The Business Law Institute’s mission is to train great business lawyers. The Institute has leveraged the Law School’s most valuable asset – an expert faculty committed to teaching – by placing the faculty’s top business law experts in a shared office space with students. The close proximity of faculty and students facilitates continuous access and close student-faculty collaboration and engagement. This novel educational model maximizes the fluid transfer of knowledge and experience between teachers and students that animates deep, active learning.
The Institute’s generous office and meeting space houses not only the Law School’s top business law experts, but also the organizations that form the backbone of the Law School’s student-run experiential programs in business law. The Negotiation Board, Business Law Network and Tax Clinic offer negotiation competitions, professional outreach, and real-world practice opportunities that develop students’ business law skills through hands-on activities and practice. These groups give students the confidence and experience they need to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The Business Law Certificate, which is awarded by the Law School for completing a core set of business law classes, corroborates a student’s strong commitment to this practice area.
The Institute’s physical space will also be the nerve center for a novel, two-pronged strategy to expand students’ skills beyond mere technical proficiency in a small number of business law subjects. Practicing business law at the highest level requires mastery of a highly diverse knowledge base and skill set. The Institute integrates these elements into a unified, wholistic program that teaches students how to help clients manage their legal risk and define and achieve their strategic goals.
First, the Institute will supplement the core curriculum by offering short courses on business law topics. The Law School’s broad array of business law classes far exceeds the number of courses that a student could take during their law school career. The short courses will allow students to gain exposure to the full scope of business law subject areas they are likely to encounter in practice. A highlight of this program will be a short course that introduces students to the basics of accounting, finance and insurance.
Second, the Institute will further develop its multi-faceted training model by encompassing skills that are critical to success in all areas of law. Great lawyers are compelling speakers, meticulous interviewers, persuasive negotiators and lucid writers. They manage their legal practice efficiently while continuously developing their professional skills. Their purposeful relationship building and willingness to assume leadership roles places them at the vanguard of their profession. The Institute will sponsor presentations and offer training exercises that develop these essential competencies for the complete lawyer.
No other law school offers the Business Law Institute’s combination of full student-faculty engagement and a wholistic approach to training lawyers. The Institute expects its new educational model to be come the industry standard for training great business lawyers.
The Business Law Institute is led by its Director, Professor Mercer E. Bullard. Over the last decade, Professor Bullard has established himself as one of the most prolific and influential academics in the corporate/securities field. He brings an extraordinary range of practical experience in both private practice and government to share with students, including experience testifying before Congress on twenty occasions. Professor Bullard is joined at the Institute by Professor John M. Czarnetzky, the Law School’s most senior business law expert. Professor Czarnetzky, a three-time recipient of the Law School’s Outstanding Teacher award, is a nationally recognized expert and has frequently written and spoken on bankruptcy law and has represented the Vatican at the U.N. Professors Bullard and Czarnetzky exemplify the faculty’s commitment to innovative educational methods and full engagement with students.