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Husch Blackwell’s own personal law school

Firm sending dozens of new partners to Wash U sessions

Husch Blackwell is bringing new partners up to speed on the more practical aspects of practicing law with a customized program at Washington University.

What’s being called “Husch Blackwell University at Wash U” will start in October. Twenty-five to 30 of the firm’s new partners will attend a series of three sessions of three days each on professional development at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

The sessions, to be held in fall and spring, will focus on law firm economics and strategy, client relationships and leadership development. New partners have more responsibility for those areas, and the program will allow them to the develop the skills more quickly and at a deeper level, says Todd Richardson, a Husch Blackwell partner involved in the development of the program.

“Very high-level” law and business professors will teach in the program, Richardson says.

Hillary A. Sale, a professor of law and of management and director of the program, and law school Dean Kent Syverud will be among the teachers, Sale says.

The program falls along the lines of executive education programs offered by the Olin Business School at the university, which has served companies including Brown Shoe and Black & Veatch, according to the university’s website.

But the university has nothing quite like the program with Husch Blackwell, which is really focused on law firm economics and management, Sale says.

“It’s part of the way firms are thinking about how to grow and manage themselves as part of a changing legal environment,” Sale says. “For Husch Blackwell, it’s part of a longer-term strategy.”

 Husch Blackwell’s leadership selected the attendees, who are excited to participate, Richardson says.

“It will allow us to have an ability to recruit talent in the future as well,” Richardson says.

While business schools commonly offer executive education programs to businesses, joint programs with law schools and business are less common. The firms that have developed partnerships with law schools and business schools to offer similar programs tend to be from larger markets, Richardson says.

In 2011, New York firm Milbank and Harvard Law School announced a multiyear training program for associates called Milbank@Harvard. The firm and the school say in a press release that it was the first time a law firm was collaborating with the law school on executive education over the course of an associate’s career with Harvard law and business schools’ faculty.

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