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Winter 2021 Course

Financial Analysis and Valuation

Note: This course is restricted to first-year J.D. students only.

The drop deadline for 1L January Experiential Term classes is December 4, 2020. Students may not drop a course if they do not have an offer to enroll in a different January Experiential Term course.

1L January Experiential Term courses are intensive learning courses. Class attendance is required in each course every day of the term, beginning Tuesday, January 5th. Students should plan accordingly and should not take on other work commitments during the term.

Exam Type: No Exam

Textbook: Analysis for Financial Management, by Higgins, Koski and Mitton, 12th ed. (2019 – US ed.). Specific reading assignments are listed below. Chapters not listed are not required. The book is available for purchase and rent via the HLS coop website as well as via the publisher’s website and online booksellers.

This course will provide students with an opportunity to engage in hands-on, law-related financial analysis and business valuation. Valuing a business requires several foundational skills related to accounting and finance, including an understanding of financial statements, risk and return measurement, forecasting, and discounted cash flow analysis. This course will introduce you to basic terminologies and concepts underlying these skills. No prior background in these topics is required. We will first learn to read basic financial statements; then move to an overview of basic tools of financial statement analysis and finance; then review some common techniques of business valuation; then build information from financial statements into a standard valuation model; then see how practitioners might argue for very different valuations drawing on the same basic financial information. Students will work in teams, and build their knowledge through hands-on experience using case studies of real companies.

The course is designed to be relevant to law students pursuing a variety of careers. Lawyers many areas of practice can expect to be able to use and critically analyze financial statements and business valuations, including corporate lawyers who may advise organizations and design mergers and acquisition or divestment deals, tax lawyers designing tax strategies, commercial litigators, international trade lawyers, family lawyers, constitutional lawyers, and class action lawyers. In fact, lawyers of all kinds, including prosecutors, other government lawyers, and public interest lawyers, use these skills to present and resolve disputes, and to propose, critique and defend regulation of businesses.

Students who enroll in this offering may count the credits towards the JD experiential learning requirement. The teaching strategy is designed for this purpose and focuses on hands-on classroom learning experience and in-class discussion of problems and cases. Please pre-read the assigned chapters from the textbook or other assigned readings in advance of class and plan to participate actively during class time as we work through some of the class discussion problems listed in the class schedule. To facilitate class discussion, keep your Zoom video on during class.

Grading: Grading is pass/fail. J term courses are intensive learning courses. Students must attend all sessions (subject to exceptions provided by HLS policies), submit all individual and team-based assignment, and strive to actively participate in class discussions. For team-based work, students will be assigned to teams at the beginning of the course.