This week, Brooklyn Law School, in collaboration with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and John Oswald ’84, President and CEO of Capital Trust Group, conducted a business “Boot Camp” designed to teach law students valuable skills for succeeding in the business world. This unique course, the first of its kind, involved over 200 students during the winter break. Developed and taught by top business professionals and the School’s corporate and business law faculty, the program provided students with the skills and basic business literacy they will need to serve their clients.
The intense “mini-MBA,” offered to students free-of-charge and for course credit, was intended to enhance the business law training they already receive at the Law School. Oswald, who generously underwrote the program, said his goal in funding it was to inspire young lawyers to expand their business vocabulary and acumen in order to deliver the services that corporate clients now demand and law firms must provide to thrive in today’s increasingly competitive and challenging market.
Barry Salzberg ’77, Global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, introduced the course, stressing the importance of this type of program in today’s changing legal, business and global economic landscape. He encouraged students to step outside of their comfort zones to think more like business people. “No matter what path you choose — private practice, government service or joining a public interest organization — becoming more business literate will be critical to your future success,” Salzberg said.
The Boot Camp was modeled in part on law firm training that Deloitte has provided to first-year associates. The curriculum traced the evolution of a hypothetical business from its founding and initial capitalization to its acquisition of another company. The course taught students the vocabulary and skills needed to understand and implement clients’ business objectives, and enable students to launch their own entrepreneurial careers.
Over 50 prominent Brooklyn Law School alumni led interactive breakout sessions and shared with students their experiences as practitioners and entrepreneurs. These alumni included partners in major law firms, CEOs, and general counsels of established companies and startups. The program culminated in a networking reception for the students and alumni.
By all accounts the program exceeded all expectations. “The response from both students and alumni to this program was overwhelmingly positive. Our students clearly understand that, in these challenging times, arming themselves with highly tangible and relevant professional and business skills better prepares them for careers in business and entrepreneurship,” said Dean Nick Allard.
Encouraging students to reach outside of their “legal toolkit” was a theme that ran throughout the course. “As every seasoned lawyer knows, there are times when lawyers need to reach beyond their legal training to effectively advise and represent their clients,” said Professor Michael Gerber, who chairs the faculty group that helped to develop the course. “The ability to think like a business person as well as a lawyer is extremely useful, and we designed this course to enable students — even those who have never studied business, finance or economics — to do just that.”
View video of the event.