This course aims to help students understand how to lead law firms, as well as other professional service firms (PSFs), and how to be successful as professionals. It is meant to be useful if you plan to work in a professional service organization (including a law firm, a consulting firm, or a financial services firm). Through studying the dynamics of PSFs and the skills that are essential to professional success, the course will help you understand what it takes to be an effective professional and a member of a thriving organization. The course is organized in six modules: professionals and professionalism; competitive strategy, positioning, and alignment; organizational strategy, processes, and governance; motivating, developing, and leveraging professionals; leadership and organizational transformation; and succeeding as professionals. Our primary learning tool will be the business school case study method. The case studies typically take a longitudinal perspective that fol lows professionals and their enterprises over extended periods of time. This affords us the opportunity not only to determine the sources of performance at any given time, but also to identify the capabilities and processes that sustain success over time, and to learn how leaders of law (and other professional service) firms react to change. The cases are situated in the law firm setting, but also in other professional service settings (consulting, financial services, accounting, and medicine). To maximize benefit from the case discussion process, case protagonists or external experts will attend several of the class sessions and engage in the discussion and reflection process. The sessions mostly will be organized as class discussions based on printed cases. Several of the sessions will include minilectures on concepts of relevance to professional service and law firms. The course will also include some exercises to provide students with the skills that will allow them to e valuate firms and chart their own careers within these firms effectively.
The class will be limited to 50 participants. Grading will be based on class participation (30%), one written submission (20%), and the final exam (50%).
This course was titled Professional Services in academic years 08-09 and 09-10.