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Corporate Law in the Classroom

3L, Texas Tech School of Law

I recently had the chance to discuss the state of corporate law in the law school classroom and how law schools are currently preparing future transactional attorneys for practice. Timothy R. Vaughan has been practicing corporate law for over 30 years in Dallas, Texas and is currently a shareholder with Hallett & Perrin P.C. Tim has experience with a wide variety of corporate law issues including federal securities regulation, private equity as well as representing corporate clients in the technology and manufacturing industries. Tim's experience and skills with business governance, advising, and strategy in addition to providing legal counsel, makes him an invaluable part of his client's success.

When asked about what he believes could be changed about the way corporate law is taught in the current law school system, Tim provided a unique perspective:

"In corporate, law students are not generally well prepared to hit the ground running. There are all sorts of mock trials, moot courts, etc. but very little practical guidance for aspiring corporate lawyers. Law schools should offer a course or two on commercial drafting — contracts, shareholder agreements, financing documents (debt or equity). Things like that. They should similarly offer a course on business concepts — valuation, accounting and financing (early stage, venture, mezz, bank, preferred equity, common equity) — that allow students to get some sense of the economics. That stuff is hard to pick up on the fly. A huge part of my practice is looking at deals to see if they make sense economically and how we finance them. I think every law school should facilitate cross course work with the university's business school and give credit (up to 6 hours or so) for course work taken in accounting/finance and the like."

Comments

I'm fortunate, as my school offers classes in contract drafting, valuation, accounting and financing, and various other corporate topics, a byproduct of a business concentration offer and dual degree (with MBA) option. However, some of these classes are difficult to put into perfect practice because they're so subjective. I'm graded based on my professor's idea of best approaches or proper technique, but there are various methods that could be employed. I wholeheartedly agree with Tim, but there are some things that should be refined by the firm when there's such an array of approaches.

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