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Business and law come together in innovative Kellogg School executive education program

by Deborah Leigh Wood

More than 150 partners at the Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw are considerably more business-savvy after attending a three-day custom Executive Education program at the Kellogg School of Management. A recent story in the Chicago Tribune noted that the program’s participants represent a trend in “lawyers wanting to learn to think like business executives.”

Not only wanting to think like business executives, but needing to, if they intend to be successful and competitive, says Michelle Buck, academic director of the Seyfarth Shaw Leadership Program at Kellogg.

“Law firms such as Seyfarth Shaw recognize that they face management challenges like any other organization,” says Buck, who is also associate director of executive education and clinical associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg.

“These firms understand that they need to know how to lead people, market their services, determine strategy and develop strong client relations,” she says. “And because Seyfarth Shaw’s program is customized, participants are able to apply the principles and knowledge they’re studying directly to their firm.”

Seyfarth Shaw has been sending its partners to Kellogg since April 2003, and it is serving them well, says Joseph F. Hannigan, associate director of executive education and director of executive education at Northwestern University’s School of Law.

“Today, if a law firm doesn’t provide its corporate clients with business-savvy lawyers, a competitor will,” he says. And “if a law firm doesn’t provide its business-savvy lawyers with a well-managed operation, a competitor will. It’s really that simple.”

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University