John Akula

Senior Lecturer, Law


John Akula

John Akula is a Senior Lecturer in Law at MIT Sloan, where he has primary responsibility for the business law curriculum. His courses focus on the law-sensitive skills needed by managers in both young and established companies, and the legal framework of entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, and finance. John has also taught in the Biomedical Enterprise Program of the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

John earned a PhD at Harvard, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow, and where his research focused on the evolution of effective legal commitments. After post-doctoral work and earning a law degree, both also at Harvard, he clerked for a Justice of the highest court in Massachusetts, and then spent 15 years practicing law. He was a partner at Herrick & Smith until that firm dissolved in 1985, and then joined Goodwin Procter, one of the nation’s leading law firms, as a partner in its business law department. As a practicing lawyer, he worked with senior managers and boards in a broad range of industries, including banking and health care. His typical role was as managing partner for clients for whom the firm was general counsel, and so he was involved in a great variety of matters. He had a substantial trade association practice, and was heavily involved in the drafting of legislation and regulation.

He left the practice of law in 1991 to return to the academic world. He divided his time between teaching at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and MIT Sloan, and is now full-time at MIT Sloan, where he is also heavily involved in the school’s executive education and international programs.

Faculty Media

  • Watch: Social Media at Work

    Social media in the workplace--Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms--is expanding at a dizzying pace. How should a manager approach risks and opportunities in this shifting, uncertain...

  • SocialMedia@Work Additional Resources

    Here, you can find additional resources for the SocialMedia@Work webinar held on November 1, 2012. They include collections of corporate social media policies and other background materials; An...

  • Innovation@Work Blog: Q&A with Participant Susan Chesley Fant

    MIT Sloan Executive Education recently offered a unique program that took place in a live, virtual classroom. We asked Susan Chesley Fant, an attendee of the recent session, to describe her...

  • On Fundamentals of Law for Managers and Executives (Part 1)

    John Akula discusses the importance of understanding legal accountability for managers.

  • On Fundamentals of Law for Managers and Executives (Part 3)

    John Akula discusses the importance of understanding criminal liability for managers.

  • John Akula: Keeping Abreast of the Law

    In today's fast-paced, global business environment, senior executives need to stay up to date with key areas of the law that are evolving rapidly. MIT Sloan School of Management's program,...

  • The Importance of Legal Literacy for Executives

    At what point should an executive seek legal advice? This question is a perennial one for senior leaders in any organization. As MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer John Akula points out, the career path of...

  • Law: A Strategic Tool for Leaders

    The Washington Post reported last week that businesses are relying less on law firms and assigning more work to in-house company lawyers, according to a recent study of nearly 6,000 in-house...


Contact Information

Office: E53-309
Phone: 617-452-3619
Fax: 617-253-2660
Support Staff
Name: Patricia Curley
Phone: 617-715-4798

Social Media @Work: Managing Risks and Opportunities
Understand the risks, legal implications, and opportunities of social media in the workplace.