Law and Management (LAM) – from the foundation to the handover and beyond

At the end of March, Bruno Mascello will succeed Leo Staub as Academic Director of the Law and Management Division of the University of St.Gallen’s Executive School. Leo Staub was stirring up the market for legal services with his management perspective as early as the mid-1990s. At the time, he was breaking new ground with these issues while keeping pace with the times – as he has been doing ever since. Today, digital transformation does not stop outside the doors of law firms and legal departments, either, and is working as a catalyst for economical working practices. The executive education programmes initiated by Leo Staub and developed by the LAM team for lawyers, as well as for executives interested in business law, remain highly popular to this day. An interview with Leo Staub and Bruno Mascello.

Leo Staub – how did you become Academic Director of the Law and Management Division of the Executive School?

I simply struck lucky. Peter Gomez, who was then President of the University of St.Gallen, recognised the potential of the issues at the interface of law and management and asked me to establish an executive education programme. With my academic and practical background, I happened to be the right man at the right time.

What are your achievements in the field of Law and Management?
We’ve probably succeeded in taking up a pioneering position for the HSG in the development of the subject of Legal Management. We’re in the fortunate position that we’re able to advance the topic together with a few universities in the US, the UK and in Australia.

What status did this field have when you set it up in 2006?
The subject simply didn’t exist in the academic world before the mid-1990s. It was only about 25 years ago that the universities started to show any interest in the management aspects of the legal market. We were able to be among those who could put their stamp on this development right from the start. The fact that the HSG gave us an opportunity in 2006 to work in this field fills me with a great sense of gratitude.

Where will you leave marks with your work?
I’m pleased when more and more lawyers and law firms and legal departments understand their work as a contribution to the creation of economically measurable added value for companies and private individuals and also let themselves be judged against this yardstick. It’s equally satisfactory to see that executives and companies don’t only regard legal factors with an influence on management decisions purely as risks, but also as opportunities.

What are your wishes for the future of LAM?
Legal Management is still a young academic discipline. I hope that it will still grow deeper roots in the academic life of our University and worldwide, and that the HSG will continue to recognise its contribution to the University’s international visibility in the future, too.

What are your personal plans?
I’ll continue to teach at the Executive School. For some time, I’ll also carry on my activities at the University of Zurich and at the University of Miami School of Law. Added to this, there are a number of directorships, which are exacting but which I also enjoy. And I’m particularly looking forward to more spare time. I’m an enthusiastic grandfather who wants to do his best to ensure that his grandchildren ride bicycles, play cards and learn to ski.

 

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Bruno Mascello, at the end of March you’ll be taking over the baton from Leo Staub as Academic Director. Where do you see any challenges?
In terms of substance, we’ll remain innovative, that is identify, take up and satisfy current needs in the executive education market. In this way, we’ve already in the past constantly and successfully extended our portfolio with ever new courses, for example in the fields of negotiation, compliance, data protection and legal tech. Added to this, we’ll adapt to participants’ changing expectations, who may prefer different formats or at least want to try out something new. Finally, we’ll see whether the experience with the present corona situation will also leave its mark on executive education. After working life has now been widely shifted to home office at once, many people are forced to gain a new online experience. Of course, this will never squeeze out classroom teaching completely because in executive education, in particular, classroom experience, the active exchange between lecturers and participants, the on-site educational experience and above all the important networking activities only work in immediate proximity – or at least they work significantly better.

Where will the journey lead to?
We are excellent interface providers who respond to innovations quickly and competently. The interface between law and management is already being served well, and we’ll steadily extend our range of services in these fields. In addition, we’ll continue to develop the extension of our core competence of linking up different disciplines with each other. Thus the HSG is currently expanding in the fields of medicine and computer sciences, which is certain to open up interesting new opportunities in executive education. We’ll increasingly also address new customer groups that are looking for shorter or online formats, for example. Finally, we’ll also continue to offer our various courses tailored to the requirements of different in-house customers.

What appeals to you in this position?
Education has always been of great importance to me. I’m infected by the executive education virus. I’ve always regularly participated in executive education courses and have never made this contingent on whether my employer paid for them or not. I’d like to keep my mind young with openness and curiosity and also want to introduce this agility to day-to-day business and the team. It’s precisely this which makes everyone a better, more successful and more agile member of staff. I want to help our course participants to kindle this fire and keep it alive, to ensure that their enthusiasm for knowledge will persist and have a lasting impact.

 

What contribution do you want to make with the LAM team?
I’m very much looking forward to ensuring, together with the whole Law und Management team, that everyone who is interested in executive education will find intellectual challenges in our range of courses, and that they’ll be inspired and receive more than enough food for thought. My goal is to make a valuable contribution to their professional and private development in this way. To put it more simply: our knowledge should generate the promised impact in every student and participant.