Business schools catering to lawyers

An editor sent me this Wall Street Journal story from a couple of weeks ago, about how some law firms are sending employees to receive executive training. The idea is to either prepare them to step into management positions at the firm or help them better understand their business clients’ needs.

“‘When you have the kind of challenges we have right now, (you need) really well-trained, smart managers talking the same language,’ says Kevin Fitzgerald, a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP who was one of the first in his firm to attend an executive education program at Harvard University in 2007. The program is designed for employees of professional service firms, and includes training on how lawyer-managers can lead firms successfully.”

I was curious to see if any of the business schools here in Maryland offer such programs, but all of the schools I called said they don’t. Should they start? Is it worthwhile, especially in these hard times, to give more lawyers business training?

Warden, lawyer wrap up spirited jail discussion

James F. Lee Jr. continued his cross-examination of James P. O’Neill on Thursday morning in Baltimore County’s $6.2 million lawsuit against DMJM H&N Inc., architect of the county’s detention center addition.

Lee spent much of his time attempting to show jurors that while O’Neill, director of the county’s Department of Corrections, might hold a negative view of DMJM, his opinion does not mean the firm breached its contract or was negligent.

O’Neill testified Wednesday he thought the firm was “poor,” and in his deposition called the original project manager “arrogant.” But Lee showed O’Neill a November 2002 letter signed by O’Neill recommending DMJM for another jail project in Western Maryland. “It’s been a pleasure working with these professionals,” O’Neill wrote, adding they were an “asset to the process.”

O’Neill said the letter came before his opinion changed.

“It was a general overview and at that time I felt their deportment overrode [the original project manager's] arrogance,” he said.

Lee noted O’Neill has taken consultants and corrections officials from other jurisdictions on tours of the addition since it opened three years ago.

“They complimented on how it was designed and how it worked,” Lee said.

“They complimented on how it works,” O’Neill replied.  

Lee, who earlier noted O’Neill was not respsonsible for DMJM’s fees nor the scope of the firm’s work, closed his cross-examination by asking O’Neill if DMJM built an addition to his satisfaction.

“The things [they] missed didn’t have to be missed if people did their jobs,” O’Neill said.