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Didn't Get into Harvard Law? Milbank Can Help

Vivia Chen

February 14, 2011

Harvard_law_langdell_library_night_web Wish you had gone to Harvard Law School instead of NYU?  Yeah, I know the feeling. Though I was a happy camper at NYU School of Law (please don't confuse it with New York Law School), who ever recovers from being dinged by Harvard?

Now, some of you will have a second chance. If you land an associate position at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, you can put Harvard Law on your resume.  The Wall Street Law Blog reports that Milbank just set up a bespoke five-year training program at Harvard Law School for its midlevel associates.

The program, called Milbank@Harvard, will be taught by Harvard's law and business school faculty, and covers legal subjects, plus "accounting, economics, finance, and negotiation--areas clients themselves tend to care deeply about," reports the WSJ. Similar to an executive MBA program, the Milbank training is open to all associates (including those in foreign offices) and runs from the end of their third year through the seventh.

Imagine hanging out in Cambridge for eight days each year--and having Milbank pick up the tab! It's like having your parents pay for tennis camp in the Berkshires during the long, hot summer.

Milbank_edelman-scott But what I'm curious about is this: How much will this associate camp cost? I've asked Milbank, but have not heard back. Let's see now: There's the Harvard tuition, room and board, transportation--not to mention all those lost billables. The billables were "a significant consideration for Milbank," Scott Edelman (left), Milbank's vice chairman and HLS alum, told The National Law Journal. But he also noted that "the firm already holds four five-day conferences for associates during their first seven years with the firm."

Still, Milbank's program is unique. Altman Weil consultant Eric Seeger told the NLJ that "firms have been moving away from affiliations with prestigious academic institutions," and usually train associates internally. Moreover, most executive programs at law firms are reserved for partners, reports the NLJ.

My hunch is that Milbank had cheaper alternatives. Surely, associates could get the same training locally--say at (gulp) NYU's law and business schools. And if Milbank really wanted to save money on those accounting courses, it could ship associates via subway to a--God forbid--public institution, like New York City's Baruch College.

But obviously, that wouldn't translate into cachet, which, arguably, is the heart of the program. "It's good branding to be associated with Harvard. That has some value," consultant Seeger told the NLJ. "It might also have some recruiting and retention benefits."

An institutional Harvard affiliation for Milbank, and a little Harvard mention on your resume--now, who can put a price on that?


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Photo: Harvard Law Library, courtesy of chensiyuan


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Wow, Jimmy and Bill. A little touchy, aren't we? Maybe Vivia is just showing some school pride?

Agreed, "dont confuse with New York Law School" is certainly one of the most pathetic comments I have heard recently. Indeed, not only are you completely insecure with your level of intelligence, (Im guessing your usually not the smartest person in the room and are completely aware of this fact), but you are not even intelligent enough to understand that a book is a book and the difference between any law school and a library is $$$$. And no, I did not go to New York law school, but had the privilege of reading my books at a "top ranked" school.

"Please don't confuse it with New York Law School"?

Jesus Christ, that's pathetic. I didn't go to New York Law School, but I find your wholly irrelevant and unnecessary comment indicative of a very sad need to appear smart and accomplished. You flippantly denigrated an entire class of people while remaining seemingly oblivious to the fact that many of them are far more accomplished than you. OK, so you went to a top-five law school. And where is your legal career? What have you accomplished in the profession? Where's your biglaw partnership? Where are your verdicts? Where are your appellate reversals? Why are you a FORMER corporate lawyer who writes low-traffic twaddle blogs? Because you washed out of the profession. You bombed as a lawyer, and that's why you're writing this tripe instead of practicing law. Or are you doing this for the money? Ha! Your failure as a lawyer should be good cause for humility. But instead, you continue to play the nauseous "prestige" game, all the while failing to understand that you've already lost it.

People like you are why most lawyers ought to be dumped into a piranha tank.

Sounds like a good investment to me, if the course produces the goods and leads to more commercially astute lawyers. Also a potential longer term benefit in that those graduates who end up in management positions in the firm will have had that broad business training that lawyers often miss (but strangely accountants often receive)


Was it just a year ago that hands were being wrung and pennies pinched over the impending fate of the legal profession? I guess Milbank saved its way to fortune, but I why stop with a "bespoke ... training program"? Why not, say, affiliate with Augusta National for a little on-course golf school, or maybe rent the Hamptons for that last bit of social buffing?

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The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: [email protected]

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