Larry Ribstein —  11 February 2011

The NLJ reports Milbank is sending its associates to 8-day business training sessions at Harvard Law.

Hildebrandt’s Larry Richard says:  “They’re talking about teaching things like economics and finance. Will every lawyer be interested in that? ”

Yeah, if they’re practicing business law and plan to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive world. 

The NLJ suggests Milbank is interested in branding and team-building.  But “[a]nother goal is to turn associates into savvy businesspeople who understand what’s important to clients.”  Another goal?  

The article characterizes as “surprising” the large investment in direct and time costs Milbank is making.  But this reflects the value of this education to what Milbank’s clients want — and the market opportunity law schools are missing by failing to provide it.  If Milbank is willing to spend big bucks to buy the education for their associates, doesn’t this suggest many business law firms would value new associates who came to their doors training in hand?

An Altman Weil consultant questioned putting all associates through the program because “a one-size-fits all experience is not the most efficient.” But this type of education is an important foundation for the training young associates get in practice.

Anyway, the real cookie-cutter experience is what law students get at standardized accredited U.S. law schools. Milbank is effectively customizing the law schools’ uniform product for its needs.

Larry Ribstein


Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

3 responses to Milbank@Harvard


    I assume that the associates of Milbank will not be able to charge those days against their billable hour requirements.


    These stories, and my experience, always remind me why I went to GMU. Henry Manne was ahead of his time.

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