John Akula

Senior Lecturer, Law


John Akula

John Akula is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Akula has primary responsibility for the MIT Sloan business law curriculum. His courses focus on the law-sensitive skills needed by managers, entrepreneurs, investors, and consultants in the contexts of both young and established companies, including the legal frameworks most relevant to entrepreneurship, general management, technology, innovation, complex transactions, and finance.

Akula earned a doctorate at Harvard, where he was a National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow and a Russell Sage Foundation Post-Doctoral fellow. While there, his research focused on the evolution of effective legal commitments. He then completed a law degree at Harvard, after which he spent 15 years practicing law, including a clerkship for a justice of the highest court in Massachusetts. Akula was a partner at Herrick & Smith; when that firm dissolved in 1985, he then joined Goodwin Procter, one of the nation’s leading law firms, as a partner in its business law department. As a practicing lawyer, Akula worked with senior managers and boards in a broad range of industries, including financial services and healthcare. His typical role was as managing partner for clients for whom the firm was general counsel, and he thus dealt with a broad range of legal issues. He also had a substantial trade association practice, and was heavily involved in the drafting of legislation and regulation.

In 1991, Akula left the practice of law to return to the academic world. He initially divided his time between Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and MIT Sloan, but since 2000 has been exclusively at MIT. In addition to his regular teaching, he is active in the school’s executive education, international, and entrepreneurship-related programs.

Akula holds a BA from Columbia University, a PhD in sociology from Harvard University, and a JD from Harvard University.

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: E62-316
Phone: 617-452-3619
Fax: 617-253-2660
Support Staff
Name: Patty Charest
Phone: 617-523-5701

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