Law Practice Management (LAW-795LP-001)
Christopher Gowen, Michael Spekter
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Law Practice Management will be co-taught this semester by Michael Spekter and Chris Gowen. Both of us have started and managed small law firms. Professor Spekter has been a highly successful solo practitioner in the District of Columbia for over 20 years. Professor Gowen started a three partner firm three years ago, which has more than doubled in size. This course has been designed to assist second and third year law students in developing the skills they will need to start or manage a small law firm. The class is both substantive and practical, but will be unlike any other course that you have taken in law school. We have designed the course to be instructive, thought provoking and entertaining.
Most if not all of you are painfully aware that the job market for lawyers has suffered tremendously in recent years. We have all heard about the oversupply of lawyers, and when it comes to lawyers looking to serve high paying clients that is certainly the case. However, that comment ignores a tremendous demand for affordable legal services for poor and middle class Americans. With resources like cloud technology, virtual offices and Google plus, a graduating law student or group of students can start a firm with minimal overhead and provide affordable service to people in need of high quality legal service. Today many students are unwillingly spending their first year out of law school volunteering for firms and offices, struggling to find a way to finance their debts, when many of you could be gaining more practical and paid experience by hanging your own shingle. Additionally, developing a client base may be a more effective way of transitioning into a larger law firm than volunteering.
This course was created for students who plan to enter private practice as a lawyer or firm manager. Some of you may be planning to go it alone; others may be joining small firms already in existence where every lawyer is involved in firm management to a greater or lesser degree; others may be uncertain about career plans, but intend to learn about practice as an alternative that they may consider.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
Required texts for the course are:(1) Tomorrow’s Lawyers, Richard Susskind, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-966806-9:
Law Practice Management: Materials and Cases, Fourth Edition, Gary A. Munneke, West Publishing 2012, (Please be sure to obtain the latest (4th edition) ISBN 978-0-314-27645-2 which will be available from the bookstore and also on Amazon which gives an overview and will be covered in some of the lectures. We will also make a courtesy copy available in the library. Importantly, you can rent a digital copy of this book from West for less than $40. We both feel this is a good way to get the book, since although it is the best book out there now on Law Practice Management, it is a bit dated, and we will be supplementing it with numerous handouts and other materials.
First Class Readings
Chapter 1 of Susskind and Chapter 1 of Munneke
Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):