June 23, 2011
Corporate Finance Roundtable - Let Them Eat Finance!
Posted by Karl Okamoto

Greetings to all and much thanks to Erik and his fellow Glommers for the invitation to participate.

I should admit upfront that I have never taught a course called “Corporate Finance.”  I have taught “Mergers and Acquisitions” using Gilson and Black’s book.  I’ve taught “Private Equity and Venture Capital” using Josh Lerner’s “book of cases.”  I’ve taught a “Deals” course using my own materials.  But never a Corporate Finance class. 

My [Senior] Associate Dean asks periodically if we shouldn’t offer Corporate Finance to round out our upper-level business law curriculum.  And my answer is always, “no.”  Let me explain. 

I think every lawyer should learn something about finance.  And I mean every lawyer, not just aspiring corporate lawyers.  By “finance,” I mean a few basic concepts.  These include: 1) present value, 2) valuation, 3) enterprise value and net worth, 4) dilution and 5) basic option pricing theory.  I know these are familiar concepts to all Glom readers, but probably sound pretty technical to your average law student or lawyer for that matter.  These are certainly concepts one would encounter in a typical Corporate Finance class.  They are also concepts that I teach at every opportunity in every course I teach (including at the dinner table). 

The reason I am not anxious to offer Corporate Finance is because I’d rather see these concepts taught in Contracts, Torts, Property, Business Organizations, Tax, maybe even Constitutional Law!  My preference would be for us to teach finance in law school as a core conceptual framework rather than an esoteric specialty course for a narrow subset of our students. 

I’ll elaborate below . . .


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