139 students enroll in certificate programs
--By Sheila Grady
Beginning this semester, students have the opportunity to add a little more business savvy to their legal repertoire.
USC Law has formally launched its certificate programs in both business and entertainment law. While the two programs intend to educate students about the skills necessary for their prospective careers, each are individually tailored to create comprehensive awareness about specific industry practices.
Although only a few weeks old, the programs already have drawn a significant number of students: 44 J.D. and 41 LL.M. students have registered for the business law certificate program while 37 J.D. and 17 LL.M. students will pursue a certificate in entertainment law.
The business law certificate program includes courses designed with practice situations meant to improve students’ abilities in deal documentation, negotiation, and planning with the ultimate goal of providing students with the tools to advise clients on the elements of business involved in the legal process.
Headed by executive director John Schulman, former executive vice president and general counsel of Warner Bros, the entertainment law program offers students the opportunity to understand the business of show business. Courses will connect legal and business concepts inherent in producing and distributing entertainment.
“The high level of interest in our new certificate programs reflects the seriousness with which many of our students are preparing for careers in entertainment law and business law,” said Dean Robert K. Rasmussen. “By drawing on both core faculty members and experienced industry practitioners, the programs will provide a deep and working knowledge of the law in these areas.”
One such student is Ian Maglady ’12, who was eager to take more courses that suited his academic interests after completing his first year of law school.
“In undergrad I studied finance and entrepreneurial management. I missed studying business,” he said. “Furthermore, my career goals, which include venture capitalism and private equity, require an understanding of the intersection of law and business.”
For Maglady, the business certificate program seemed like a logical choice. “In today's economy it is necessary to have distinguishing characteristics and skills,” he said. “USC provides those in many ways, but the certificate provides one more marketable knowledge base.”
According to Shoshana Zimmerman ’12, it was her summer employers’ concern about the abilities of newly minted lawyers that compelled her to sign up for the business certificate program.
“The one thing I heard over and over again was that students are not prepared for transactional work coming out of law school,” she said. “I decided to enroll in the business certificate program because I thought it would be a good way to focus my studies as much as possible on gaining the skills important for a practice in transactional law.”
Zimmerman is confident that a business certificate will demonstrate to future employers her commitment to her career. “I think it will give me an introduction to the practice that will be useful when I start to work,” she said. “I think it shows employers that I'm doing everything I can to prepare myself for practice.”
The programs are open to all law students and certificates will be awarded upon completion of the requirements.