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Mitchell Hamline School of Law - Center for Law and Business


This dissertation examines the impacts of business law education through a multi-layered review of surveys, data, and literature. The authors examine what law schools across the country offer, explore research conducted in partnership with the Minnesota and American Bar Associations, and provide a systemic review of the relevant literature. The data shows attorneys resoundingly do not believe law school coursework prepared them adequately for the business of law.

Despite the practical changes that have been made to law school education since the 1960s to the present, there is still a disconnect between what law schools say they will provide and what is delivered. By examining this issue of how law schools have offered an unfulfilled promise, we clarify the process by which education can transform lives, open doors, and reorganize structures to address the needs of the communities we serve. The period studied: 2009–20 includes the expansion of online capabilities, distance learning, and the global pandemic of COVID 19. Two major research strategies are used: (1) a quantitative analysis of state and countrywide-level data and (2) a review of literature. Data has been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, published reports, and studies. This dissertation challenges the proposition that that doctrinal law school course offerings adequately prepare law students to thrive in business for themselves or their clients. Practical skills courses, innovation, collaboration, simulations, and partnerships with lawyers, teachers and businesspeople in the community will be the driving agents for change.