Degree of Separation: The Power of a Law Degree in Business

David Meltzer discusses the power of a law degree.
Law Degree in London

I just returned from London, where I spoke to our Tulane Law School alumnus at the Dolphins/Saints game (along with Mike Tannenbaum, Executive Vice President of the Dolphins). I took that wonderful opportunity to contemplate just how valuable my law school education was and how well it has served me so far in my career.

After doing some research on what positions those with law degrees tend to hold, as well the effects on a business where the CEO has a law degree, I realized that the most interesting of all the statistics I unearthed involved the skill of mitigating risks.

Sure, learning that roughly the same amount of law grads ended up in the business realm as those who end up working in government is fine, but I found that businesses with CEOs who are lawyers face less litigation. According to the Harvard Business Review, those companies see up to 74% less litigation than their competitors. It is important to note, however, that the ability to reduce risk can act as a double-edged sword at times in business, where risk-taking is essential.

Just the Benefits

The real benefits of the law degree come from that combination of the skills that are learned in law school: the knowledge that law students acquire from reading different case law, the situational knowledge they acquire while being put into various legal scenarios, as well as the opportunity to pursue their desires about where they would like to work, are all benefits of a legal education.  

Law degrees teach us how to manage risks, of course, while business and entrepreneurship experience teaches us how to take risks. The critical thinking and reasoning skills that are honed while in law school are incredible. Learning to ask the right questions allows us to effectively connect with others and is yet another skill gained in law school that easily translates to other industries.

Changing Views

Law school makes you practice seeing alternative viewpoints, increasing the ability of students to empathize with others (although I know some lawyers who seem to have lost that skill). Also, gaining an understanding of different laws and rules, as well as how to implement, or get around them, if necessary, can help law graduates throughout their careers and lives.

A law degree opens up many doors, evidenced by the many famous people that have their J.D., including presidents, first ladies, and even world peace leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

Today, more people utilize their law degrees in a nontraditional manner because a law degree opens up many doors, including those in the technology sector.  Intellectual property, security, intelligence, and privacy issues, all deal with topics that lawyers can understand and implement correctly, utilizing all the knowledge their educational background provides.

Make the Most of Your Options

I believe my law degree allowed me to have several more options in what I could do, and what I wanted to do, in the context of sports. We will see a continual trend of lawyers being able to do more things outside the practice of law. Our law school graduates have the tools to become world leaders, humanitarians, and tech moguls. And no matter where they end up, those with a law degree are much less likely to get sued!

By: Dave Meltzer

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