Business Strategy for Legal Professionals – 6643
“strat*e*gy (strat’ ê-je) n. pl. -gies. 1. The science or art of military command as applied to the overall planning and conduct of large-scale combat operations. Compare tactics. 2. A plan of action resulting from the practice of this science. 3. The art or skill of using stratagems in politics, business, courtship, or the like. [French stratégie, from Greek strategia, office of general, from strategos, general, deployment. See stratagem.]”
-Definition of “strategy”, American Heritage Dictionary (1981)
In any contest there are winners and losers. When individuals persistently win (or lose) the curious among us want to know why. What is the magic behind a winning or losing streak? Does the competitive landscape tend to favor one contestant over others? Where the contestants are firms, such questions fall under the field of study some call “strategic management” and others call “business policy” or simply “strategy.” This course introduces the concept of strategy in a business context, and applies it in diverse situations legal professionals face, whether as lawyers in private practice advising external clients, as in-house counsel advising internal clients within a firm, or as government lawyers advising agency clients about the conduct of private individuals and firms in the agency’s regulatory or other investigative scope. We are thinking about how lawyers can think like their non-lawyer clients – be adept at, say, thinking like a graduate student in an MBA course or an executive running a publicly-held, for profit firm. We are also thinking about how lawyers think and act like business executives themselves –be adept at, say, running their law firm, participating in important discussions with other top managers at a firm or not-for-profit organization, or setting policies within an agency. What does the term, strategy, mean? Definitions abound but certain elements recur among them. The definition noted above is typical. It links the term to generalship. Strategy is about planning,knowledge-gathering and interpretation, decision-making and leadership, all in the context of conflict with others over time. It is a simplification, but probably not an oversimplification, to describe this course as a study of generalship in the business context. The overall aim of the Business Strategy for Legal Professionals (BSLP) course is to provide you with an opportunity to observe and develop business generalship skills relevant to legal professionals through readings, case discussion, class exercises and occasional examination.