In popular imagination, lawyers try cases and
argue before juries. The majority of lawyers, however,
rarely set foot in a courtroom. The practice of many
lawyers at top firms consists of negotiating, structuring
and advising clients with respect to business transac-
How do lawyers gain a sufficient understanding of
business practices and culture to communicate effec-
tively with their corporate clients? Most learn the hard
way — on the job. Others enroll in combined M.B.A./
J.D. programs, requiring an additional year of study.
Virginia offers a third way: the Virginia Law & Business
Program, which integrates business and legal analysis
in the law school classroom.
The Law & Business Program brings business
school faculty into the Law School to teach the basics of
accounting and finance. It provides students the oppor-
tunity to hone these skills through enhanced versions
of core business law courses, and it gives students the
chance to review key transactional documents and stra-
tegic decisions alongside senior counsel and executive
officers. In short, the Law & Business Program allows
students to develop the skills necessary to understand
and better serve their future business clients.
The Law & Business Program is an opportunity, not
a “track” or separate degree program. Any Law School
student who decides to take the introductory course
in Accounting and Corporate Finance, or who has
equivalent prior experience, can take advantage of the
enhanced core courses and intensive courses. However,
we recognize that not all students will want to make
this level of investment, and some will decide that their
interests lie elsewhere. We therefore offer more tradi-
tional versions of all of the core business law courses.
Students interested in business law can take advan-
tage of three major curricular opportunities available
through the Law & Business Program.
Stephen J. Malone ‘97 is senior employment counsel for
NBC Universal Inc. in New York City.
the Virginia Law