This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge of some of the vital legal concepts that affect commerce and trade, after first gaining some familiarity with how laws are created and interpreted. Students will then be introduced to the types of businesses that can be created to engage in commerce as well as the contractual and liability considerations that can impact a business. Laws that affect how a business is regulated will also be reviewed, particularly the impact of administrative rules and regulations on a business. Global commerce and international agreements, treaties, organizations, and courts that can affect business will be discussed to get a better sense of what it means to "go global" with a business.
Consumer and environmental protections will be explained as well as bankruptcy options, should a business go insolvent. Lastly, no business exists without experiencing some kind of dispute or another, and so we will review the options that exist for dispute resolution and alternative dispute resolution to provide a better understanding of how best to deal with such matters.
- Unit 1: The Role of Law and Its Impact on Business: Chapter 1 focuses on the legislative and executive branches of government and discussed the functions of each branch. In the second chapter, students begin a discussion on corporations by reviewing sole proprietorships and agency relationships.
- Unit 2: Legal Considerations in Business Law: In this unit, students are introduced to the three elements that must be present for a contract to be valid: offer, acceptance and consideration. Students will also examine the Uniform Commercial Code, a federal law that regulates contracts for the sale of goods, including Internet contracts. Students also learn about the three types of contract defenses – validity of formation, inability to perform the contract, and inability to enforce a contract. Torts (civil wrongs causing injury to others) and defenses are also examined, as are liability and nuisance.
- Unit 3: Regulating a Business: Unit 3 examines ethics and the law, including a discussion about how we determine what is right and what is wrong. Crimes against property are also probed, including white-collar crime. Criminal and civil procedure are also reviewed, including the key stages of each. An examination of administrative law and its history, the commerce clause, and employment law comprise the second half of this unit.
- Unit 4: Global Commerce: Unit 4 introduces the concept of intellectual property and its protections, including trademarks, patents and copyrights. E-commerce is also discussed, as is international law and free trade and the free flow of capital in an increasingly integrated global economy.
- Unit 5: Protections and Resolutions: In Unit 5, students examine consumer protection, environmental protection. Bankruptcy law and dispute resolution are also probed.
While there are no formal requirements for this course, it is important to understand that this is a challenging course requiring your best critical-thinking skills. The ability to conduct research, make lateral connections, and consider options not clearly outlined is a function of those who successfully practice the law. This course uses scenarios and case studies to apply the concepts offered and encourages creative (but legal and ethical) thinking. For the student who is considering a career in thelaw, this course is a good primer.