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BLAW 200 Legal Environment of Business Course Guide

Course Description

This course is intended to help students attain a basic understanding of the American legal system, particularly as it relates to business organizations. Students must be able to appreciate the very practical effect of areas of law in their own lives and what they must be ready for as they encounter civil and criminal legal issues and business formation issues throughout their lives.

The course is broken up into two distinct sections. The first section is a survey overview of different types of laws, different areas of law, and the format, structure and operating practicality of the court systems, including executive, legislative and administrative parts of the government, and how they work in affecting and impacting the life of the individual and businesses. In the second part of the course, contracts, agency, different forms (types) of doing business, and areas of regulatory relationship among employers, employees, and government will be discussed. Finally, but very significantly, ethics must be worked in to each area covered. There should be at least 1 to 2 classes covering ethical issues, considerations and cases and problems in each of the two parts of the course.

Students should be advised that they are going to need this knowledge not for a final or a midterm but to avoid as many real problems and pitfalls in today’s society as possible as they live their lives. It should be clearly explained that this course gives them a chance to absorb as much of that vital practical knowledge as possible through an attorney for no cost. It is their chance to have an open forum for legal advice without charge for probably the last time in their career and life.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

1. Distinguish between the civil and criminal legal systems and how they function, both procedurally and substantively.

2. Evaluate the different ways disputes can be resolved and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

3. Compare and contrast the different ways and forms of doing business, and the various factors to consider when choosing a business form.

4. Assess the ethical impact of an identified law or legal issue.

5. Solve legal problems through the use of legal reasoning.

This is asking for a lot, but it must be kept in mind that it is a survey course and while a great deal of material is covered, if it is covered properly, the student will finish the course with comprehension in many vitally practical areas of law so necessary and important in today’s business world.


Course Outline

Section One:

  •  types of legal systems, domestic and international
  •  types of law, nationally
  •  jurisdiction, venue, standing and mootness
  •  the Court systems, state and federal
  •  alternative dispute resolution
  •  constitutional law
  •  administrative law
  •  criminal law
  •  international & comparative law (very briefly)
  •  tort & strict product liability law (more extensively)
  •  intellectual property law & (very briefly) its development in the area of cyber law.

Section Two:

  • contracts (reduced to a 2 or 3 class “survey” concentration)
  • agency
  • forms (types) of doing business, including proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, trusts, LLCs and LLPs, and all their variations, pros and cons, and legal considerations and implications
  • areas of regulatory relationship among employers, employees and government, including (each covered very briefly) labor, consumer protection, employment discrimination, environmental, land-use, anti-trust and securities regulation law.

Recommended Teaching Methodology

Lecture to some extent is essential to cover the many areas involved in Business Law 200, as it is a survey course. However, class discussions should be encouraged at all costs to elevate the level of the class interest in this subject. This subject covers such a wide range of issues and areas, which are so vital to the future of all of the students, which the students can expect to encounter throughout their lives, and which are so pragmatic and even “media-driven”, that it should not be difficult to lead the class discussions in ways that are as interesting as possible for the students and yet informative on all of the areas set forth in the course description and outline.

Students should be encouraged to work on a research project case or paper at least once during the course of the class semester. Team projects are preferable, as they will teach students to work with others.

Recommended Assessment Measures

The primary method of assessment should be testing. The type of testing is up to each individual professor. The type of testing should depend upon the size of the class, the scope of the material covered, the number of tests, and the time and availability of testing by essay as opposed to objective testing. However, the teacher must make the students write and orally communicate. If this is done through use of case problems, “hand-in” class assignments, or in-class problems to be written out and turned in for evaluation, then objective tests can be used since the writing component will have been achieved. Otherwise, there should be some essay component either in the test or in some other method in the class so the students are required to write. Students should also experience oral communication and presentation (preferably through answering or responding to case problems or legal issues) so that they leave the class with the ability to orally communicate solutions to problems.

In Business Law 200 the School of Business Learning Goals for writing will be reinforced through various assignments.