Financial Analysis and Valuation for Lawyers

Understand finance principles to win big for your clients

Taught by Harvard Law School faculty, this Harvard Online course helps attorneys navigate financial situations to increase profitability and minimize risk.

Featuring faculty from:
March 2023
6 weeks
3-4 hours per week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Applications Close
Apply today for Financial Analysis and Valuation for Lawyers

What You'll Learn

Google pays $2 billion for Fitbit, which has yet to turn a profit. How did Google come up with that price? Bayer agrees to pay more than $10 billion to settle claims that its weedkiller, Roundup, caused cancer. Why not $15 billion or $5 billion?

Lawyers negotiate deals and manage lawsuits involving billions of dollars each year. To do that, you need more than legal expertise. You need a fundamental understanding of the finances behind a deal or dispute, including how to read and analyze financial statements or use financial concepts to value a business, patent, or marital estate. You need more than law knowledge to advise a client on any significant transaction—and to help a client even assess whether it's best to pursue a claim or to settle.

Successful attorneys cannot rely solely on CFOs, accounting teams, or outside experts. You need to independently understand the financial opportunities your client faces and how to talk about them using the language of accounting. Through examples of valuations, disputes, and presentations from real-world practitioners, Financial Analysis and Valuation for Lawyers will teach you how to interpret and use financial data, make a business case for a deal or lawsuit, and understand when and how experts can support—or undermine—your work. 

The course will be delivered via HBS Online’s course platform and immerse learners in real-world examples from experts at industry-leading organizations. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of financial statements, using methodologies to extract and analyze the numbers
  • Learn to translate your organization or client's financial goals into practical legal solutions
  • Recognize the variances in valuation and provide finance-driven insights
  • Discover how to approach dispute and advocacy sessions, determining how and when to bring in financial experts to strengthen your case
  • Hone your judgment skills to use ethical reasoning when the financial answer is not clear

Your Instructors

John Coates is the John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics at Harvard Law School, where he also serves as the Vice Dean for Finance and Strategic Initiatives, and Research Director of the Center on the Legal Profession. Before joining Harvard, he was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, specializing in financial institutions and M&A. He has testified before Congress and provided consulting services to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Department of Treasury, the New York Stock Exchange, and participants in the financial markets, including hedge funds, investment banks, and private equity funds. He served as an independent consultant for the Securities and Exchange Commission in one of the first “Fair Fund” distributions and is currently serving as a DOJ-appointed independent monitor for one of the Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions.

Bala G. Dharan is the Robert B. and Candice J. Haas Visiting Professor and Senior Lecturer at Harvard Law School, and Visiting Professor of Accounting at MIT Sloan School of Management. He's also a Managing Director at Berkeley Research Group, LLC, where he provides business and litigation services consulting. Dr. Dharan has extensive consulting experience in financial accounting and disclosures issues, finance, valuation, investment analysis, corporate governance, and forensic analysis and investigation.

Real World Case Studies

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

Ken Feinberg

Ken Feinberg

Learn how to value compensation funds based on his work on high-profile tragedies, including the BP Gulf oil spill, the Virginia Tech and Boston Marathon bombings, and the September 11th Victim Fund.

Leo Strine

Leo Strine

Learn how lawyers can effectively use financial knowledge in the courtroom to argue a case.

Matt Schaefer

Matt Schaefer

Learn how experts can help you build a case with compelling estimates for monetary damages.

Who Will Benefit

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Legal Professionals

Understand financial statements to expand your legal framework and supplement your legal education.

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Corporate Lawyers

Understand how to identify and analyze the impact of valuation disparities creating the highest value for your organization.

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Hone your financial and accounting skills to make the strongest argument for your clients.

Earn Your Certificate

Enroll today in Harvard Online's Financial Analysis and Valuation for Lawyers course.

Apply Now

Still Have Questions?

What are the learning requirements? How do I list my certificate on my resume? Learn the answers to these and more in our FAQs.


Financial Analysis and Valuation for Lawyers Certificate

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