University of New Hampshire

School of Law

JD Curriculum – Electives: Business & Commercial Law

JD Curriculum – Electives: Business & Commercial Law

General Curricular Advice

This practice category is broad. It comprises recognized specialties such as securities law, bankruptcy, real estate, estate planning, and shades into something approaching general practice. Tax Law, including estate planning, is typically thought of as its own field and is discussed in the Taxation section, infra. A business-oriented practice can include litigation (see the Litigation section, supra) or be purely transactional. All versions require a basic knowledge of the legal forms of business association and sufficient understanding of taxation and financial statements to recognize problems and cooperate with a specialist. Key skills include planning, negotiation, and drafting.

In addition to basic courses common to all such practices, we have six suggested series of courses for particular kinds of business practice. We strongly recommend that students planning to get the greatest possible depth in these fields take BA and Personal Taxation in the third semester.

The first two series of courses represent two different kinds of practice. The first is what might be thought of as classic corporate law. It focuses on the problems of large, primarily public corporations and those start-ups hoping to go public. It requires depth in securities and finance. The market for this kind of practice is dominated by big firms and investment banks, and it is difficult to break into. A small number of our graduates have gone into it and done well, primarily in three ways: (1) lateral migration from IP; (2) latching on to a start-up or small growth company not yet in the big-firm range and growing with it; or (3) becoming expert through work in a state securities regulation office and then going into private practice.

The second series is a potentially very broad practice serving the needs of small and medium-sized privately held businesses, their owners, and the owners’ families. Here it is important to have a working knowledge of quite a few different subjects. The clients cannot afford the time and money for a specialist on their routine legal problems, nor are they always aware of legal risks involved in their business plans. Firms in this sort of practice will generally have lawyers with depth in different fields – employee issues, lending and finance issues, taxation, estate planning, contracting, litigation/arbitration, etc. – but it is important that someone be familiar with each client’s affairs overall, even if much of the work is directed to specialists. Many of our graduates work in such firms.

Whether independently or as part of a general business and commercial practice, there are some other specialties for which a cluster of particular courses is desirable. Real Estate, Commercial Litigation, and Consumer/Bankruptcy are long and well-established practice areas. The appropriate courses are listed below. Information Technology is of obvious and growing importance, although it is often integrated into IP-based or corporate practice. There are other subspecialties which individual students, particularly those with prior experience in an industry, could prepare for (e.g. construction law, utilities regulation, and municipal law). For these you would typically take the related business courses and add depth with a specialized externship and some independent study work.

Essential Courses for All Business and Commercial Practices

  • Business Associations
  • Personal Income Taxation (or equivalent prior knowledge)
  • Secured Transactions (Article 9); or Bankruptcy
  • [You should also have some knowledge of accounting and finance.  You may already have it.  If not, you can get it (with transferable credit) at the UNH Business School or other graduate level schools, or through any of a variety of on-line self-study courses.]

Additional Courses Grouped by Subspecialty

1. Corporate Law (large law firms or publicly traded corporations)

Essential Courses

  • Securities Regulation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Antitrust

Recommended Courses

  • Business Entities Tax
  • Bankruptcy
  • Employment Law
  • Fundamentals of IP or other Basic IP course

Related Courses

  • Insurance
  • Legal Malpractice & Related Economic Torts
  • e-Commerce and the Law
  • Cybercrime
  • Consumer Law and Bankruptcy
  • In House Counsel

Practical Skills

  • Licensing Courses
  • Negotiation Workshop

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Contract Design
  • Writing for [Transactional] Practice

2. General Practice Emphasizing Local Businesses

Essential (see also essential courses for all Business & Commercial, supra.)

  • Employment Law
  • Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9)
  • Wills Trusts and Estates

Recommended

  • Estate Planning
  • Law Practice Management
  • Consumer Law and Bankruptcy
  • Fundamentals of IP
  • Negotiable Instruments (UCC Articles 3 & 4)
  • Business Entities Tax
  • Remedies

Related Courses

  • Securities Regulation
  • Immigration Law

Practical Skills

  • Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic
  • IP and Transaction Clinic

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Contract Design
  • Writing for Practice

3. Real Estate

Essential (see also essential courses for all Business or Commercial, supra.)

  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Bankruptcy
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use Planning/Zoning

Recommended

  • Business Entities Tax
  • Law Practice Management

Practical Skills

  • Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic

Related Upper Level Writing Courses

  • Contract Design
  • Writing for [Transactional] Practice

4. Consumer, Collections and Bankruptcy

Essential (see also essential courses for all Business or Commercial, supra.)

  • Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9)
  • Bankruptcy
  • Consumer Law and Bankruptcy

Recommended

  • Law Practice Management
  • Employment Law
  • Negotiable Instruments (UCC Articles 3 & 4)

Related Courses

  • Dispute Resolution

Practical Skills

  • Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Contract Design
  • Writing for Practice

5. Information Technology

Essential (see also essential courses for all Business or Commercial, supra.)

  • Copyright
  • e-Commerce and the Law
  • Cybercrime

Related Courses

  • Antitrust
  • Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9)

Practical Skills

  • Negotiation Workshop

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Contract Design
  • Writing For Practice

6. Commercial Litigation

Essential (see also essential courses for all Business or Commercial, supra.)

  • Evidence
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Pretrial Practice
  • Remedies

Recommended

  • Employment Law
  • Expert Witness and Scientific Evidence
  • Federal Courts
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9)
  • Negotiable Instruments (UCC Articles 3 & 4)

Practical Skills

  • See recommended courses in Litigation Section, supra.

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Pretrial Practice
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