Financial Literacy for Junior Attorneys at Goodwin
Goodwin integrated Abilitie’s Business Challenge simulation and Fluent in Finance program to develop financial acumen in their newly hired associates.
Goodwin, a leading global firm with over 1,000 lawyers, serves a demanding client base. Goodwin excels in providing their services across five key industries: private equity, technology, life sciences, real estate, and financial institutions. The firm has built a stellar reputation of understanding their clients’ businesses to provide outstanding legal advice. In an increasingly competitive market for legal services, Goodwin wanted to ensure that its newly hired associates were armed with the critical skills needed to serve the firm’s clients, particularly their financial fluency.
Goodwin needed a program that would instill essential financial acumen skills, such as financial statement analysis and valuation techniques, into its newly hired associates.
In previous approaches for other disciplines, Goodwin had developed highly innovative “flipped classroom” and “blended learning” approaches to better engage their newly hired associates. Goodwin turned to Abilitie to provide an exciting hybrid of experiential game-based learning, online coursework, and live instruction that was specifically tailored to their law practices.
Abilitie worked closely with Goodwin to create an integrated financial acumen training program for 82 newly hired junior associates and lateral hires. The program was seamlessly integrated into Goodwin’s one-week onboarding program in Boston. The Abilitie and Goodwin teams collaborated to choose topics related directly to the types of work the associates would see in their first few years of legal practice. Prior to starting at the firm, participants completed Fluent in Finance, a 6 to 8-hour online course that introduced participants to the language of finance. Through videos, readings, and exercises, associates gained a basic understanding of business models, financial statements, ratio analysis, and decision-making through valuation techniques such as discounted cash flows.
To further develop these concepts, the associates spent a full day of their orientation week with Business Challenge, a multiplayer simulation where teams compete to create the most valuable company by managing the growth, profitability, and riskiness of their business. The simulation put the associates into the minds of their future clients by asking them to manage all the operating aspects of their company. Throughout the day, session facilitators integrated financial concepts addressed in the simulation, such as damage calculations in litigation and working capital adjustments in mergers, through live debriefs and discussions.
The program was extremely well-received by the associates. Participants were asked to complete a short survey about their experiences with the Business Challenge simulation and Fluent in Finance.
The survey found:
Participants’ feedback included:
“Solving these business problems increased my awareness of them and can allow me to be better equipped to assist future clients.”
“The interactive nature of the program was awesome. Making it into a simulation with decisions and strategies made it a fun day.”
“This was a really fun way to get to know some concepts that are difficult and often boring.”
“Learning to calculate the discounted value of money was incredibly useful. In addition, understanding the valuation of companies was very helpful.”
“Presenter was energetic and entertaining. I really enjoyed the program!”