1. No business without law
“There is virtually no business without law” stresses Professor Clifford Larsen, Dean of the Bucerius Master of Law and Business (MLB). “Business professionals who are able to understand legal concepts and incorporate legal thinking in their daily work gain a holistic view of their business. They are able to see beyond the commercial aspects of their daily work and recognize and navigate legal obstacles before they block their path. This ability makes them an asset to any employer and gives them an advantage.”
Adds Larsen’s colleague Professor Dirk Holtbrügge, Program Director Business of the MLB program: “We live in an interconnected world. This requires managers to think and act across boundaries and across borders. Business professionals need to collaborate more and more with people from other disciplines, notably engineers and lawyers. I am very pleased that modern law schools such as Bucerius are evolving to focus not just on training the world’s legal professionals, but also its future business leaders, giving them the opportunity to get a glimpse of the – sometimes very different – legal world.”
2. The times when law school was just for lawyers are over
Interdisciplinary teaching is the key to keep up with the times. Bucerius Law School has already adopted this forward-thinking approach to law, which manifests itself particularly strongly in its Master of Law and Business, a program for young professionals from various academic backgrounds.
Dean Larsen: “The idea of the MLB program is not only to learn to understand the laws that are relevant for a particular business function, but also to understand the distinct logic of the two disciplines. Interdisciplinary learning means that a subject is discussed from multiple perspectives. This way, students experience firsthand how economic and legal perspectives sometimes collide, and they learn how to resolve these tensions. Back in the professional world, these skills will lead to business professionals being able to communicate and cooperate better with lawyers, and vice versa.”
3. The benefits of legal knowledge in non-legal jobs
Future-ready business people with legal knowledge will not only be prepared to withstand what’s ahead, but to successfully lead their organizations through the changes. Interested in how young professionals can profit from legal knowledge?
Here are some examples:
Starting a business involves much more than conceptualizing a great product or service. Are you going to set up as a sole trader or a limited company? Would it be better to establish the business as a limited liability partnership? Entrepreneurs benefit immensely from understanding the legal consequences of start-up phase decisions. Legal knowledge is not only essential when you first set up your company, however, but at any stage in your company’s lifecycle, whether you are considering transforming your business into a publicly-held company or planning to expand your business across international borders.
Capital Market Analysts
Capital Market Analysts act as critical liaisons between companies and investors during the brokerage of deals. In order to provide their clients with comprehensive advice on potential benefits and risks, they need to have a solid understanding of both the financial and the legal consequences of the deals they propose and negotiate. Furthermore, all capital market transactions are overseen by regulatory bodies. This means that being able to navigate legal roadblocks is a fundamental requirement for a successful Capital Market Analyst.
An Insolvency Administrator’s responsibility is to assist a business when it finds itself in financial trouble. The main goal is to rescue the company, which obviously requires a far-reaching understanding of business management. If rescue is not possible, however, the administrator’s duty is to do right by the insolvent company’s creditors, both financially and legally. An insolvency administrator therefore also needs to have a detailed understanding of the rights of the creditors, the obligations of the debtor, and the rules regulating the process around insolvency proceedings.
Risk Management Analysts
Risk Managements Analysts typically work for insurance companies and are tasked with researching and calculating the risk of offering a policy to a new customer. But crunching the numbers to calculate a realistic premium is not enough. Including an inadmissible risk factor in the analysis, for example, may void a contract once a claim is filed and the policy is scrutinized in court. A Risk Management Analyst therefore also needs to have a thorough understanding of contract law as well as governmental policies governing insurance, in order to make sure that the proposed policy is legally sound.
Legal knowledge can benefit anyone in a management position in virtually any branch of industry. The higher you get in the hierarchy of a company or organization, the more relevant fundamental legal knowledge becomes as the individual risks increase. In the C-suite, you may be held personally responsible for the decisions you make in the name of the company. So you better be aware of both the financial and the legal consequences of your decisions.
Are you interested in learning how an interdisciplinary program which combines law and business works?