MSU College of Law

Course Descriptions

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Accounting for Lawyers (2)
502
Concentration(s):Corporate Law
(Formerly DCL 508)
Accounting for Lawyers covers the basic topics in accounting that are relevant to a business lawyer's practice and to other practice areas as well. The class covers principles of double-entry bookkeeping and accrual accounting, GAAP and GAAS. The basic financial statements are studied and basic financial statement analysis is reviewed. More detailed analysis is made of revenue recognition and expense, contingencies and intangibles. Finally, drafting of legal documents using accounting concepts is explored. This course is designed for those students with little or no prior accounting training or experience.
Prerequisite(s):

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Administrative Law (3)
532
Concentration(s):Env., Health, Intell Prop
Formerly DCL 300)
This course examines the place of administrative agencies in American government, and surveys the legal rules and principles governing agency regulation, adjudication, investigation, and enforcement; agency structure; and judicial review of agency action.
Prerequisite(s):

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Administrative Law: Food Safety and Labeling (2)
810K
Concentration(s):
Administrative law is the body of constitutional, statutory, and common law principles that both constrain and seek to legitimize the exercise of powers by governmental agencies. The history of food safety and labeling regulations in the United States begins in the late 1800s and continues through present day, culminating recently in the 2011 enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which creates a new system of federal oversight of domestically produced and imported food products. This course introduces students to the essential elements of administrative law and follows the basic structure of an administrative law course, but diverges from the traditional study by using cases and problems that are specific to food safety and food labeling issues in the United States. The primary goal of the class is to provide students with knowledge of the fundamental administrative law principles applied in matters involving the regulation of food and food products, and the ability to apply these principles to problems similar to those encountered in actual practice. To the extent possible, this class will be taught from a practice-oriented approach, requiring students to engage in problem-solving exercises online.
Prerequisite(s):

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Admiralty Law (3)
547
Concentration(s):Int'l & Comparative Law
(Formerly DCL 305)
This course will provide an overview of Admiralty law and jurisdiction, with special emphasis on issues related to maritime personal injury, collision, carriage of goods by sea and the creation and enforcement of maritime liens. Attention will be given to maritime practice and procedure, focusing on such issues as removal to federal court, right to jury trial, vessel seizure and attachment, and the perfection of in rem jurisdiction.
Prerequisite(s):

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Advanced Civil Procedure (2)
530T
Concentration(s):
The course (a) augments the fundamentals of civil procedures taught in the Civil Procedure I class, covering recent legislation and Supreme Court jurisprudence involving subject matter and personal jurisdiction over domestic as well as international disputes and defendants; (b) explains procedures for discovery practice under the newly-amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including the scope of discovery, discovery plans, and sanctions for failure to preserve electronic records; (c) reviews in greater depth the use of discovery methods, domestically and internationally; (d) describes the new judicial management requirements in federal courts under the new Rules (service of process, court scheduling orders) (e) examines choice of forum and choice of law, as well as conflict of laws (important for transactional lawyers as well as for litigators); (h) explains class action and multi-district litigation practice; and (e) discusses how to enforce judgments, domestically as well as against international defendants with overseas assets.
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Advanced Corporate Law (2)
508D
Concentration(s):
(Formerly Corporate Law and Policy Seminar)
This advanced seminar in corporate law will cover one or more practice areas of contemporary importance. Past or planned topics include private equity, corporate speech and political activity, and investor conflicts. The course will attempt a thorough treatment of relevant positive law, and address positive and normative issues of corporate regulation by courts and policy makers. Students will also be expected to engage with the economic, financial and business issues which every successful corporate practitioner should understand. The materials will consist of cases, statutes, scholarly articles, policy proposals and other readings. There are no formal prerequisites, but students are strongly advised to have taken a course in corporate law or corporate governance. The seminar may quickly dive into concepts that will be difficult to understand without some familiarity with corporate law principles.
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Advanced Legal Research (2)
586
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 509)
The course will focus on the process and goals of legal research. Special emphasis will be placed on Internet research, but instruction will be based on function rather than format. Students will learn how to find information through the Web, on Lexis and Westlaw, and in paper. By contrasting form, speed, cost and accuracy, students will learn how to integrate these sources for the most comprehensive and economical research product. Equal emphasis will be placed on conceptual structure and practical application.

Prerequisite(s): Advocacy, Research, Writing and Advocacy I, Research, Writing and Advocacy II, Research, Writing & Analysis

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Advanced Mediation (2)
587G
Concentration(s):
An intensive skills-based course preparing students to compete in mediation competitions. Students will be selected based on the basis of their skills, their potential to be excellent teammates, to work hard, and to represent Michigan State University College of Law. This course allows students to develop their mediation and representation skills in an intensive, skills-based format. Preparing for a regional mediation competition, students will develop skills in the areas of problem analysis, mediation preparation, communications skills and strategies, and reflection and improvement. Through competition, students experience what it is to be a professional, competent, and ethical mediation advocate and third-party neutral. If successful, students may advance to compete at an international mediation competition. In addition to participation in the regional competition, the course will provide skills building opportunity through mediation simulations.
Prerequisite(s): Mediation Advocacy and Domestic Relations Mediator Training or Mediation Advocacy and Civil Facilitative Mediator Training

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Advanced Patent Law (2)
533A
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 430)
This seminar course analyzes advanced patent practice including litigation, prosecution before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, opinion preparation and recently developing topics. A research paper is required. No technical degree is necessary.
Prerequisite(s): Prerequisite(s): Patent Law or Instructor’s Approval

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Advanced Studies in Health Care Law (2)
558T
Concentration(s):
This course offers opportunity for student-directed study and writing about health care legal systems and issues. It requires individualized research and writing, as well as selection of class readings, class presentations and leadership of discussions among colleagues in the class. Virtually any legal topic relevant to human health care in the United States is open for the students’ investigation. The course is geared towards those who have had some prior study in the field.
Prerequisite(s): Health Care Laws 558C, or Health Care Fraud and Abuse 558J, or Medical-Legal Problems 558F, or Health Care Organizations, Reimbursement and Regulation, 558U. The professor may approve enrollment of students who have not completed a prerequisite course.

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Advanced Topics in Indian Law (2)
635A
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 563)
Provides an opportunity for in-depth discussion and examination of current legal issues of federal and tribal law in Indian country including tribal gaming and economic development, tribal policy and governance, treaty rights, international indigenous peoples, and other contemporary topics.
Prerequisite(s): Federal Law and Indian Tribes

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Advertising Law-Food Focus (3)

Concentration(s):
This course covers the regulation of advertising consumer products in the United States with a focus on the advertising of food products. Topics may include the general rules governing advertising, the various types of claims, including claims associated with food and FDA regulated claims, understanding claims vs. puffery, comparative advertising, evaluating the required substantiation required to support various types of claims, environmental marketing claims (“green” claims), the use of endorsements and testimonials, issues in advertising in social media, the right of publicity (use of one’s name and likeness in advertising activities), the regulation of consumer contests and sweepstakes, intellectual property issues in advertising, and some miscellaneous topics such as ambush marketing and native advertising.
Prerequisite(s): This course intended for students in the Global Food Law program

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Advocacy (2)
530J
Concentration(s):
(Formerly LAW500K) Students learn the art of persuasive argumentation by drafting a 30-page appellate brief on a topical legal issue, complying with appellate court rules and then presenting a simulated oral argument to members of the bench. During the semester, students also attend appellate arguments or trial court motion sessions and prepare brief synopses of cases heard. Prerequisite: Research, Writing and Analysis, OR Research, Writing and Analysis: Intellectual Property Perspective, OR Research, Writing and Advocacy I, OR Research, Writing and Advocacy I: Intellectual Property Perspective.
Prerequisite(s): Research, Writing and Advocacy I, Research, Writing & Analysis

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Agricultural Law (2)
566N
Concentration(s):
Students will learn about the regulatory framework of the food and agriculture sector at the federal, state, and local levels and how the application of this framework impacts all citizens. This includes the production, processing, and distribution of food, fiber, and other products that make up a large portion of the economies of the nation and the State of Michigan. Students will learn about the origins and impacts of these regulatory components and how evolving trends and public opinion are changing the food and agriculture sector
Prerequisite(s):

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Agriculture Special Topics: Pesticides, Fertilizer, and Conservation (2)
566R
Concentration(s):
Students will learn about the regulatory framework related to two of the major inputs used by the agriculture industry – pesticides and fertilizers. We will look at the federal and state regulations covering the manufacturing, storage, and use of these products, safety issues, and conservation practices designed to minimize their impact to the environment. We will also look at enforcement issues and litigation involving pesticides and fertilizers. No Prerequisites
Prerequisite(s):

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American Constitutional Law for LL.M. (3)
806A
Concentration(s):
This course is for LL.M. students only. The course is designed to acquaint students with the fundamentals of the United States Constitution by surveying the Constitution’s approach to governmental structure and individual rights. Major topics include Federalism, Separation of Powers, Due Process, Equal Protection, and Freedom of Speech. Students who have taken Constitutional Law I or II are not eligible to enroll in this course.
Prerequisite(s):

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American Indian Children & the Law (2)

Concentration(s):
(This course replaced Advanced Topics in Indian Law: Indian Child Welfare Act) A focus on American Indian children and the law, including the implementation, interpretation and understanding of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and other state ICWA laws. ICWA, a federal statute interpreted almost entirely in state courts, applies to all terminations of parental rights if the child involved is an Indian child under the law's definition. Attorneys and social workers need to know when ICWA applies and how the application of ICWA makes for a fundamentally different family law case. In addition, this course will cover tribal law and children, and the role of international law and the rights of American Indian children.
Prerequisite(s):

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American Legal History Seminar (3)
636
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 552)
This seminar will analyze the tension between the rights of the individual and the role of government in society as the central theme in the development of the American legal system. Rather than a strict chronological review, the course will consist of a series of studies of the development of legal and political institutions and their effect on the citizenry. Classes will be discussion-based and will rely on extensive reading of original sources. Students should gain an understanding of how the evolution of legal rules reflects institutional change, and should learn to see law as a dynamic process rather than a collection of static concepts.
Fulfills ULWR
Prerequisite(s): Constitutional Law I

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Analytical Methods for Lawyers-Corporate Finance (1)
637C
Concentration(s):
Condensed principles of corporate finance to serve as a primer that provides law students the tools necessary to succeed as 'lawyers' in the various legal fields that use these principles.
Prerequisite(s):

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Analytical Methods for Lawyers-Game Theory (1)
637D
Concentration(s):
(NEW course as of Spring 2006)
Condensed principles of game theory to serve as a primer that provides law students the tools necessary to succeed as 'lawyers' in the various legal fields that use these principles.

Prerequisite(s):

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Analytical Methods for Lawyers-Microeconomics (1)
509A
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 607A)
Condensed principles of microeconomics to serves as a primer that provides law students the tools necessary to succeed as 'lawyers' in the various fields that use these principles.
Prerequisite(s): Students who have taken Law and Economics (515) may not take this course.

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Analytical Methods for Lawyers-Statistics (1)
509B
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 607B)
Condensed principles of statistics to serve as a primer that provides law students the tools necessary to succeed as 'lawyers' in the various legal fields that use these principles.
Prerequisite(s): Students who have taken Quantitative Analysis for Lawyers (637E) may not take this course.

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Animal Health, World Trade, and Food Safety (3)
810E
Concentration(s):
The objective of this online course is to familiarize students with the history, development and workings of the OIE, with particular emphasis on its role as the organization responsible for setting international standards for animal health and zoonoses, and attention to its new mandates for animal welfare and food safety.


Prerequisite(s): This course is restricted to students in the Global Food Law Program.

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Animal Law (3)
565A
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 501)
A survey of animal legal issues including property status, zoning and criminal anti-cruelty laws. Additionally, legal policy issues will be discussed, such as what to do with dangerous dogs, and what level of animal welfare should be provided to agricultural animals. The distinction between animal welfare and animal rights will be considered.
Prerequisite(s):

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Antitrust Law (2)
504
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 310)This course will explore the role of antitrust law and analysis of restraints of trade and competition in various markets. Beginning with an analysis of the goals of antitrust law, and their operation in society, the requirements of antitrust claims will be explored through historical and current examples. Highlights will include problems in market power, monopoly, price fixing, tying, bundling, and special problems with patents. The course will include discussion of recent issues in antitrust law.
Prerequisite(s):

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Appellate Competition (2)
627Q
Concentration(s):
This is a performance and presentation-based course that serves as the intensive training component for the law school’s Appellate Competition Team. The course covers the mechanics of appellate practice with a focus on preparation for interscholastic or bar association advocacy competitions. Topics in the course include development of case theory, effective advocacy skills, and appropriate professional conduct. Students must complete at least 24 credits to be eligible for invitation to participate.
Prerequisite(s): Research, Writing and Analysis, and Advocacy
Permission Only


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Applied Evidence (2)
590A
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 453)
One of the biggest observed deficiencies of many trial attorneys is their lack of understanding of how to use the rules of evidence. This course is an intensive exploration of evidentiary principles as they are played out in the context of a trial. This course gives the student experience at both making and arguing objections. It will benefit any student intending to be a litigator.
Because this course duplicates the content of courses in the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute program, students in the FTPI may not receive academic credit for this course.

Prerequisite(s): Evidence

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Arbitration (Labor) (2)
505B
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 315)
STUDENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ADR IN THE WORKPLACE ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO ENROLL IN THIS COURSE. The study of current thinking of arbitrators interpreting collective bargaining agreements including techniques of opinion writing and advocacy before labor arbitrators. The course focuses on collective bargaining agreements, whether an issue is subject to arbitration, timelines for filing an arbitration, the burden of proof, quantum of proof, the concept of discipline and just cause, as well as contract interpretation. Students will participate in mock trials and will be responsible for drafting an arbitration opinion as a class assignment.
Prerequisite(s):

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Arbitration Advocacy (0)
505G
Concentration(s):
Students will be exposed to the following topics: mandatory versus voluntary arbitration, including persuading opposing counsel to participate, preliminary pre-arbitration considerations (stages of the arbitration process: initiation, preparation, pre-hearing, hearing, decision-making, and award), selecting cases for arbitration, attorney ethics, considering site inspection and audiovisual aids, selecting expert witness, arbitrator ethics, pre-hearing advocacy (preparing the arbitration demand, drafting motions and responses, drafting position statements), the preliminary hearing (arbitrability issues, joinder of parties, witness lists, hearing exhibits, order of evidence, sequestration of witnesses, burdens of proof, subpoenas, nature and form of award), preparing for the arbitration hearing (designing a persuasive "trial story," preparing the client, and preparing witnesses/exhibits), advocacy during the arbitration hearing (procedural rules, opening statements, presentation of facts, comments on opposition's case, summary and request for relief, evidentiary rules, direct examination, cross-examination, impeachment, expert testimony, evidentiary foundations, and persuasive use of exhibits), post-hearing advocacy (drafting post-hearing briefs, motions to re-open proceedings, enforcing the award, and challenging the award).

The primary objectives of the course are to better understand the nature and practice of commercial arbitration; and to develop advocacy skills by providing "hands-on" training in commercial arbitration.

This course is restricted to students selected for the ABA Commercial Arbitration Competition.

Prerequisite(s):

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Arbitration Competition (2)
627P
Concentration(s):
This is a performance and presentation-based course that serves as the intensive training component for the law school’s Arbitration Competition Team. The course covers the mechanics of arbitration with a focus on preparation for interscholastic or bar association advocacy competitions. Topics in the course include development of case theory, effective advocacy skills, and appropriate professional conduct. Students must complete at least 24 credits to be eligible for invitation to participate.
Prerequisite(s): Research, Writing and Analysis, Advocacy, and Trial Practice Institute: Trial Practicum Permission Only

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Assisted Reproductive Technologies Seminar (2)
558N
Concentration(s):
This seminar will examine the legal, medical, and ethical issues surrounding assisted reproductive technologies.
Prerequisite(s):

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Bankruptcy (3)
506A
Concentration(s):
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of bankruptcy law, the bankruptcy code, and the creditor/debtor relationship.
Prerequisite(s):

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Basic Income Taxation (2)
501K
Concentration(s):
This survey course introduces the basic concepts of federal income taxation and is ideal for students interested in learning basic information about tax law but who are not yet certain if they want to specialize in tax or business fields. Students will get practice in the skills of statutory construction and applying a broad range of legal authorities to clients’ concrete problems, skills which are valuable for all law students regardless of whether they ultimately specialize in tax. In this course, students will be exposed to tax issues that affect individuals, including sole proprietorships, and will gain an understanding of various forms of income, exclusions from income, capital gains and losses, various deductions, and other topics. The course uses a modified Socratic approach with an emphasis on problem solving that will allow students to develop facility in analyzing cases, statutes, and administrative materials. Sample examination questions are provided to allow a student to determine how well he or she learned and retained the material. The grade in the course is based on a final examination with consideration given to class participation. Students who enroll in Basic Income Taxation for 2 credits are ineligible to enroll in Basic Income Taxation for 3 credits.
Prerequisite(s):

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Basic Income Taxation A (2)
501A
Concentration(s):Tax
(Formerly DCL 249)
A survey course introducing the basic concepts of federal income taxation. Students will gain an understanding of the concepts of gross income, exclusions from income, capital gains and losses, and deductions. Students will also be exposed to tax issues that often arise for clients in the general practice of law. Topics likely to be covered include tax consequences: upon the sale of a residence; upon divorce; and in personal injury cases. Students will develop facility in analyzing both cases and statutes.
Prerequisite(s): NOTE: Students that enroll in Basic Income Taxation A are ineligible to enroll in Basic Income Taxation or Basic Income Taxation B.

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Basic Income Taxation B (4)
501B
Concentration(s):Tax
(Formerly DCL 250)
Like Basic Income Taxation A, this course introduces the basic concepts of federal income taxation. Basic Income Taxation B, however, goes beyond a survey course by a rigorous examination of technical tax issues, including a focus on solving complex tax problems. This course is ideal for students interested in pursuing legal practice in the tax or business fields. Students will be exposed to the same topics covered in Basic Income Taxation A, but will also study additional topics. Topics likely to be covered include: business and profit-seeking expenditures, capital expenditures, depreciation, the home-office deduction, tax planning for divorce, non-recourse debt, including issues relating to basis and amount realized, and anti-tax abuse provisions limiting tax shelters, including at-risk rules and active participation requirements. In resolving problems, students will have ample opportunity to develop facility in interpreting complex statutes and in applying law from various additional sources. Moreover, the themes studied will allow students to understand that tax legislation is a dynamic process in which the law evolves as a result of taxpayers devising new strategies and from policymakers' responses.
Prerequisite(s): Students that enroll in Basic Income Taxation B are ineligible to enroll in Basic Income Taxation or Basic Income Taxation A.

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Basic Will Drafting (3)
540A
Concentration(s):
(Formerly DCL 391)
This course is designed to familiarize students with the interviewing function and the drafting of wills and other basic estate planning vehicles for clients whose estates are not subject to federal estate tax. An evaluation of usable forms and discussion of when and how to use them intelligently will be a focus of the course. A client interview and drafting exercises, including an entire basic estate plan, are contemplated.
Prerequisite(s): Decedents' Estates and Trusts

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Biotechnology Law and Food Products (3)
810P
Concentration(s):
This course explores the impact of biotechnology on food production and food safety. After an introduction to biotechnology and the breadth of biotechnology-created foods available, the class will focus on the regulation of food safety and its environmental impact, both in the U.S. and internationally. Students will discuss the impact of public perception on the biotechnology agriculture and transgenic animals industries. No scientific or other class pre-requisites are required.
Prerequisite(s): This course is restricted to students in the Global Food Law Program.

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Biotechnology Law Seminar (2)
558S
Concentration(s):
This seminar will examine some of the many ways that biotechnology impacts the law as well as the ways that the law has impacted the growth of biotechnology. Current biotechnology innovations or controversies will be used to explore the impacts of this technology on a selection of legal topics which may include intellectual property, business, federal regulations, property, criminal law, indigenous law, evidence, bioethics and international law. No science background is required for the course.
Prerequisite(s):

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Business Enterprises (3)
500M
Concentration(s):
This course deals with issues relating to common forms of business organization, including corporations, limited liability companies and closely held corporations. The four credit version of Business Enterprises also includes an introduction to mergers and acquisitions.
Prerequisite(s):

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Business, Securities and Tax Planning (2)
507
Concentration(s):Tax
(Formerly DCL 440)
The course will deal with problems of corporations and, to a lesser extent, partnerships in the areas of organization, allocation of control, issuance of securities, use of debt and equity financing, dividends, acquisitions and sales of businesses, liquidation and dissolution, and mergers. Some drafting and legal research will be involved. The course will be taught both by lecture and through student participation.

EITHER Basic Income Tax A or Basic Income Tax B AND Business Enterprises fulflls the prerequisite.
Prerequisite(s): Basic Income Taxation A, Basic Income Taxation B, Business Enterprises

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[A-B, C-D, E-F, G-H, I-J, K-L, M-N, O-P, Q-R, S-T, U-V, W-X, Y-Z]
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