Corporate Law Curriculum
The University of Richmond School of Law provides students with the sophisticated legal and business skills necessary to enter a wide array of corporate law careers. Students interested in pursuing a transactional practice can take courses designed specifically to teach them how to structure complex deals, representing businesses in mergers, acquisitions, and licensing deals. Students interested in corporate litigation can take courses geared to the courtroom, preparing them to handle high-stakes corporate governance and securities litigation. Our graduates have taken their corporate law training into nearly every type of legal practice, including law firms of every size, government agencies, and in-house legal departments of Fortune 500 companies and smaller start-up ventures.
Even students who enter fields outside the corporate arena will likely confront corporate law issues on a regular basis. The corporate law curriculum at the University of Richmond School of Law is geared to all students—from those who have a solid business background to those who have never picked up the Wall Street Journal.
In light of the importance of corporate law in all areas of practice, all students should consider taking the introductory course in Business Associations. This course provides students with a general overview of the law governing corporations, as well as the law of agency, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Students will learn how the law operates in the business world, including how to advise clients on using the law to achieve specific business objectives.
After taking the introductory course, students considering a transactional or corporate litigation practice can choose from a menu of upper-level corporate law electives. At a minimum, we recommend that these students take Securities Regulation, Corporate Finance, and Mergers & Acquisitions. These courses provide students with a broad base of knowledge on which to launch a corporate law career.
Additional electives in the corporate area include Corporate Governance (which satisfies the upper-level writing requirement), International Business Transactions, Agency and Partnership, Corporate Tax, Taxation of Partnerships and LLCs, Non-Profit Organizations, and White Collar Crime. Federal Income Tax is a prerequisite for both tax courses, while Corporations is a prerequisite for Corporate Governance, Securities Regulation, and Mergers & Acquisitions. None of the other upper-level electives have formal prerequisites, although students will likely find it helpful to take Corporations before taking these electives. We also recommend that students interested in a transactional practice take Contract Drafting as their Lawyering Skills IV course.
The University of Richmond School of Law offers several courses that provide students with the opportunity to apply the skills learned in prior courses. These courses include Business Planning, Business Litigation, and Corporate Fraud & Litigation. All of these courts simulate actual legal practice and may be taken after the introductory Corporations course. Business Planning, for example, is a transactional-oriented course in which students take a fictional company from start-up through negotiating and drafting deal documents for a financing. Corporate Fraud & Litigation is a litigation-oriented course in which students handle a simulated corporate fraud lawsuit, learning about legal analysis and strategy in a complex corporate case.
Electives in Other Areas
A number of courses in other curricular areas are also helpful for students interested in corporate law. These courses include Bankruptcy, Secured Transactions, Intellectual Property, International Commercial Arbitration, Sales & Leases, Core Commercial Concepts, Employment Law, Real Estate Transfers and Finance, Antitrust, Professional Responsibility, and Insurance Law.
Students interested in transactional law and intellectual property should consider enrolling in the Intellectual Property and Transactional Law Clinic. Students in this clinic work and study in an environment designed to represent for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, as well as artists, authors, and inventors from a variety of backgrounds. Students will help business startup clients by engaging in business formation counseling and by preparing and filing charter documents. Students in the clinic will also provide legal services to established clients, such as negotiating and drafting contracts, providing corporate legal services and analysis, and facilitating strategic decision-making.
Students interested in a corporate law externship should consider the In-House Counsel Externship program offered in the spring semester. This program capitalizes on the School of Law’s unique proximity to a large number of Fortune 500 and other corporations, placing students directly in the in-house legal departments of these corporations. Corporations that have participated in the program include Capital One Financial Corporation, NewMarket Corporation, Southern States Cooperative, and Hamilton Beach Brands. In addition, students may also want to consider the American Red Cross, Virginia Commonwealth University/Health System Authority, or the United States Bankruptcy Court.
On a related note, students who want to take a seminar or course that incorporates an experiential learning component may want to take International Business Practice. The goal of International Business Practice is to give students hands-on experience in dealing with typical international legal problems facing actual businesses. Students are called upon to identify legal issues, research appropriate and applicable laws, develop legal strategies, and present their findings to an actual business client. Law student teams also work with M.B.A. student teams to prepare international business plans to introduce their clients’ products or services into selected foreign markets.
Dual Degree Program
Law students may pursue a joint J.D./M.B.A. degree with the University of Richmond's Robins School of Business. Applicants for the dual degree program must meet the admission standards of the law school and the graduate division of the business school. Students accepted into this program will be permitted to count 12 semester hours of work in the law school toward satisfaction of the degree requirements of the M.B.A. program, and 12 semester hours of work in the M.B.A. program toward satisfaction of the degree requirements of the law school.