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An Overview of the Business Law Curriculum

March 17, 2023

The Richmond Law & Business Forum is highlighting course offerings related to business law. In this post, Professor Erickson offers advice on navigating the business law curriculum.

Q: There are a lot of business law courses at Richmond Law! If a student is interested in business law, where should they start?

A: Students should definitely start by taking Business Associations. This is our introductory foundational course in the area, and it’s designed for students with little or no background in business law. This course is a perquisite to many of the upper-level electives, so we recommend taking it in the fall of your 2L year.

We typically offer at least two sections of Business Associations each year—one section that is 3 credits and one section that is 4 credits. If you have any interest in pursuing a practice related to business law, you should take the 4-credit option, as it is designed to prepare students for upper-level electives in this area.

Q: What are the upper-level electives that students interested in business law should definitely take?

A: At a minimum, we recommend taking Securities Regulation, Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisition, and Bankruptcy. If you are interested in a transactional practice, you should also take the business tax courses (Corporate Tax and Taxation of Partnerships and LLCs), both of which require Federal Income Tax as a prerequisite. And all students should take Contract Drafting, ideally before their 2L summer.

If you do not have a business law background, you should also consider taking Introduction to Business, which provides an overview of accounting, finance, and other business concepts.

Q: But what about all of the other great business law electives?

A: We love them too! Students interested in business law should take additional electives from the list below.

• Intellectual Property
• Secured Transactions
• International Business Transactions
• Corporate Compliance
• Labor & Employment Law
• Core Commercial Law Concepts
• Corporate Governance (ULWR)
• Agency & Partnership
• Sales & Leases
• Patent Law (offered every other year)
• Real Estate Taxation and Finance
• Negotiation
• Antitrust Law (offered every other year)
• Copyright
• Trademark Law
• Internal Corporate & Government Investigations

You won’t be able to take all of these courses, but you should try to take some of them. The business law faculty is happy to help you figure out which courses make the most sense for you given your specific career goals.

Q: What experiential opportunities are available in the business law area?

A: We have several ways for students to get hands-on experience relevant to business 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, negotiating and drafting contracts, 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.

Students interested in international business can take the International Business Practice. In this one-of-a-kind course, law student teams work with M.B.A. student teams to prepare international business plans to introduce their clients’ products or services into selected foreign markets. The goal of this course is to give students hands-on experience in dealing with international legal problems facing actual businesses.

Finally, students interested in transactional law should consider Advising the Entrepreneur, which introduces students to the legal services needed by startup companies and entrepreneurs on issues of general corporate law, corporate governance and early-stage venture capital investments. Students work in teams assisting hypothetical clients, both corporate clients and investors; drafting operating agreements, term sheets, and documents relating to private equity investments; and drafting and amending capitalization tables and calculating payments to owners and investors.

Q: What if I have additional questions about the business law curriculum?

A: Reach out to Professor Erickson or Professor Lin. We are both happy to discuss your specific schedule for next year!