Master of Professional Studies and Graduate Certificate in Law Firm Management

Offered by the College of Professional Studies

"The Master's in Law Firm Management Program has been invaluable to my growth as a leader and law firm professional. By working with nationally renowned faculty and my classmates from all over the country, I have developed a heightened understanding of the legal industry and learned how to bring that perspective back to my firm."
– Kathleen Pearson, MPS, Director of Administration, Nashville Center, Pillsbury Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, Nashville, TN

The GW College of Professional Studies has created a graduate program that responds to the need for highly skilled and adaptable leadership in law firms and companies providing services to law firms. This unique, flexible program provides law firm professionals with the business and leadership knowledge they need to succeed in the fast-growing law firm industry.Classes Held Online with Short-Term Residences in Alexandria, VA

Program faculty consists of professors from the GW School of Business, School of Public Policy and Public Administration, and adjunct professors from the legal field.

Students have attended the program from law firms of varying sizes located throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Professional administrators from Bingham McCutchen; DLA Piper; Jones Day; Vinson and Elkins; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Patterson Belknap; Hogan Lovell; Weil Gotshal; and Skadden Arps; as well as companies providing services to law firms, have attended the program.

All students have professional administrative experience in law firms or related settings. Positions held by students include: Administrator, Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Human Resources, Director of Professional Development, Marketing Manager, Operations Manager, Finance Director, IT Manager, Managing Partner, Library, Senior Paralegals, Knowledge Management, and Counsel.

The Master of Professional Studies in Law Firm Management is a 30-credit program that can be completed in less than two years. The first 12 credits in Law Firm Management may stand alone as a Graduate Certificate. The program is specially designed for people working full-time, with a combination of Online Distance Learning and Short-Term Residencies at the GW Alexandria Graduate Education Center.

Benefits to Firms from the Program: The Business Rationale

  • Sustaining the Firm's Competitive Position. Today's law firms cannot remain competitive without the enhanced growth and sophistication of the professional administrative services supporting their   attorneys and other legal staff. This enhanced growth and sophistication requires the continued professional development of the firm's administrative staff.
  • Retaining Top Professional Administrative Talent. Research has shown that teams become more productive the longer team members remain together. Reduced turnover of administrative professionals lowers firm costs. By sponsoring participants to attend the Law Firm Management program, firms reflect a concern for the professional development of their administrative staff and a belief in their future contributions. In so doing, firm managers contribute significantly both to the retention of top professional administrative staff and to the longer term development of increasingly effective firm teams.
  •  Increasing the Value Added of Administrative Services. By possessing a knowledge and understanding of law firm strategic thinking, planning, implementation, and leadership practices, administrative professionals can more creatively and effectively ensure that administrative services provide added value to the legal work of the firm's lawyers and other legal staff.
  •  Enhancing the Motivation and Morale of the Firm's Administrative Professionals. Positive motivation and morale among a firm's administrative professionals improve firm productivity, lowers costs, and reduces staff and client dissatisfaction. Firm managers contribute significantly to the positive motivation and morale of the administrative staff when they express an understanding of, and appreciation for, the important contributions professional administrators make to the ongoing success of the firm. By sponsoring their professional administrators, firm managers provide a specific and concrete expression of this understanding and appreciation.
  • Immediate and Practical Returns to the Firm. As participants in the program acquire additional management and leadership skills, they can immediately bring these to bear in their work with their staffs and with the lawyers and other legal staff within their firms. In many instances they will be able to pass these skills along to others in the firm, thereby expanding the returns on the firm's investment.
  •  Skills Valuable and Applicable to the Firm. During the Master’s Program, students learn practical skills directly applicable to work in their firms. Whether applying these skills themselves or supervising others, students have found the following skills to have an immediate payoff for their firms: law firm economics, profitability analysis, legal service marketing and market analysis, Legal Lean Sigma process improvement, legal industry dynamics and competition, law firm strategy development and execution, emerging law firm structures, the impact of law firm compensation systems on lawyer behavior, the increasing role of legal technology and knowledge management, and numerous dimensions of leadership-motivation, negotiations, conflict management, communication, creating high performance teams, goal setting, emotional intelligence, and managing organization change.


The graduate program in Law Firm Management was created to meet a growing need for leadership professionals in legal management.
 Taught by faculty from The George Washington University and consultants from the legal field
 Academic and hands-on learning experience
 Convenient format for busy working professionals
 Graduate coursework in Law Firm Management, Law Firm Leadership, Process Improvement, Legal Technology and Knowledge Management

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2012 Graduation
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Law Firm, Meet CEO: A New Leader in Legal

Law Firm, Meet CEO: A New Leader in Legal


Program Director, Assistant Professor
Carl A. Leonard, J.D.
(831) 238-4615