Why You Should Consider an MBA for a Legal Career
Becoming a lawyer is one of the most incredible career choices a person can make. Anyone who chooses to be an attorney at law is someone with a passion for justice—how amazing is that? If you’re one of the people who put in the time to ace the LSAT and then spent years studying case law in order to graduate law school and take the bar exam, you know just how much passion it takes.
After all that work, the last thing you probably want to hear is that it’s a good idea to head back to school, but that’s what we’re here to say. The fact is that a master’s degree from a top business school or a certificate from a project management institute will set you apart from your peers when you’re applying to various firms around the United States. Plus, business school will prepare you for the various non-legal tasks that come with working as a lawyer. From balancing a budget to keeping abreast of the firm’s overarching objectives, an MBA or a PMP certificate will give you the tools to go further.
So, with that in mind, what are the actual reasons why your legal career can benefit from an MBA or PMP certificate? How should you go about getting these credentials, anyway? Read on to learn more about all of this and more.
An MBA program will give you insights into the business side of things.
As your instructors at law school probably mentioned, being a lawyer means so much more than just reviewing contracts or interviewing witnesses. Actually, keeping a law firm afloat is not much different than keeping any other business afloat.
The senior counsel needs to consider the firm’s budget, marketing efforts, goals, and more. If you aspire to be senior counsel one day, you should already have the tools to glean these insights in your toolbox. Don’t sit around as junior counsel and wait for your years of experience to pile up while your peers, who may have an MBA themselves, get promoted over you. Take the reins into your hands.
Don’t be deterred by the complexity of an MBA application, either. There are MBA admissions counseling services out there for just this reason. These admissions consultants are there to help MBA applicants get into their dream school, whether that’s Wharton, Kellogg, or Harvard Business School (HBS). Use their expertise and put your best foot forward in the application process.
Consider other lawyers as role models.
One way to get an idea about where you’d like your career to go is to think about excellent lawyers making waves in ways you find admirable. Take Malliha Wilson, for example. Now, there’s a role model. Malliha is a Tamil-Canadian litigator who was the first visible minority to serve as Assistant Deputy Attorney General to the Ontario government, trying human rights cases before the Supreme Court of Canada.
These days, when she finds herself in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, it’s as senior counsel of the Nava Wilson LLP law firm. You can bet that Malliha has all the credentials she needs to navigate the complex litigation she encounters in her work. Aspiring to that kind of excellence may find you as an MBA applicant before long.
Remember that each case requires project management.
If you don’t have the time or resources (or interest) in getting an MBA, there’s another option. While not as impressive as an MBA, certification as a project management professional (PMP) is still a very valuable thing to hold. PMPs stand out amongst other applicants for positions at law firms, and that’s because the firms’ hiring committees recognize the reality that each case is, in fact, a project to be managed.
The details that go into the complex litigation you’re bound to deal with are vast, and if you’ve completed project management certification classes, whether online courses or in-person PMP courses, you’ll be a valuable asset to a savvy firm. So, with that in mind, if you want to move your career forward but would like to skip the business school part of things, a PMP certification course may be the way to go.
Each career story is personal, and you certainly have your own unique row to hoe. That said, there are plenty of ways in which you can move your career in the right direction without losing your identity. Add to your resume with work experience, yes, but also with new skills that you can acquire in either in-person or online courses.
You may be surprised to see how the course materials end up inspiring your path forwards. Whether you end up at a top MBA program at Stanford or HBS, at a project management institute getting your PMP credentials, or blazing a trail in the field of labor law, remember that the wheel is in your hands. Take yourself wherever you’d like to go, and don’t be shy of the long path that may be on the way there.