The Alexandria outpost of George Washington University is the scene of the third cohort of 18 students working on a certificate/masters program in Law Firm Management. That’s right…there is such a thing, and I’m in the middle of it, after cramming the required reading in a period of two months: Law Firm Strategy (Mayson), Reinventing Strategy (Pietersen), Aligning the Stars (Lorsch & Tierney), and The Lawyer’s Guide to Increasing Revenue (Greene), plus a notebook of about 20 other articles. The first six credits of the program are packed into this 9 day residency taught by GWU faculty and Hildebrandt Institute.

Yesterday we started at 8:30 a.m. and went for 12 hours; the day culminated with dinner at Bookbinders, where our barely formed teams presented our take on the normative environment of an imaginary Chicago law firm that’s in deep trouble. Our team role chose to role-play the exit interviews of five employees including one partner, one associate, two administrators who tried to outsource the IT department, and the executive director. One team member played the HR director. We vented what was wrong with the firm (it’s on it’s demise on the s-curve.) Today we focused on the firm’s strategic plan. Tomorrow we’re dealing with profitability analysis. The pace is intense, but well worth it.