MANCHESTER University and Manchester Business School have launched the Master of Business Administration (MBA) for Lawyers course.
The part-time course, which was launched on Monday this week, builds upon the business school's existing MBA programme, but will run specialist workshops and courses specifically tailored towards the legal profession.
Although a two-year part-time MBA in Legal Practice already exists at Nottingham Law School, where the first intake of students are due to graduate next month, it is the first time that a European business school has been involved in such a venture.
The course will take between two and five years to complete, but students will have the option of completing modules or a diploma before moving on to the MBA stage. It is open to all solicitors, but it is expected to attract mainly those people in their late 20s who have spent about five years in practice, whether in City firms or high-street practices.
"We have had a great response so far. Some people who had signed up for the existing MBA have now decided to come here instead," said Dinah Crystal, Manchester University law faculty development director, who is jointly overseeing the MBA for Lawyers programme with Graham Hall of the Manchester Business School. Crystal added that the course would enable solicitors to gain a "deeper understanding of", and take a "more proactive approach to", the "diverse needs of clients".
Former Law Society president and senior partner at Pannone & Partners, Rodger Pannone, said that lawyers had survived the business world "by the seat of their pants".
He said: "Lawyers need to become more sophisticated in the areas of marketing, management and finance. We don't know whether multidisciplinary partnerships are going to come in, so lawyers must acquire the same skills as the actuary, the broker and the accountant. Commercial clients now expect lawyers to help them to achieve their goals, and not tell them what they can and cannot do."