Letter from the Dean
I’m happy to report that our most recent J.D. graduates, members of the Class of 2015, are flourishing. Ninety-two percent (626) of 678 are employed — the highest number of recent graduates to be employed in the last 10 years — and we expect that number to rise. It’s made possible by the extraordinary education our students receive, the real-world experiential opportunities they’re offered, and the expert career guidance they receive right from the start.
Still, as we know, there’s been a sea change in the traditional model of legal employment most of us grew up with. Firms and their clients are no longer willing to absorb the costs of training newly minted J.D.s. Our graduates must be more practice-ready than ever before. And for many, this means that they know how to read a balance sheet and a profit-and-loss statement — that they have the business acumen not only for their first jobs but also for leadership roles later on. Those who serve in government, nonprofits and other professions also benefit from the kind of strategic thinking that business skills provide.
Our offerings in this area — corporations, securities regulation, corporate finance, tax and more — have always been strong, but we’re augmenting them now in important ways. Our new business skills program, led by Visiting Professor Stephen P. Hills, former president and general manager of the Washington Post, is part of a significant expansion of the business curriculum. It’s a mini MBA for lawyers, as Hills explains in a question-and-answer article that begins on page 22. “Often, lawyers and businesspeople are trained to think differently, …” Hills says. “It’s like people speaking different languages. It’s about communication and learning the language of those with whom you’re working.”
Students have already begun speaking that “different language” — as you’ll read throughout the pages of this magazine. They are taking a business boot camp to learn about balance sheets, cash flows and the time value of money. They are taking D.C. Advantage: Business and its Regulation to study the role of intellectual property with professors who counsel businesses in this area. They are offering transactional legal services through the Social Enterprise and Nonprofit Clinic. The J.D. degree is opening new careers for them as entrepreneurs, strategists and business leaders across many industries, and Georgetown is on the cutting edge in providing our students with the skills necessary to succeed.
Of course, many of you have already built a solid career in business and can testify to the importance a J.D. holds. You might find yourself agreeing with David Bradley (L’85), one of seven alumni entrepreneurs we profile beginning on page 40. “What I’m looking for is the insight that nobody else has spotted,” says Bradley, chairman and CEO of Atlantic Media. “I have to listen deeply. That’s all first-year law school.”
Thank you for listening — and for staying in touch. We greatly value all you bring to the Georgetown Law community.
Dean William Treanor