If you are like most law students and lawyers, there is a pretty good chance you will end up in some form of “business law” practice.  Nearly 30% of the class of 2018 went into a business law practice of some form, the largest single practice area for that class.  They will work at “BigLaw” firms in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and beyond, as well as in-house for companies, and in medium-sized, general business practice firms.

But law students often don’t know what “business law” means in concrete terms or, if they do, what they should take in order to prepare for that aspect of practice.  This page and its links are meant to help you begin to think about this practice area and whether, if you are like most students, it will be in your future.

Broadly speaking, “business law” connotes five areas of practice, both transactional and litigation:

  1. “Corporate” and “mergers and acquisitions”: This generally refers to creating legal entities, such as corporations, and transactions involving their ownership and control.  Large mergers—that is, when one company buys another—are often in the news.  When they are challenged, disputes often end up in the nearby Delaware Chancery Court, which is typically regarded as the nation’s leading business law court (and one with which Temple has important connections).
  2. Tax: Every business transaction has tax implications, and many lawyers devote their careers to planning transactions (such as mergers) for tax efficiency, or litigating with taxing authorities.
  3. Securities and Regulated Industries: Many of the most important businesses in the economy are subject to elaborate regulatory regimes. Probably the most significant—and one where Temple has long had special strength—involves “securities,” the body of law that governs the purchase and sale of things like shares of stock.  Many lawyers engage in securities practice of one form or another.  Similarly, many other industries—banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals—are subject to complex rules and regulations, which lawyers may deal with in questions of compliance or litigation.
  4. Intellectual Property and Antitrust: A great deal of value in the economy is locked up in “intellectual property,” monopoly rights granted by law in inventions, works of authorship, trademarks, and so on. Lawyers play essential roles in creating, protecting, and transacting in intellectual property.  Antitrust—the problem of monopoly generally—is an important and related subspecialty because business transactions or relationships may violate antitrust laws.
  5. Commercial Finance and Bankruptcy: Lawyers are often active participants in lending and similar transactions, as they tend to be subject to elaborate contracts.  When the loans go bad, lawyers are often on the front line in trying to deal with financial distress, which may result in renegotiation, litigation or even bankruptcy for the business borrower.

To be sure, there is much more we could say.  Nevertheless, we hope that this gives you a sense of what business law is about.  Recognizing the diversity of business law practice, Temple has designed a business law curriculum that uniquely prepares future lawyers to participate in the global marketplace. Temple’s business law courses emphasize the development of transactional and advocacy skills necessary for success in all facets of business law.

Temple students also have access to an array of experiential business law opportunities. The innovative Introduction to Transactional Skills (ITS) provides first year students with invaluable transactional experience negotiating and drafting agreements for clients. Upper-level students may choose to hone these skills further with practicums, clinics or the Integrated Transactional Program (ITP), which was recognized by the CPR Institute on Dispute Resolution in 2001 as the best course on problem solving in any law school curriculum in the country.  Students who concentrate in business law may be eligible for a Business Law Certificate, discussed further below.


Introduction to Transactional Skills (ITS)

Introduction to Transactional Skills (ITS) is a two-week intensive course that departs from the tradition of limiting the first-year curriculum to doctrinal courses and develops strategic thinking, interviewing, negotiating, and drafting skills. First year students are exposed to the practice of transactional law and learn how to think like a transactional lawyer through lectures, small-group workshops, and a client simulation. Students learn to properly identify their client’s goals and work to negotiate, draft, and execute the documents necessary to accomplish those goals.

Integrated Transactional Program (ITP)

In order to ingrain key lawyering skills in negotiating, counseling, drafting, and interviewing, the two-semester Integrated Transactional Program (ITP) builds upon students’ initial experience in Introduction to Transactional Skills (ITS) and is designed around realistic client files. Through ITP simulations, students tackle complicated issues in trusts and estates, small business and charities, ethics, and professional responsibility while gaining practical experience in the transactional skills central to the practice of law.

Dual Degree Programs

Temple offers several dual degree programs, which enable students to obtain both a Juris Doctor and another advanced degree.  For example, students may obtain both Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degrees or a J.D. and a Master of Public Health.

Certificate in Business Law

The Certificate in Business Law is designed for students who do not have an undergraduate degree in business or extensive business background but want to develop their knowledge in business while pursuing their degrees in law. Students in the Certificate in Business Law program take at least 10 business related law courses, and receive a notation on their transcripts.

Temple Center for Compliance and Ethics

Temple is at the forefront of the “compliance” movement, an effort by those in business, government, and law to assure that businesses develop and maintain effective systems to assure legal compliance.  This is becoming an increasingly important facet of business law practice, and Temple’s cutting-edge Center for Compliance and Ethics provides curricular and experiential opportunities for students in this rapidly-growing field.

LL.M. in Taxation

Each year, new and experienced lawyers choose the Graduate Tax Program at Temple University Beasley School of Law to deepen their understanding of complex taxation issues. Since 1973, Temple’s internationally renowned Tax Program has offered a Master of Laws in Taxation that provides candidates with a strong foundation in tax law as well as an opportunity to develop expertise beyond the level of study offered in J.D. programs. In addition, the program offers certificate programs in Estate Planning and in the Taxation of Employee Benefits. These certificate programs allow students to gain expertise in specific areas of interest without having to complete all of the LL.M. requirements.

Temple offers J.D. students the unique opportunity to earn both a J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation with as little as one semester of study beyond the J.D. requirements. Students pay no additional tuition for LL.M. courses taken while in the J.D. program and may complete up to 12 of the 24 credits required for the LL.M. while still enrolled in the J.D. program.

J.D./LL.M. in Taxation Program

Temple offers J.D. students the unique opportunity to earn both a J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation with as little as one semester of study beyond the J.D. requirements. Students pay no additional tuition for LL.M. courses taken while in the J.D. program and may complete up to 12 of the 24 credits required for the LL.M. while still enrolled in the J.D. program.

Temple’s Business Law Community—The Temple 10-Q

Temple has a long history of producing successful business lawyers.  Our community is deep, and includes leaders in corporate, commercial and banking law.  The Law School publishes an electronic business law magazine, The Temple 10-Q, which connects and informs this community, and which can give you a first-hand look at what Temple business lawyers actually do.  Students can participate in The 10-Q as student editors and reporters.