Business Strategy for Lawyers

Business Strategy for Lawyers

Professor Kathryn Spier
Spring 2014 course
M, T 8:40am - 10:10am in WCC Room 1015
3 classroom credits

This course presents the fundamentals of business strategy to a legal audience. The class sessions include both traditional lectures and business-school case discussions. The lecture topics and analytical frameworks are drawn from MBA curriculums at leading business schools. The cases are selected for both their business strategy content and their legal interest.

The main course material is divided into four parts. The first part presents the basic frameworks for the analysis of strategy. The topics include economic and game theoretic approaches to strategy, competitive advantage and industry analysis. The second part is concerned with organizational and contractual responses to agency problems. Topics include pay-for-performance, corporate control, and the design of partnerships and other business associations. The third part takes a broader view of business associations, considering the horizontal and vertical scope of the firm and the advantages of hybrid organizational forms such as franchising and joint ventures. The fourth part covers special topics in competitive strategy, including product differentiation, tacit collusion, facilitating practices, network externalities, market foreclosure, and innovation.

This course is well-suited for students interested in economic analysis of the law with a strong business and industry focus. Because of the significant overlap with the MBA curriculum, this class is not appropriate for students in the JD-MBA program. Since the lectures and assignments focus on abstract frameworks and theoretic approaches, a basic familiarity with economic reasoning and algebra is assumed.

Requirements include several analytical assignments, frequent in-class evaluations, and a final exam.

Some exposure to microeconomics or a related discipline (e.g., Analytical Methods, Law & Economics, an undergraduate class in economics, finance, engineering, etc.). Familiarity with algebra is assumed. Students who are unsure should contact the professor.

Subject Areas: Business Organization, Commercial Law, and Finance, Procedure & Practice, Disciplinary Perspectives & Law