Monday, December 30, 2019

What is Transactional Business Law?

The title of this post is the core question behind a transactional law laboratory that I am co-teaching with my amazing colleague Eric Amarante for a seven-week period starting next week.  The course is being taught to the entire 1L class (intimidating!) in one two-hour class meeting each week.  In essence, the course segments explore, principally through the subjects taught in the first-year curriculum, the nature of transactional business law.  This is our first semester teaching this course, which is a substantially revised version of a course UT Law added to its 1L curriculum three years ago.  We are pretty jazzed up about it--but understandably nervous about how our course plan will "play" with this large group.

Because 1Ls come to transactional business law from various different backgrounds and experiences (including different first-semester law professors), we plan to begin by striving to develop some common ground for our work.  To that end, I am asking for a late Christmas present or early New Year's gift from all of you: your answer to one or more of the following questions.  How would you define transactional business law?  What are some examples of this kind of practice?  What makes a good transactional business lawyer?  Why should every law student need to know something about transactional business law (and what should they need to know)?  Let me know.

These are the kinds of questions we'll be probing through discussions, drafting, problem-solving, and other in-class and out-of-class experiences in the context of contract law, property law, tort and criminal law, agency law, professional responsibility, and more.  The objective is substantive exposure, not mastery.  Although teaching 125+ students at once is a tall order (and we will be breaking the class down into small groups for various activities), I admit that I am a bit excited about this.  I hope you are, too, and that a few of you will respond in the comments or send me a private message.

In the mean time, enjoy the waning holiday season.  I wish a happy new year to all.  And (of course) I wish good luck to the many among you who also are starting a new semester in the coming weeks.

Joan Heminway, Law School, Lawyering, Teaching | Permalink


I would change the question slightly to ask "what is transactional business lawyering?" That invites what I think is a more accurate answer: it is the process of navigating the Venn diagram overlap of the set of legal structures, restrictions, and imperatives, on one hand, and the set of business objectives, on the other, and thus requiring mastery (including language, tools, techniques, intuitions, and customs) of each set.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Dec 31, 2019 6:46:41 AM

Yes, Jeff! We primarily are asking/answering that question, truth be told. But we also hope to identify fields of law that are primarily transactionally based, including M&A and other Corporate Finance law, of course! 😀

I like your description, too, btw. Very consistent with your views as expressed elsewhere. TY!

Posted by: joanheminway | Dec 31, 2019 7:00:57 AM

Ah, I get it. It IS harder than doing the same thing for litigation, mainly because it's not really amenable to clear and binary lines for what is in and out. And "transactional" can mean traditional business planning (formation, tax, securities, etc.) or it could be real estate transactions or licensing transactions or even divorce property settlement transactions.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jan 1, 2020 6:26:14 AM

Post a comment