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Fall 2024 Course

Commercial Law: Secured Transactions

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: In Class

This course explores the law surrounding secured transactions, a type of loan used by individuals, businesses of all sizes, non-profits, and sometimes even government units. A secured transaction gives the lender special rights in identified assets of the debtor, whether something tangible like a car or intangible such as intellectual property or rights to payment. If executed correctly, a secured creditor gets to exercise remedies without any court or public intervention and gets priority in recovery over workers, injured people, or others to whom the debtor owes legal obligations. Some lenders use secured transactions to control a debtor’s business and financial decisions, especially for debtors sliding into financial distress. If a secured transaction is executed incorrectly, a lender may end up recovering only pennies on the dollar (with a malpractice action against lawyers soon to follow).

The main source of law for the course is Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, one of the most successful uniform law projects in American history and enacted in all states. To get a complete picture, the course also touches on non-uniform real estate foreclosure law and the impact of a federal bankruptcy case on the rights of secured creditors.

Class format: most days we will use assigned problems as the focal point for class discussions.