s continuing emphasis on strengthening the ties between theory and practice, as well as business and law, connecting our teaching with the fresh experiences of the legal practitioners who will come here to learn but also to share knowledge,” Minow said.

—Staff writer Caroline M. McKay can be reached at carolinemckay@college.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction.

CORRECTION: FEB. 16, 2011.

The Feb. 16 article "Harvard Law School Partners with Milbank" misquoted Law School Professor Ashish Nanda as saying that there is a link between a weak labor market and demands placed on law firms.

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