Legal Aspects of Management - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Legal Aspects of Management

Course Number 1545

Senior Lecturer Lena G. Goldberg
Fall; Q1; 1.5 credits
14 Sessions

Career Focus

This course is designed to enhance the legal literacy of MBA students by developing a body of legal knowledge and honing legal instincts that will help business leaders attain a competitive edge and promote long-term success. Expanding well beyond the basic legal concepts introduced in LCA, the course will refine students' understanding of how law affects all aspects of business, and develop a deeper appreciation of how legal systems operate and how to operate within the boundaries of legal systems. The course has a global perspective and should be of interest to both U.S. and non-U.S students.

No prior legal training is assumed. Class discussion will be based on business school cases and supplementary materials including excerpts from judicial opinions, statutes, and news reports and analysis. This course is not suitable for students in the JD-MBA program. Classes will run the usual 80 minutes except that 4 classes may use the 40-minute expanded time period for deep dives in selected topics. During the course students will be introduced to and have the opportunity to interact with a number of attorneys who have had extensive experience in the subject matter covered by the course.

Educational Objectives

The course has four objectives: first, to explore the global legal environment in which business operates, develop an approach to managing and maximizing the value of the corporate legal function and analyze the dynamic nature of law; second, to address current issues in the law of agency, contracts, torts and employment law and assess the impact of these laws on business; third, to provide an introduction to litigation and criminal prosecutions in the context of recent cases involving intellectual property, antitrust, white collar crime and bankruptcy; and fourth, to survey contemporary issues in securities law, including cross-border transactions, private equity transactions and regulatory responses to hedge funds.

Course Content and Organization

The four modules around which the course is organized parallel the course's objectives.

The Legal Environment of Business: introduces the concept of law as incorporated in the legal systems of various countries, highlights differences among the major types of legal systems, and develops approaches to managing the legal function and maximizing its utility.

Core Concepts: discusses contemporary issues in contract law, contracts without borders and managers' use of contracts to strengthen business relationships, reviews the expansion and limitation of fiduciary responsibilities, discusses tort litigation and tort reform, and analyzes evolving laws affecting the employer-employee relationship.

Private Lawsuits, Government Regulators, and Criminal Prosecutions: discusses private litigation in the context of intellectual property lawsuits, explores issues associated with obtaining approvals from antitrust regulators, introduces bankruptcy litigation, and analyzes criminal prosecution in the context of an international white collar crime case and international conventions to combat cybercrime.

Securities Regulation: provides an overview of registration and disclosure obligations and liability for violations both in the U.S. and abroad, emphasizing the respective responsibilities of various parties to cross-border transactions, securities law implications of private equity transactions and regulatory responses to hedge funds.

There will be a final exam. Grading will be based equally on class participation and the final exam.

Contact information:

Lena G.