Historically, JD-MBA grads have gone into Corporate America, finance, or consulting, using their legal background as a support in their business careers.
But we predict that the next generation of GCs at major corporations will be JD-MBAs.
We are starting to see this happen. For example, the new GC of State Farm, Steve McManus, has a JD/MBA.
GCs today are expected to be great business leaders who understand the law, Bodhala founder Raj Goyle said in a recent speech at Harvard Law School. “The disruptive power of technology is finally coming to bear on this profession that’s been the same for quite some time.”
With this disruptive power comes a need for business-savvy GCs who run the legal function based on data and analytics. The legal department is now expected to be run as a business, and GCs with JD-MBAs have the skills to make that happen.
A similar shift to MD-MBAs has happened in medicine.
As explained by NPR, “It’s hoped a new crop of dual-degreed physicians…will spot inefficiencies, develop new practices and upturn business as usual, ultimately leading the U.S. towards better care at lower costs.”
As happened in medicine, we expect these GCs to be able to innovate like entrepreneurs in managing the budget and talent. They will possess a sensibility that values business as well as law. This is a big shift in a field plagued with inefficiencies like non-transparent pricing and under-utilized talent. These inefficiencies have met a mandate by CEOs and boards to have the legal function handled with business acumen.
Big career opportunities lie in the business of law. Making the nearly half-trillion dollar industry for legal services run by business principles is a heady challenge.
We expect that those with JD-MBAs will flock to this challenge going forward.