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College of Law

Florida State University

 

Business Law Courses

The following courses are offered in the area of Business and Tax Law. Not all courses on this list are offered on a regular basis. Some elective courses offer online sections; however, these may not be offered every semester. You must consult the current course list and plan your schedule accordingly.

Business and Commercial Law Courses

  • Antitrust Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of judicial decisions construing and applying the federal antitrust laws ( i.e., Sherman, Clayton, Robinson-Patman, and Federal Trade Commission Acts) to the control of the competitive process in the American economy.

  • Bankruptcy

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A comprehensive study of the legal principles governing the relationship of debtors and creditors, with primary emphasis on federal bankruptcy law and focus on the rights of unsecured creditors. Traditional state remedies such as attachment, garnishment, execution, fraudulent conveyance and debtors' exemptions also are covered.

  • Closely Held Business Organizations

    Prerequisites: None

    This course covers the organizational law of small businesses, particularly those with relatively few owners or shareholders. It introduces and compares different types of legal organizations commonly used by small businesses, such as general partnerships, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, and limited-liability companies (LLCs).

    Topics include the formation of business organizations, the rights and duties of owners and managers, and the breakup of businesses. The course also covers the law of agency -- that is, the law that addresses the rights and duties that arise when one person acts for another. 

  • Corporate Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Corporations

    An advanced corporate course designed to develop students' awareness of the range of legal issues involved in the public and private funding of the activities of a corporation or similar business entity. The course provides a basic analysis of commercial loan agreements; stocks, bonds, and other securities; mergers and acquisitions; corporate capital structure; and enterprise valuation. 

  • Corporate Governance

    This seminar focuses on corporate governance and the financial crisis. Specifically, we will examine the institutions, financial products, markets, and economic theories at the core of the recent financial crisis. Then, we will explore how, if at all, corporate law and related disciplines played a role in the crisis and/or should play a role in regulating financial firms and markets. Topics will include traditional fiduciary obligations, the shareholder empowerment movement, executive compensation, the legislative/regulatory response to the crisis, and the question of "too big to fail." 

  • Corporate Law and Finance Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Co-Requisite: Corporations

    The purpose of this seminar is to study selected corporate law and finance issues from the perspective of law and economics, including: fiduciary duties, shareholder activism, executive compensation, takeovers, securities fraud, capital structure decisions and the Efficient Capital Markets hypothesis. We will pay special attention to the incentives of corporate participants to behave strategically and the relative effectiveness of markets and legal rules in reducing the level of inefficient strategic behavior. This course may fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • Corporations

    (4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    An introduction to the language and law of business organizations, including agency, partnership, and business corporations. Topics include formation and structure of the corporation, power and fiduciary responsibility of management, rights and liabilities of shareholders, corporate capital structure and finance, shareholders' derivatives litigation, acquisitions and tender offers, and insider trading. Federal securities law is introduced. 

  • Dodd-Frank Act Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: None

    The purpose of this seminar is to study the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Issues covered include: the causes of financial crises; the role of governments in regulating financial institutions, and of markets in meeting regulatory shortfalls; coordination between international financial regulators; the “too-big-to-fail” problem; risk management; financial derivatives, including mortgage-backed securities and other asset-backed securities; the role of rating agencies; the regulation of hedge funds; and consumer protection. We will study how the Dodd-Frank Act addressed each of these issues. This course may fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • Financial Regulation Seminar

    More information coming soon!

  • Insurance Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course covers basic legal principles and their applicability to insurance generally. Construction of contracts, government supervision, insurance practice and litigation, and industry organization are reviewed. 

  • Mergers & Acquisitions

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Business Associations (or Corporations)

    This is an advanced course in the law of mergers and acquisitions. The course will start with fundamental financial theory and proceed to examine the applicable state and federal law. (For this purpose, the only state that really matters is Delaware, although from time to time the law of other commercially important states will also appear.) The course will be most useful for students who intend to practice with a firm or government agency representing or regulating large publicly traded corporations (or with a plaintiffs' firm that brings class or derivative actions against such corporations.) It may not be useful to students who already know that their practices will not involve publicly held corporations, although they are of course welcome to take it. 

  • Nonprofit Organizations

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This is a 2-credit class surveying the comprehensive law of nonprofit organizations. The course will begin with an overview of the nonprofit sector and provide an understanding of the various dimensions and rationales for nonprofit organizations.  We’ll then dissect the legal framework of these organizations, including formation, dissolution, and restructuring; operation and governance; and state and federal requirements for existence.  The course will conclude with a discussion of the taxation of charitable organizations, the impact commercial activities have on exempt status, and special constitutional issues private membership associations face. 

  • Securities Regulation

    (3 credits)
    Co-requisites: Corporations OR Closely Held Business Organizations

    A study of the regulation of securities under the federal securities laws. Topics include registration of public offerings, exempt sales, insider trading, anti-fraud rules, mergers and tender offers, and the professional responsibility of securities lawyers. 

Law and Economics Courses

  • Behavioral Law and Economics Seminar

    This interdisciplinary seminar critically examines the “rational actor” model of legal decision making (proposed by classical economic theorists) in light of the work of social and cognitive psychology.  This course will examine cutting-edge empirical and experimental research and will challenge the descriptive assumptions that underlie legal doctrine in a variety of areas, including criminal law, contracts, torts, corporate law, administrative law, and the rules of evidence and procedure. 

    Topics include, but are not limited to: (1) how moral and social norms interact with legal rules to influence behavior (and whether they should); (2) how cognitive biases affect a party’s ability to bargain efficiently for goods; (3) the psychological factors that guide decisions regarding whether and how much to punish wrongdoers; (4) the power that group dynamics exert on board members in corporate decision making; and (5) whether the traditional “law and economics” approach to tort law fits with psychological research on risk.  Grades will be based on a presentation and research paper.

  • Game Theory for Business Lawyers Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Managers, shareholders, creditors, and regulators make decisions strategically: they try to predict how others may act, and they adjust their behavior in light of those predictions. Therefore, both transactional lawyers and business litigators can benefit from learning about “game theory,” the discipline that studies this sort of strategic behavior. In this seminar, we will learn about bargaining and litigation strategy, the importance of reputation when parties transact with each other repeatedly, and the extent to which informational asymmetries can distort market transactions. We will study these and related game theory issues through the lens of corporate law and finance, giving special attention to learning a critical skill: how to apply general theoretical concepts to transactional and litigation scenarios commonly encountered by business lawyers. This course may fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • Insurance Law & Economics: Theory & Applications

    Prerequisites: None

    This course will focus on how insurance regulation can improve upon market outcomes, how political forces can discourage the realization of regulatory ideals and how legal, business and policy strategies can productively address such differences. 

  • Introduction to Business and Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    The primary objective of this three credit course is to familiarize students with various analytic methods and tools and their applications to various legal fields and issues. Topics include decision analysis, risk and uncertainty, preference aggregation and voting problems, selected issues in finance (e.g. time value of money and diversification of risk), elementary game theory, financial statements, basic microeconomics and fundamental concepts in statistical analysis. 

  • Law and Economics

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None
     
    Economics plays an important role in all areas of the law. This course introduces students to the economic concepts that they will need to know to be effective litigators and transactional lawyers. Among other things, we will address the following questions. How do markets work? What happens when one party to a transaction has an informational or bargaining advantage? How can we tell whether a party is acting rationally or irrationally? How can lawyers use economics to advice clients, draft contracts and make persuasive legal arguments? We will learn all the relevant economics in class — i.e., no previous knowledge of economics is required. 

  • Law and Economics Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Recommended Pre-requisite: Law & Economics

    This seminar will focus on selected law and economics topics in contracts, torts, criminal law, litigation and the regulation of capital markets and financial institutions. We will pay special attention to the strategic interaction between parties, using game theory and behavioral law and economics as our two principal theoretical frameworks. You will learn how contracts, markets and legal rules can help (or hinder) the ability of parties to coordinate their behavior, avoid bargaining breakdowns, and anticipate and address potential conflicts. This in turn will equip you with a set of tools useful in identifying and managing risks, evaluating and drafting contracts and litigating disputes, including determining the value of potential lawsuits and the decision whether to settle or proceed to trial. No prior knowledge of economics is required. This course can be used to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.

  • Statistical Inference in Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Statistical evidence plays a key role in many types of litigation including employment discrimination, products liability, securities fraud, and environmental crimes. The primary objective of this course is to provide an overview of statistical concepts used in legal decision making, with an emphasis on the logic of statistical evidence and inference, i.e., determining when the use of statistics is appropriate, and when assumptions based on statistical evidence are plausible or controversial. Topics for discussion will include profiling in criminal cases, DNA evidence in paternity suits, proving causation, determining future economic values, medical testing, and jury selection. Students will develop a basic understanding of the quantitative methods of statistics and probability, skill and comfort with working with statistical evidence, and confidence in communicating statistical issues in the law. The course does not require previous study in statistics or any particular mathematical background. 

Real Estate Courses

  • Commercial Real Estate Transactions

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisite: Property and Contracts

    This commercial real estate course focuses on three key documents that are the mainstay of a transactional real estate lawyer's practice: the contract of sale, the loan, and the lease. Over the course of the semester, students will pair up to negotiate and draft each of these documents, and to role play as counsel to the purchaser or the seller for the contract of sale, the borrower or the lender for the loan, and the landlord or the tenant for the lease. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of a commercial real estate deal by conducting due diligence and analyzing key ancillary documents that are part and parcel of a commercial deal. Students interested in careers in transactional law, real estate law, corporate law, or finance will find the skills they gain in this course fungible.

  • Condominium and Community Housing Law

    (2 credits)

    The course will examine the law of Florida condominiums with emphasis on those of residential character, as well as the law of mandatory homeowners' associations, and its differences from, and similarities to, the law governing condominiums. The course will cover statutory and case components of the law; document composition and drafting for the creation of condominiums; the statutory standards for operations and governance; and dispute resolution and covenant enforcement within the community.

  • Land Transfer

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of basic transactions in real property. Among the topics covered are the respective roles of lawyers and brokers in the conveying process, sales contracts, recording acts, title insurance, remedies for contract breach, and basic mortgage law. 

  • Land Use Regulation

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course, which will be offered only as an online course during Spring 2016, will address legal and regulatory issues that arise during the process of developing land in certain ways, such as for residential, retail, office or other land uses. It will focus on Florida but will also address issues from other states. Students will learn about the processes that landowners and developers follow to obtain local or state government approval for a project, such as applying for revisions to comprehensive plans, re-zonings, development orders, special use permits, variances, subdivision approvals, and development agreements. Students will also learn how state and local governments--again, with a focus on Florida--regulate land use and review land use and development applications. The course will also address resource-based issues associated with land development, including historic, cultural, and natural resources. Finally, students will learn about private land use controls, such as covenants, conditions, and restrictions, used to further regulate projects and build and preserve property values. 

    This will be an online only course, and it will be open to students at any accredited law school within the United States. Students will have weekly reading assignments, and they will be required to watch weekly lectures that explore these reading assignments. The course will be asynchronous, meaning that lectures will be available online for students to view at their convenience each week; students may choose any time of the week to watch the lectures. At the end of each week, students will be required to electronically submit responses to questions posed by the professor to demonstrate that they have done the readings and watched the lectures. Students’ viewing of the online lectures will be monitored in order to verify attendance. A portion of students’ grades will be based on students’ responses to questions, and the remaining portion of the grade will be based on a final open-book exam, which students will take remotely (from their home computers, for example).

    Students who are not enrolled in FSU College of Law must register with FSU in order to take the course and must obtain permission from their school if they wish to receive credit for the course at their school. 

     

  • Real Estate Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course is designed to train students to analyze complex commercial real estate transactions. It is interdisciplinary within law, attempting to integrate topics including basic mortgage law, usury law, subordination agreements, mechanics lien law, selected uniform commercial code issues, choice of business entity, federal and state securities law and, importantly, federal income tax law. Condominia and cooperatives are discussed as security devices. The federal income tax coverage concentrates on a handful of issues fundamental to commercial real estate transactions, especially the tax treatment of indebtedness and tax aspects of leasing arrangements, including synthetic lease transactions.

Commercial Law Courses

  • Commercial Paper

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: Must not have taken Commercial Law Survey

    Principles of commercial paper; system of bank deposits and collections, including the relationship of the commercial bank and its customer. The use of commercial paper in documentary exchanges is also covered. 

  • Consumer Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study and analysis of decisional and statutory materials dealing with problems in areas such as consumer credit, deceptive and oppressive sales practices, extrajudicial collection efforts and the role of credit reporting agencies. 

  • Sales & Leases

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the rights and responsibilities of sellers, buyers, lessors and lessees of personal property, including transactions in documents of title and letters of credit. The emphasis will rest on Articles 2 and 2A of the Uniform Commercial Code and the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods, with some additional attention paid to Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the Code and the corresponding international law on documents of title and letter of credit. 

  • Secured Transactions

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of security interests in personal property. Emphasis is on the creation and operation of financing arrangements under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Consideration of the effect of the Bankruptcy Act on Article 9 transactions also is included. 

Transactional and Skills Courses

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Examination of the alternative dispute resolution movement and techniques for incorporating it into your legal practice. A variety of readings and exercises are used as background for discussions of the utility of different mechanisms for resolving certain kinds of disputes. This course focuses on adjudication, negotiation, and mediation. The class includes opportunities to be involved in role-play simulations and to discuss the efficacy of these techniques with experienced professionals. 

  • Business Planning

    (2-4 credits)

    This course explores the most common issues faced by small and medium-sized businesses and the lawyers representing them.  Issues that typically will be addressed include: choosing the right form (corporation, partnership, LLC) for the business, organizing and funding the enterprise, converting from one form to another, and purchase and sale of businesses.  Additional issues that may be addressed may include: buy-sell provisions, employment agreements, compensation planning, insurance, diversification, and estate, asset protection, and transition planning.  Both tax and non-tax aspects are considered.  No prerequisites.  Previous or concurrent enrollment in Corporations, Closely-Held Business Organizations, and Taxation desirable but not required.

     
  • Contract Drafting

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will teach the principles of contemporary commercial drafting, introduce documents typically used in a variety of business transactions and provide an overview of principled contract negotiation techniques. The course will be of particular interest to students pursuing a corporate law career, but the concepts are applicable to any transactional practice and will even be useful to litigators.

    Students will be exposed to:

    1) The business purpose of major contract concepts
    2) Translating the business deal into contract concepts
    3) Drafting each of a contract’s parts
    4) Techniques for principled negotiation (win-win negotiation)

    Practical examples will help students understand the importance of drafting with clarity and without ambiguity, how to work through the formal drafting process and how to review and comment on contracts. Students will participate in several multi-phase drafting exercises and mock negotiations.

  • Financial Statements Interpretation

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Every lawyer should know how to read financial statements. Whether your practice concentrates in the areas of corporate, business, real estate, estate planning or family law, a lawyer will be required to read and analyze financial statements. In this skills course, students will learn basic accounting principles necessary to understand, interpret and analyze financial statements, formulate effective inquires, and communicate intelligently with business and financial professionals (as well as with their future clients). Students will read and use the information from real companies to analyze and interpret their financial statements. Specifically, this class will use real world examples to illustrate the interrelationships between financial statements and the documents underlying certain deals/transactions. The students will learn about financial reports, cash flow versus income, tax versus accounting books, the quality of earnings and analytical ratios, all of which may be necessary for a lawyer to conduct due diligence on a particular matter and to draft operative agreements. The class will also spend time analyzing past financial scandals and the financial issues that led to them (and the role a lawyer could/may have played in preventing them). This course assumes that participants have little or no background with respect to the preparation, analysis, and interpretation of financial statements. This course will fulfill the Skills Training Requirement for graduation. May be taken as a S/U grade only.

  • Introduction to Business and Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    The primary objective of this three credit course is to familiarize students with various analytic methods and tools and their applications to various legal fields and issues. Topics include decision analysis, risk and uncertainty, preference aggregation and voting problems, selected issues in finance (e.g. time value of money and diversification of risk), elementary game theory, financial statements, basic microeconomics and fundamental concepts in statistical analysis. 

  • Negotiation

    (4 credits)
    Prerequisites:  None

    This course introduces the theory and practice of negotiation in a workshop setting. We will examine the basic stages of a negotiation; the major tensions at play in negotiation; distributive bargaining, value-creating, and problem-solving techniques; the management of communication and emotional elements in negotiation; power dynamics and ethics; lawyer-client relationships, and other topics as time allows. The course is designed to help students develop negotiating skills and a framework for ongoing self-learning through role-playing simulations, discussion, reading assignments, and regular journal and writing exercises.  

    Attendance Policy: The course attendance policy is unusually strict, because much of our learning takes place during in-class simulated negotiation role-plays. Attendance for each class meeting is mandatory, as absences frustrate not only your own learning but the learning opportunities of the students you are partnered with in that day's simulation. If students cannot make the commitment to attend every class session on time, they are encouraged to cede their place in the course to a waitlisted student who is able to make the necessary commitment. Students who fail to maintain regular attendance or preparation may be dropped from the course. All students interested in taking the course must be present at the beginning of the first class, including waitlisted students.  To be placed on the waitlist, please contact the College of Law Registrar’s Office at records@law.fsu.edu. For students seeking additional information about the course, a sample syllabus is on reserve at the library.

  • Transactional Drafting

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisite: Corporations

    This course provides law students with practical skills necessary to master the craft of drafting and analyzing transaction documents and managing transactions. The course is recommended for all law students, especially for those students who are interested in a transactional practice (be it corporate, finance, intellectual property, environmental, real estate, etc.). For those law students who are interested in litigation, this course will provide a basic understanding of contract analysis and drafting, which may assist in better understanding the work of transactional lawyers.

    We will work on legal writing and drafting exercises that are meant to improve a law student’s writing, drafting, and editing skills.  In addition, we will negotiate transactions based on draft documents prepared by students.  The class should also provide law students with a realistic understanding and appreciation of a client’s demands and expectations. Students should expect to finish this class with the tools necessary to analyze a variety of transactions and with the ability to write documents in clear plain English.

Tax Law Courses

  • Estate and Gift Tax

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: Gratuitous Transfers is highly recommended

    Covers federal estate and gift taxes and their impact on gratuitous property transactions during life and at death. The course includes brief consideration of the tax on generation skipping transfers. 

  • International Taxation

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Taxation I

    A study of the federal income tax laws and international tax treaty provisions that apply to transactions that cross international boundaries. 

  • Tax Policy Seminar

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Tax I

    This seminar evaluates topics such as the choice of a tax base (income or consumption), rate structure (flat or progressive), taxable unit (individual or family), and method of government spending (direct or through the tax system via tax expenditures) against the tax policy norms of equity, efficiency and administrability to determine how well the present tax system satisfies these norms. 

  • Taxation

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the fundamental concepts employed in federal income taxation, the public policies that underlie the current system and the impact of that system on individuals and business entities. Could be called Federal Income Tax, Income Tax or Tax. 

  • Taxation of Business Entities

    (4 credits)
    Prerequisites: Taxation

    This course is an introduction to the federal income taxation of business entities. The course covers the taxation of C corporations and their shareholders. C corporations are generally taxed as entities separate and distinct from their shareholders. The course will also cover the taxation of LLCs/partnerships and their owners. Under subchapter K, there is no entity-level tax on an LLC or partnership, and amounts of income and deductions recognized by the entity flow through to its owners to be reported on the owner’s tax return. Finally, the course will also cover S corporations, which are certain closely held corporations that are generally not taxed separately. The course will include discussion of the tax consequences of formation, operation and liquidation of business entities, as well as distributions of cash and other property by the entity.

International Business Courses

  • Global Health & Pharmaceutical Law Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Global sales of pharmaceuticals total more than $600 billion annually, with the United States constituting the world’s largest pharmaceutical market. This course addresses legal regulation of the pharmaceutical sector, from research and development to manufacturing and distribution. The principal focus is on U.S. law, including the FDA regulatory system. In addition, the course examines foreign regulation, such as the European pharmaceutical regulatory system, and the role of multilateral agencies, including the World Health Organization. 

  • International Aspects of Intellectual Property

    (2-3 credits)

    Advanced study of law and policy for the protection of intellectual property rights (IRPs) on an international basis, including framework created by various treaties and conventions.

  • International Business Transactions

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None
     
    This course provides an introduction to the work performed by lawyers in international business transactions and to the specific skills and knowledge needed to negotiate multinational transactions. International and several domestic regulatory frameworks for foreign trade and investment will be analyzed. We will focus on single, commodity trades; distributorships; technology transfer; and joint venture vehicles for direct foreign investment. Negotiating strategies and cultural considerations in multinational transactions will be discussed. There will be specific coverage of the business and legal contexts of Europe, China and Japan. 

  • International Trade Law and Policy

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    An examination of the international trading system, its economic underpinnings, and its regulatory structures. Primary emphasis is placed on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, both as a fundamental constitutive document and as a set of rules governing such matters as subsidies, dumping, and escape clause actions. The course also reviews issues of U.S. constitutional law relevant to the conduct of international economic relations. 

  • International Trade Transactions

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This is the first Internet course for American and Chinese students of international trade. In it, American and Chinese students simultaneously participate in simulated trade transactions with one another. Using an Internet-based program and a workbook designed just for this course, students will play the role of simulated corporations in their respective countries who are seeking to trade goods between China and the United States. To do this, students at both the Florida State College of Law and the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) log on regularly to receive news about trading opportunities. Using guidance provided in introductory lectures and in the workbook, and under the guise of simulated corporations provided in the Internet environment of the course, students will contact one another across the Pacific Ocean and carry out the actual steps of an international trade transaction. Students will also regularly maintain online records of their company's transactions, in order to track the results of their deals. In addition, Florida State students will meet once a week for a two-hour session in which the week's transactions are discussed and any problems that cropped up can be analyzed and solved. Florida State and SIFT students will also log onto the program during one designated hour per week, at which time they will converse about their respective legal and business cultures and have an opportunity to collaboratively solve problems that typically crop up in Sino-American business transactions. At the end of the semester, a banquet will be held at which time stock will be taken of the financial health of each of the simulated corporations. 

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course provides a comprehensive overview of the various forms of intellectual property for which protection is afforded in the United States, including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, design, semiconductor chip and plant variety protection. It will introduce the mechanisms by which protection is secured, the scope of protection, the way protection is enforced, and discuss the various limitations on rights, such as fair use doctrines. Intellectual property is relevant to virtually all fields of business and creative activity, and lawyers will inevitably confront issues relating to intellectual property in their practice. This course is intended both for students who want a general background in this area, and for those who intend to specialize in the field and may take (or may have taken) more specific courses covering intellectual property. 


Other Business Courses

  • Business Ethics

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    The goal of this course is to develop the ability of prospective lawyers to recognize and handle professional responsibility issues that arise in the practice of business law. For purposes of this course, “business law” includes general business associations law and related specializations such as tax, securities, antitrust, litigation, and “white collar” criminal law. By the end of this course, prospective lawyers should (1) know the sources of governing ethical rules, (2) know the contents of the principal relevant rules, (3) recognize the difficulties attending application of the rules, including the sometimes conflicting policies served by the rules, (4) understand the importance of the particular context at hand when applying the rules, and (5) appreciate the different cultures and priorities of the relevant actors, including regulators, inside and outside counsel, and business persons contemplating or engaged in the transactions.

  • Employment Law Survey

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Survey of basic legal and policy concepts governing the employment relationship. 

  • Energy Law and Policy

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course introduces students to the statutes, regulations, and common law principles that apply to all aspects of the energy system, including extracting and transporting fuels by pipeline and rail and generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity.  This class does not repeat topics discussed in Professor Wiseman’s Oil & Gas course.  Specific topics that we will discuss in this course include the Keystone XL oil pipeline and disputes over the “Presidential Permit” for the pipeline; the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline proposed through Florida; siting, preemption, and nuisance issues associated with renewable energy generation; recent legal disputes over the expansion of transmission lines to carry wind energy from remote areas in the Midwest to population centers; proceedings that establish rates for customers who purchase electricity and natural gas in their homes and apartments; the construction of liquefied natural gas export terminals (including one in Florida) and coal export terminals; the regulation of transporting crude oil by rail; and restructuring of the electricity industry in the United States and abroad, among other topics.  The course will help to prepare students for work with organizations such as the Florida Public Service Commission, the Florida Office of Public Counsel (which represents the interests of electricity ratepayers), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Electric Reliability Corporation, energy developers, law firms that represent energy developers, and nonprofit environmental and energy groups.  The course will be taught live, but it will also be recorded, and 20 students may sign up to watch the recordings electronically and take the course online.  All live students must take the exam in person at the law school.  Students who enroll in the course as online students will have the option of taking the exam in person or, if they are out of town, through the online exam service “Examity.”  Online students who take the exam through Examity will  have to pay a fee of approximately $40 for Examity, and a proctor will electronically monitor these students by viewing these students through their computer camera as the students take the exam. There are no prerequisites for the course.

  • Oil and Gas Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will explore the law that applies to extracting and transporting oil and gas resources in the United States. The first several days of the course will describe the process of locating minerals underground and drilling and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil, as these processes and technical terms for these processes will arise in many of the cases that we will explore. After students have a basic understanding of the oil and gas development process, we will address the many types of law that apply to oil and gas extraction and transportation, including public law regulations and statutes as well as common law property, contract, and tort, among other laws. Using recent cases (most from 2000 and beyond), we will explore who owns minerals and in what form; how mineral owners commonly “lease” minerals to energy companies and obtain bonuses, royalties and other payments in return; disputes that arise between mineral lessors and lessees over royalty payments and other lease issues; disputes between those who own minerals and those who own the surface; and environmental and social issues that arise during the drilling process and the lease terms and regulations that address these issues. We will also address recent court decisions that address state preemption of local oil and gas regulation. Finally, we will spend several days exploring the regulation of natural gas and oil pipelines, including the construction, siting, and operation of pipelines, and we will briefly touch upon export policies.

    This will be an online only course, and it will be open to students at any accredited law school within the United States. Students will have weekly reading assignments, and they will be required to watch weekly lectures that explore these reading assignments. The course will be asynchronous, meaning that lectures will be available online for students to view at their convenience each week; students may choose any time of the week to watch the lectures. At the end of each week, students will be required to electronically submit responses to questions posed by the professor to demonstrate that they have done the readings and watched the lectures. Students’ viewing of the online lectures will be monitored in order to verify attendance. 30 percent of students’ grades will be based on students’ responses to questions, and 70 percent will be based on a final open-book exam, which students will take remotely (from their home computers, for example).

    Students who are not enrolled in FSU College of Law must register with FSU in order to take the course and must obtain permission from their school if they wish to receive credit for the course at their school. 

  • White Collar Crime

    (2 credits)

    The course will cover a range of topics, including, among  others, corporate criminal liability, mail fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, and environmental crimes.