Business Law Focus Area

The Business Law Focus Area is intended to present the business law curriculum so that students may take a relatively cohesive package of courses, all of which are rooted in the business law context, that emphasizes substantive knowledge, analytical skills, and practical skills.

Virtually every student takes a few business law courses beyond Contracts, and some students take as many such courses as they can. The Business Law Focus Area allows all students, those with little or no business interest as well as those with a strong desire to specialize in business law, to select intelligently those classes that will be most appropriate for them.

Foundational Courses

Every student in the Business Law Focus Area must take the foundational courses Business Entities and Individual Income Tax. One or both of these courses is a prerequisite for the rest of the Business Law Focus Area curriculum. More practically, every lawyer, whether in civil or criminal practice, with a large urban firm or in a rural solo practice, encounters corporate law and tax issues. Further, business entities concepts are usually tested at least once on each Washington State Bar Examination and tax concepts are often tested in other states.

Skills Component Courses

Every student pursuing the Business Law Focus Area curriculum must also take at least one course that involves skills components. Some of these courses are drafting labs. Drafting labs are 1-credit courses that are attached to substantive courses such as Business Entities. The labs involve both a consideration of general principles of good drafting and a specialized attention to the nuances of drafting within the context of a particular substantive area. In the Community Development & Entrepreneurship Clinic, business students and law students are teamed in pro bono representation of the new and existing small businesses that are the clinic's clients. These ventures are seeking financial and resource support from two local micro-lenders, Community Capital and Washington CASH. From business planning to business growing, the course emphasizes principles, interdisciplinary skills and values from both a legal and business perspective. Each two-person team is assigned a supervising lawyer and business consultant to advise and facilitate their work. Other skills courses are clinics or externships in substantive areas such as bankruptcy. These courses allow students to work in real practice settings either on behalf of real clients under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or in the chambers of a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge or U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.

Elective Courses

Every student in the Business Law Focus Area must also take at least three elective courses. These courses currently include Advanced Topics in Business Law, Antitrust, Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Corporate Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, Corporate and Partnership Tax, Corporations & Public Policy Seminar, International Business Transactions, International Taxation, International Trade and Securities Regulation. These courses allow students to pursue more specialized interests within the Business Law Focus Area. For example, a student interested in traditional corporate law might choose Corporate Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, and Securities Regulation, whereas a student interested in the international aspects of business law could choose among the business law electives that have an international perspective.

Center on Corporations, Law & Society

The Center on Corporations, Law & Society at Seattle University School of Law conducts and promotes interdisciplinary scholarship and dialogue on issues related to the roles and obligations of corporations in an increasingly privatized and interdependent global society. In addition to serving as a platform for enhanced scholarly inquiry, the Center provides a forum for sustained discussion among academics, legal practitioners, business leaders, activists, policy makers and community members on the complex and important relationships between business enterprises and their many stakeholders.

The Center offers a range of opportunities for students interested in exploring the role law plays in maximizing the positive contributions of corporations while protecting fundamental public interest values. Students are invited to attend the many conferences, speakers and films that the Center hosts throughout the year. In addition, students are welcome to visit the Center on Corporations, Law & Society for advice on professional development, curricular choices, and scholarship. Finally, Student Fellows, who work closely with the Center Director, assist with planning and organizing Center events, support faculty research and other substantive Center projects, have opportunities to network with the outside community of stakeholders working in a wide range of fields, and otherwise engage in facilitating the work of the Center.

Business Law Faculty

Career Faculty
Steven Bender Law & Business
Mark Chinen International Trade
Diane Dick Business Entities
Lily Kahng Individual Income Tax, Corporate & Parnership Tax
Jack Kirkwood Antitrust, Law & Economics
(W.H.) Joe Knight Community Development & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Financial Institutions Law; Law & Business
Charles O'Kelley Corporations, Law & Society, Corporate Law Appellate Litigation
Russell Powell* Business Entities, Corporate Governance
Chris Rideout Drafting Labs

*Focus Area Chair

Adjunct Faculty
Mark Beatty Corporate Finance
Chris Cunningham Business Law Drafting Lab
Margo Keller Business Dispute Resolution Seminar
Phillip Guess Securities Regulation
Jessica Pearlman Corporate Acquisition

Focus Area Requirements

The focus area requires students to take two foundational courses, one skills component, and at least three courses chosen from an approved list of electives. Plan the completion of your focus area with a focus area tracking form.

Course Descriptions

Foundational Courses (both courses required)

  • Business Entities (4 cr)
  • Individual Income Tax (4 cr)

Skills Component Courses (at least one course required)

  • Business Law Drafting Lab (1 cr)
  • Community Development & Entrepreneurship Clinic (4 cr)
  • Bankruptcy Judicial Externship (4 cr)
  • Bankruptcy Law Trustee Externship (3-4 cr)

Elective Courses (at least three courses required)

  • Antitrust (3 cr)
  • Bankruptcy (3 cr)
  • Corporate Acquisitions (3 cr)
  • Corporate Finance (3 cr)
  • Corporate Governance (3 cr)
  • Corporate and Partnership Tax (4 cr)
  • Corporations & Public Policy Seminar (2 cr)
  • International Business Transactions (3 cr)
  • International Taxation (2 cr)
  • International Trade (3 cr)
  • Securities Regulation (3 cr)

Additional Related Courses

Students pursuing the Business Law Focus Area may find that related courses not strictly within the focus area are of interest. These courses may include the following:

  • Basic Real Estate
  • Advanced Real Estate
  • Employment Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labor Law
  • Law and Economics
  • Payment Law
  • Taxation of Charitable (Non-Profit) Organizations
  • Transnational Litigation and Arbitration
  • UCC Sales
  • UCC Secured Transactions