The NSU Leadership Academy helps participating students develop the skills needed to successfully practice law in the 21st century through course work, workshops, and live client experiences integrated through a specialized law school curriculum. The Academy features core courses on the business of lawyering combined with live-client training for entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership.
The mastery of these skills, which include finance, business, management, leadership, technology, and client engagement, are essential for lawyers to navigate the complex business of delivering legal services and achieving professional success.
The Academy begins with a unique, three-course sequence on business, finance, and legal technology, essential in transactional, civil, and criminal practice settings. Academy participants are encouraged to serve in the Sharon and Mitchell W. Berger Entrepreneur Law Clinic, which provides hands-on, live clinical experience for students to advise entrepreneurs and start-up ventures. Students interested in criminal law or civil litigation can participate in one of the many in-house clinics and field placement opportunities to meet the live-client expectation.
The elective curriculum incorporates a global perspective and enhances law students' success in navigating the legal marketplace, while helping to build a bridge between the knowledge of law and the practical understanding of business practice.
Business Operations for Lawyers (3 credits)
In every area of legal practice, one or more of the parties in a transaction or dispute are business enterprises operating using a common set of disciplines and tools to share information, evaluate risk, and make financially-based decisions. This course provides law students with an introduction to these primary tools of quantitative analysis and research relied upon daily in the for-profit business, nonprofit, and public sectors. Lawyers who understand these tools can better understand the needs of their clients, provide additional strategies for structuring transactions and resolving disputes, and adding discipline to the operations of lawyers' own law firms. Through simulations, exercises and discussions, students will explore how best to apply these tools to the practice of law.
Strategic Business Planning for Lawyers (3 credits)
Whatever the area of legal practice, lawyers working in private practice are called upon to operate sophisticated business enterprises to facilitate client development, address competitive forces, create a healthy, professional working environment, and manage the constant change at the heart of modern legal practice. As the Best Practices of Legal Education by Roy Stuckey explains, every lawyer is expected to "demonstrate an appreciation of the commercial environment of legal practice, including the market for legal services." To achieve these ends, students are required to contextualize their understanding of corporate law, contract law and other legal topics related to business organizations primarily from the perspective of the organization's leadership. Students will develop skills to bring a business leaders' perspective to legal problem-solving and to integrate business ethics with legal ethics regarding the evaluation of potential solutions to organizational challenges.
Law Practice Business and Technology Workshop (2 credits)
The operations of successful private practice require an understanding of the primary tools used to efficiently deliver legal services and meet the ethical and professional obligations involved in providing competent representation. New lawyers must understand the law firm business and operations if they are to succeed in the profession. Ideally, this course complements a course on Law Practice Management. This course provides hands-on experience for students on a number of key operational aspects of the practice of law, including the business foundation of successful law firm management; security and confidentiality of client information; marketing, public relations, advertising and social media; duties of technological competence under ABA "Ethics 20/20" amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility; predictive coding and other eDiscovery issues; client intake and case management; and issues related to the scope and composition of representation, including the unauthorized practice of law and unbundled legal services.
The Sharon and Mitchell W. Berger Entrepreneur Law Clinic provides direct legal service to entrepreneurs, qualifying businesses, nonprofit organizations, NSU students, researchers, and innovators in technology, life sciences, and in the creative communities. The clinic provides an array of legal counseling and transactional services, primarily in the corporate and intellectual property fields. The new clinic will also facilitate workshops, outreach and community training to educate and encourage entrepreneurship and creative business development, playing an especially important role in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities.
Beyond the three-course core curriculum, students select among courses in business, intellectual property and technology law, and international law to prepare them for an entrepreneurial, global practice in transactional law, civil law, or criminal law.