SLOAN GRADUATE-LEVEL BUSINESS LAW COURSES – SPRING 2014

A MESSAGE FROM JOHN AKULA

December 1, 2013

 

There are major changes to my law courses for Spring 2014 not reflected in the catalogue.  The key information is set out below.  I will be offering the following five options this spring:

15.615 - Basic Business Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager.  (Full semester; 9 credits; M/W 8:30-10am)  This course, which is also offered each fall, is a broad-gauged introduction to business law which also focuses on the law-sensitive issues involved in setting up and financing a new venture.  One change for this spring – a bit more time on the legal basics of putting together a new company, including agreements on such matters as stock options, rights to inventions, and angel financing.

15.617 - Deals, Finance and the Law (Full semester; 9 credits; T/Th 8:30-10am) and 15.647 - Special Seminar in Law[Focus: Private equity, M&A, and investment management regulation] (H1 only; 6 credits; meets with and is the first half of 15.617).  The full-semester course, 15.617, has been substantially redesigned for Spring 2014.  The new focus is on the law-sensitive aspects of two key and often overlapping business contexts which many Sloanies will confront early in their careers:  (i) complex deals, and (ii) commercial finance and financial services and products.  The half-semester H1 option, 15.647, is being offered for the first time this Spring.  In H1 we will focus on private equity, including PE fund creation and deals; other M&A; and financial services regulation with special attention during H1 to investment funds and investment management.  During H2, we will focus on financial instruments and structured products; litigation, and civil and criminal accountability; commercial finance and complex deals other than M&A, including restructurings under the bankruptcy code; the transnational dimension; and employment law issues, with special attention to the financial services sector.   The full-semester course is also designed to be a general introduction to business law, but, compared to 15.615, the broader-gauged materials are much condensed to leave time for a primary focus on deals and finance.  Most of the material which does overlap with 15.615 or 15.616 has been pushed to H2.  [Note:  Don’t be confused by the catalogue listings.  I believe 15.617 will still be listed with its old title, which was “Basic Business Law, Tilted Towards Finance.”  For 15.647, we are borrowing an existing “Special Seminar in Law” catalogue number so I believe that is all that the catalogue will say.]   

15.618 - Law and Cutting-Edge Technologies (Full semester, 9 credits; Mon 4-7pm; graduate students only) and 15.648 - Special Seminar in Law[Focus: Intellectual property rights in new technologies] (H1 only; 6 credits; meets with and is the first half of 15.618; graduate students only).  The full-semester course, 15.618, is an intensive look at the law-sensitive dimensions of developing and commercializing cutting-edge technologies.  Key topics include a close look at intellectual property with special attention to patents but also other forms of IP;  the legal framework of the development and commercialization of new technologies; and issues specific to some key cutting-edge technologies in life sciences, software, digital communications, and social media.  Students from the science, engineering, and HST departments have made up a substantial proportion of the enrollment. The half-semester H1 option, 15.648, is being offered for the first time this Spring.  H1 is devoted primarily to intellectual property law, and is by far the most in-depth treatment of IP in my courses.  It includes a look at the special IP issues that arise in certain key technology areas such as health sciences, software, and digital communications.  [Note: For Spring 2014 we are borrowing an existing “Special Seminar” number from the catalogue, so the official name of the course will just be “Special Seminar in Law.”]  

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SOME CONSIDERATIONS IN PICKING A LAW COURSE.    

1. There are no prerequisites for any of my courses. They are an array of choices, not a sequence. Anything you need to know about the law for any of the classes will be explained in class.    

2. I also offer law courses in the fall. Here is what I anticipate the schedule will look like in coming years: 

 

Fall

Spring

15.615. Basic Business Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager.  Full semester.  9 credits. M/W 8:30-10am.  

15.615. Basic Business Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager. Full semester.  9 credits. M/W 8:30-10am

15.616. Basic Business Law, Tilted Towards Key Emerging Issues.  Full semester.  9 credits.  T/Th 8:30-10am. 

15.617. Deals, Finance and the Law .  Full semester.  9 credits.  T/Th 8:30-10am. [Note:  Listed in catalogue under old name of “Basic Business Law, Tilted Towards Finance].

 

15.647. Special Seminar in Law [Focus: Private equity, M&A, and investment management regulation.]  H1 only.  6 credits.  T/Th 8:30-10am. Meets with 15.617.

 

15.618. Law and Cutting-Edge Technologies. Full semester.  9 credits.  Mon 4-7pm.

 

15.648.  Special Seminar in Law.  [Focus:  Intellectual property rights in new technologies.]  H1 only.  6 credits.  Mon 4-7pm.  Meets with 15.618.

 

 

3.  15.616 (which is offered only in the fall) is, like 15.615, a broad-gauged full-semester introduction to business law, but with more emphasis on “hot” current legal issues crucial to business. 

4.  All of my courses follow the same format with respect to “deliverables.”  In each of the full-semester courses there are 2 written exercises. One will be given near the mid-point of the semester and the other will be given about 2 weeks prior to the end of the semester.  These exercises are open-book and will be taken outside of class.  (This should ease the pressure on students for whom English is a second language.)  A student may elect to take the exercises as an individual, or as part of a three or four student team.  Each exercise will present a realistic business situation and require the student or team to assess its law-sensitive aspects.  Students electing one of the H1 options will do only the first exercise, although there may be a short second deliverable assigned.

5.  Graduate students from all parts of MIT are welcome in my courses – a business background is not a prerequisite.  Undergraduates are also welcome in all of the courses except 15.618/15.648.

 


More information:


Here are links to a syllabus for each of the courses: