Curriculum

Analytical Methods

Lawyers face non-legal, analytical issues every day. Business lawyers need to understand a business in order to represent their client properly. Litigators need to judge the best route in adopting a litigation strategy. Family lawyers routinely need to value a business. Environmental lawyers need to understand economic externalities. Social lawyers need familiarity with financial instruments that have positive and negative attributes. In these and many other situations, lawyers tend to learn on the job, and even then the pressures of the moment often means that they learn just enough to move on to the next problem. This course is designed to help all lawyers develop a more systematic way of thinking about their work. Students taking this course will find it foundational in running a business, advising a business, or litigating business matters that go beyond the strict letter of the law. In this sense, this is not your standard doctrinal law school course. Rather, it is designed to give students the tools necessary to interact with the business community and run a company or firm. While there is no prerequisite for this course, students should be comfortable with numbers and graphs. A high school level of mathematics is required and students should be ready to use algebra, fractions, exponents, and the like. There will be no calculus.

The areas of focus include:
1. Accounting. This section, covering basic accounting, is essential to understanding your clients, evaluating deals, and running a law firm.
2. Finance. Beginning with the foundations of financial theory, this part of the course will cover key concepts in corporate finance and asset valuation.
3. Microeconomics. In order to resolve disputes, facilitate commerce, and better cross-examine witnesses in complex litigation, a good understanding of the basics of microeconomics is important. This part of the course will cover these ideas.
4. Statistical Analysis. Statistics play an important role for lawyers in many ways. They drive many governmental regulations; they help determine damages in cases; they help triers of fact determine the likelihood of an event. In this part of the course, we will examine how lawyers can use statistics in a variety of situations.

The course grade will be made up of class participation, (roughly) weekly problem sets, case analyses, and a final examination. Some of this work will be completed in teams.


Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.

View Past Sections >