October 08, 2006
Training Dealmakers in Law School
Posted by Usha Rodrigues

I sometimes feel like a voice in the wilderness, preaching to law students that there is life outside of litigation. That despite the fact that law school focuses solely on cases, there is another, completely different way to practice law. Although I can leap onto my soapbox in a split-second, I don’t actually put my pedagogy where my mouth is until my upper level Business Planning seminar. There I use Harvard Business School case studies, which are great because of their in medias res posture (give me a break, I need to drop two-bit literary terms in order to prove I got some mileage out of my Comp. Lit. degree), where students are given a situation and forced to make choices as to how to proceed, much like real-life practice. I also use drafting exercises: I have students mark up a simple restricted stock purchase agreement, then mark up basic VC documents and negotiate them, and finally draft risk factor language for an S-1. But in my intro Bus. Org. class I only use a couple of casebook problems to give a taste of what corporate attorneys do. Most of the time is spent with cases. And in my contracts class, I flash a contract up on the screen, and that’s about it. Does anyone do more to incorporate a planning perspective into basic courses? How can I convert my students to the joys of a transactional practice when I’m lost in a casebook world?

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