1. What is Business Law?

Business law encompasses a broad spectrum of legal issues, including (but not limited to) Merger and Acquisition, Licensing, Securities Regulation, Corporate Structuring, Taxation, Contract Negotiation, Financing, Bankruptcy, Intellectual Property Counseling, and Employment Law. Business law can be meaningfully categorized into transaction and litigation work (or putting deals together, on the one hand, and tearing them apart, on the other!).

2. Where is it practiced?

Private Sector: Large Law Firms, Medium Law Firms, Corporations most corporations have in-house counsel to deal with corporate matters, 2-5 years of practice at a firm is generally required for lawyers interested in in-house work. For complex matters, however, in-house counsel typically brings in outside firms.

Government: Government work deals typically with securities and regulation with more focus on actual litigation.

3. What Courses and Academic Experiences would be helpful?

Primary Courses

Secondary Courses

4. What timeline should I be following?

Courses

Students should focus on the core substantive courses within their second year. During the fall semester, students are advised to enroll in Business Organizations and Federal Personal Income Taxation as these courses lay the foundation for advanced coursework. For the spring semester, students are advised to enroll in one or more advanced courses.

The third year is better for professional skill courses as students will have a better handle on the substantive law. As to the third year, it is recommended that students combine bar tested subjects, professional skills courses (drafting and counseling) and advanced substantive courses.

Experience

It is recommended that students pursue a summer internship with a firm or corporation as most business law employers prefer candidates with actual experience. Students are advised to be flexible in what they seek. As corporate projects typically last several months, firms may find it difficult to assign corporate work given the limited duration of the internship. Consequently, students are urged to be open to doing a little bit of corporate work and litigation rather than being solely fixated on corporate work.

Students should research potential employers and meet with LCS to develop a job search strategy. LCS can provide students with contact information for alumni practicing in the various areas of business law. Students should take the time to conduct informational interviews with these practitioners to determine which opportunities would be the best fit for them.

As a general matter, students are advised to target large law firms and large corporations during the fall as these entities are more likely to have a set recruiting schedule and know their hiring needs. Consequently, students are advised to target smaller firms and smaller corporations during the spring.

Publications

Another way to attract the attention of employers is for students to write a business law-related paper. Students may want to consider submitting a paper for publication to the Santa Clara Law Review or any of the journals devoted to business law issues. Students can also write business-themed papers for non-business seminars (a business law focus on civil rights issues, for example) or submit papers to business-oriented writing competitions.

5. What Professional Organizations and Associations can I join to meet people and find out more?

6. Which faculty members at SCU have worked in Business Law?

  • Anna Han
  • Stephen Diamond
  • David Yosifon

7. What about Commercial Law?

Closely related to and overlapping with business law is the practice of commercial law. Knowledge about and facility with commercial law is fundamental to a wide range of law practice, including specialties such as international business transactions or real estate practice. Other specialties include consumer protection, personal injury, family law, or intellectual property, to which commercial law may seem tangential. Moreover, much commercial law is derived from relatively modern, comprehensive statutes that serve as structural models for the flood of legislation that affects every field of law practice. Thus, learning how to understand and apply commercial law statutes provides a critical lawyering skill. Your study of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code in Contracts was a beginning, but there is much more to be gained from further study of commercial law topics and statutes.

The Law School offers three foundation commercial law courses: Commercial Transactions, Commercial Finance (formerly known as Secured Transactions), and Debtors and Creditors Rights. Commercial Transactions covers payment systems: checks, promissory notes, letters of credit, electronic transfers, and others. Commercial Finance covers UCC Article 9 and the use of personal property collateral in the financing of debt and introduces the impact of bankruptcy generally on all forms of debt. Debtors and Creditors Rights focuses primarily on federal bankruptcy law. Real Estate Finance, which covers use of real property collateral in the financing of debt, might also be considered a foundational commercial law course. These courses can be taken in any order. Taking one or two of the basic courses will develop your skills. Taking them all will provide an exposure to a broad range of important legal issues and concepts.

Please feel free to consult Professors Macintosh, Mertens, or Neustadter for further information.

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