Curricular Innovation

66FD1147Offering law students the opportunity to tailor their legal education through specializations, UCLA Law was one of the first schools to offer – and remains a leader in – transactional training in Business Law. Today, UCLA is one of only four law schools in the top 20 to offer a degree specialization in Business Law and Policy.

Curricular innovation has been a hallmark of the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy from the outset and remains one of its areas of greatest achievement to date. Our mission is to ensure that the Business Law and Policy curriculum remains in the vanguard of innovative approaches to legal education. In undertaking this effort, the Institute presumes that lawyers who work in the corporate world require broad-based expertise. To ensure that fullness of perspective, the program of study:

  1. Combines theory with real-world opportunities for students to explore the intersection of law and business.
  2. Prepares students for a sophisticated practice in a wide range of areas, including bankruptcy, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, finance, commercial law and taxation.
  3. Equips graduates with the skills necessary to adapt to a changing legal marketplace, to identify emerging areas of economic opportunity and for those who choose to pursue alternatives to practice, to transition into positions of leadership in business, the nonprofit sector and philanthropy.

As part of this commitment to deliver current, substantive course work that is relevant to the real-world practice of law, UCLA School of Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy introduced three short courses in 2012-13:

The Syndicated Loan Transaction – Introduced students to the modern syndicated loan transaction and the principal legal and practical issues relevant to a commercial financing arrangement in today’s international financial world. Using actual financing documents tailored to a hypothetical financing transaction, students examined how the syndicated loan market operates and why the transactions are structured the way they are.  Students saw first-hand how and why the various documents (from preliminary expression of interest to commitment letter and term sheet and related fee letter to loan agreement and related guarantee and security documents) allow the parties to identify and mitigate the risks on each side.  While students were given some opportunity for role playing and mock negotiation, the primary focus was on problem identification and problem solving in the transactional context and on the interplay of often-competing commercial and legal considerations in structuring and executing business arrangements.  

International Mergers and Acquisition – Introduced students to the principal legal and practical issues typically encountered in structuring and executing cross-border merger and acquisition transactions between US and non-US entities, with particular focus on transactions involving Brazil. Using a combination of actual cross-border transactional documents and lectures, students examined how an international merger and acquisition transaction is structured and closed, with particular focus not only on the relevant legal considerations, but also on the political, social and cultural considerations frequently encountered in cross-border transactions.  

Real Estate Financial Analysis – Introduced students to the qualitative and quantitative skills necessary to analyze a wide variety of real estate investments in the context of their legal careers. Students learned the basics of real estate finance and gained familiarity with their application to common issues such as bankruptcy, restructuring, workouts, trust and estate planning, and litigation.  The course explored the principles of finance and valuation, including the adjustment of cash flows to reflect time and risk, as well as techniques used to determine property and land value. The course also covered key concepts related to capital structuring and risk-and-return tradeoffs and presented actual case studies in an effort to bridge theory and practice.  

We further offer several joint degree programs. These four-year programs result in the simultaneous award of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master’s Degree.  Programs offered in conjunction with other academic divisions at UCLA include J.D./M.B.A. degrees through the Anderson School of Management or J.D./M.A. degrees in Afro-American Studies, American Indian Studies, Philosophy, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Welfare or Urban Planning.

In addition, the Master of Laws (LL.M.) Degree, an advanced law certification program designed for international students seeking global legal credentials and for U.S. J.D. graduates desiring advanced legal study, further attests to UCLA School of Law’s commitment to delivering curricular excellence in an encouraging, supportive and flexible learning environment that gives our graduates real-world advantages.

Innovative curriculum is only part of the picture, however. Recruiting and retaining the best faculty in the country to “deliver the goods” also is paramount to achieving academic excellence. To that end, our Business Law faculty is comprised of the country’s top legal minds in the areas of Bankruptcy Law and Policy, Corporate Governance, Law and Economics, and Tax Policy and Public Finance.  Ultimately, our steadfast dedication to pushing the field of law forward and upholding our tradition of progressive teaching, influential scholarship and enduring innovation is what sets us – and our students – apart from the rest.