This firm partners with law students for new business ideas


The logo of the law firm Troutman Pepper in their legal offices in Philadelphia, PA, USA REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

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  • Troutman Pepper Partners with University of Richmond Law School for ‘Legal Design Challenge’
  • Students work with lawyers and staff to identify and develop new income generating opportunities

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(Reuters) – Lawyers and staff at Troutman Pepper will spend the spring semester working alongside law students at the University of Richmond to identify potential new markets and ways to improve its operation.

Troutman Pepper has been named Richmond Law’s new ‘Innovator in Residence’ and will be a key partner in his Legal Business Design Challenge – a course that started last year that exposes law students to the structure and model of law. ‘business of large law firms as they develop ways to improve law firm functions and client services.

Will Gaus, director of innovation at Troutman Pepper, said in an interview this week that he was drawn to the Richmond program because it is a true collaboration between the firm and law students, with a dozen lawyers and staff attending each week. The course will give Troutman Pepper a better idea of ​​what’s important to the next generation of lawyers and potentially identify business improvements, while also giving law students an understanding of how firms work, he said.

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“I want students to be exposed to industry and to a business so that they can make the best choice for themselves and help them guide their career path,” he said.

The Design Challenge course, for second and third year students, will begin with an introduction to the law firm’s business model and the principles of business design – an approach focused on how each element of a business affects customers. Next, students will divide into teams including participants from Troutman Pepper, to identify new business opportunities or ways to improve customer service. They will develop these ideas into an action plan and present it to business leaders at the end of the course in the hope that some will be implemented.

“The real meat of it is going to be the legal design challenge,” Gaus said. “Through this interaction between the business and the students, the students will help us identify a number of areas that they think we need to resolve – areas that the business can improve upon or advance.”

But Troutman Pepper won’t enter the collaboration to tell students what areas they should focus on, said Josh Kubicki, director of legal innovation and entrepreneurship at Richmond Law, who leads the course. Instead, students will take the initiative to identify areas for potential development or improvement.

Last year, Baker Donelson was the partner law firm. The teams pitched projects that would allow the firm to better integrate diversity and inclusion training into its work and employment offers, and the creation of a tool that would help clients keep up with regulatory changes that concern them the most. Kubicki said the first course was a success even though Baker Donelson has yet to implement these projects as the company has remained engaged throughout the design process and the students have created projects at a time. innovative and realistic.

“I want the students to be business-ready lawyers when they leave,” he said. “I want them to know all the essential components of a business model and how they interact, so that they can better serve their customers. These things are not really taught in law school.

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