40 West 4th Street, 426
R, 3:30pm to 4:45pm
Class will not meet on:
Class will meet on:
At a general level, this course is intended as an introductory course covering all the main legal challenges in starting a new business or prosecuting and defending a legal case.
I show how the law interacts with entrepreneurship in two principal ways. First, legal structures shape organizational forms in entrepreneurship. Second, legal rules carry public policy implications for entrepreneurship in legislation, regulation, and the broad area of property rights and the efficiency of courts. To show these challenges and principals, assignments for the course include readings, case discussions, interaction in presentation sessions as presenters and questioners, and the Entrepreneurial Startup or the LawGame projects.
See full version of syllabus on Blackboard.
Suggested Readings and Materials:
LawGame participants: There is no required text for the LawGame participants. A booklet of cases will be distributed along with the LawGame.
Entrepreneurial Participants: There is no required text as well; here are some recommended readings and software programs:
Computer Simulation Media Spark Inc. “Small Business-Life of an Entrepreneur” Student Key License Version, Go Venture.
Entrepreneurship – Successfully Launching New Ventures, Bruce Barringer and Duane Ireland, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall.
The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law, Constance Bagley and Craig Dauchy, Third Edition, Thomson West
Entrepreneur's Notebook: Practical Advice for Starting a New Business Venture by Steven K. Gold (general)
The Entrepreneur's Manual: Business Start-Ups, Spin-Offs, and Innovative Management by Richard M. White (general and strategy) [NOTE: out of print, but there are used copies available. technology mentioned is dated but strategy/perspective is not.]
For all participants, all cases, notes, and outlines will be distributed in class or by email, and you must read them. The cases introduce many of the legal issues affecting startups and business transactions and practice. Since the schedule and assignments due dates can sometimes get buried or blurred, I will make sure to keep you up to date in class and by email. Make sure that you always check and read the emails.
Course Assignments, Projects and Examination:
Each student will be required to thoroughly and substantially participate in either the Entrepreneurial Start-Up Game or LawGame. Also, each student must successfully pass the final examination to receive a final grade in this course.
Reading Assignments: As stated in the previous section, reading assignments are to be completed prior to each class. Most, if not all, of the homework assignments (not deliverables) will be distributed by email or posted on Blackboard. (There aren’t many.)
Projects: All submissions for the games must be uploaded timely onto Blackboard.
“LawGame” involves a civil commercial action which highlights issues of law, liability, and damages facing businesses today. In this three-month long exercise, you will develop research, interviewing, fact gathering, team, and advocacy skills. You gather facts by examining and cross-examining live witnesses, identify legal issues, draft memoranda and court pleadings, and ultimately prepare for a six to seven-hour trial with opening statements and closing arguments.
“Entrepreneurial Startup & Legal Game” leads you to form and operate a startup. Each group of students identifies a business opportunity and the legal pitfalls, concerns, and issues involved. They then (i) decide on a business plan and structure and form it, (ii) prepare minutes, entity charter, and bylaws, (iii) analyze contracts, abstracts, or term sheets such as venture capital, ownership, employment, vendor, and lease agreements, and (iv) protect intellectual property and trade secrets. With each milestone, there are Q&A sessions. At the end, each team is questioned by practicing venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
Finally, throughout the games and course, you will further learn to operate in a professional manner and team environment.
Examination: One open-book, open notes final examination will be given covering topics as illuminated by the class discussions, games, and exercises. Open-book, open-notes means only the materials distributed in connection with this course, your class notes, and any other materials created substantially on your own (including any outline prepared by a group of which you were a participating member). The exam will be a combination of fill-ins and multiple-choice questions. The exam may be taken individually or in groups of up to five and will be administered during finals week as assigned by the school. The exam is pass/fail.
Guidelines for Group Projects
Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.
Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole: its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.
It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.
You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.
Grading Criteria and Weighting:
Grading will be based on the following factors:
Attendance and Participation (25%)
Merit of the Project (75%)
Final Examination (0%)
The passing of the examination is required to pass the course. Points will be deducted from your final course grade for absences that are not excused in advance of class (see class participation described above).
I do not curve grades in this class. The chips fall where they may; in theory, there could be all As or none.
The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.
If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.
In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior. Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom.
Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission.
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you. Please complete them thoughtfully.
Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:
The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:
Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505
To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin. Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications. Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.
Your class may be recorded for educational purposes
If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend. If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.