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Business Law Certificate

Earning a certificate in Business Law in addition to your JD degree helps you acquire the diverse legal, business and negotiating skills required to succeed in business law practice. It also offers you a credential that demonstrates your specialized training in this thriving and wide-ranging field.

You may concurrently earn multiple certificates offered by USC Gould. Some courses count toward more than one certificate. Students in the JD/MBA dual-degree are also eligible.

Certificate Requirements

To earn the certificate, you must take at least 22 units of mandatory courses, core electives and specialized electives, including:

  • 8 units from the Mandatory Courses
  • 1 course that covers the Accounting and Finance Requirement
  • 6 units from the Core Electives
  • 4 units from one or more courses listed under Specialized Electives - Transactional Skills or Legal Clinics, Externships or Publications
  • The remaining unit requirements may be satisfied from any of the courses listed below

No more than 6 units counted toward the certificate may be taken CR/D/F.

The Mandatory Courses are the foundation of any business, corporate or tax law practice. The Accounting and Finance requirement introduces basic business concepts that arise in any commercial endeavor or transaction. The Core Electives provide a foundation for achieving more specialized knowledge within selected practice areas in business, corporate and tax law. Specialized Electives consist of a mix of substantive lecture-style courses and transactional skills courses on narrower topics. You may personalize your course selections to achieve specialization within a selected field or to acquire broad knowledge of multiple fields within business law.

Courses that qualify for the Certificate include specialized electives offered through the USC Marshall School of Business that enable law students to study and engage with business students who could one day be their future clients.

Mandatory Courses

  • Business Organizations
  • Taxation

Accounting and Finance Requirement

This requirement may be satisfied by coursework (either before or during Law School) that introduces basic accounting and finance concepts. This requirement is automatically satisfied by students who: take Fundamental Business Principles or Business for Lawyers at the Law School**; take Accounting for Lawyers and Corporate Finance at the Law School**; have completed an MBA or undergraduate Business Major; or who are granted a waiver from the Director of the Business Law Certificate Program based on other relevant coursework or experience. *

* A waiver of this requirement does not reduce the total units required for the Certificate.

** These courses may also count toward the Core Elective unit requirement.

Core Electives (at least 6 units required)

  • Accounting for Lawyers
  • Bankruptcy: Debtors and Creditors (formerly called Bankruptcy Law)
  • Business for Lawyers
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Fundamental Business Principles
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnership Taxation
  • Securities Regulation

Specialized Electives: Substantive Law

  • Analytical Methods (formerly called Analytical Methods for Lawyers)
  • Antitrust Law
  • Commercial Paper
  • Corporate Reorganization
  • Counseling the Startup
  • Entertainment Law
  • Insurance (formerly called Insurance Law)
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Sales of Goods
  • Land-Use Controls
  • Law and Economics
  • Sales or Sales Transactions
  • Secured Transactions
  • Transactional Due Diligence
  • Venture Capital Law and Emerging Companies (formerly called Venture Capital Law and Finance)

Specialized Electives: Transactional Skills (Corporate)

  • Advanced Contracts
  • Advanced Legal Writing for International Business Lawyers
  • Advanced Secured Transactions Workshop
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Clause Drafting
  • Business Planning: Structuring and Financing the New Enterprise (LAW-627)
  • Deal Strategies In Business And Entertainment Law Deal Strategy, Structure and Negotiation (formerly called Deal Strategy, Structure and Negotiation (LAW-673)
  • Transactional Practice: The Syndicated Loan AgreementContract Drafting and Analysis OR Contract Drafting and Negotiation
  • Negotiation Skills, International Business Negotiations OR any other Law School Negotiation Course (but no more than 2 units of a negotiation course will count toward the Skills requirement)

Specialized Electives: Transactional Skills (Real Estate)

  • Real Estate Law and Business I (Transactions)
  • Real Estate Law and Business I (Finance)
  • Real Estate Transactions Problems
  • Real Estate Finance Problems

Specialized Electives: Transactional Skills (Media and Technology

  • Digital Media Transactions
  • Technology Transactions
  • Dealmaking in the Entertainment Industry (formerly called Topics in Entertainment Law: Deal Making in the Entertainment Industry)
  • Topics in Entertainment Law: Legal and Business Issues in the Digital Age

Legal Clinics, Externships or Publications

  • Small Business Clinic I
  • Small Business Clinic II
  • Corporate Practicum
  • Entertainment Law Practicum
  • Business Law Advisor
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic

Specialized Electives: USC Marshall School of Business

  • Corporate Financial Strategy
  • Corporate Financial Policy and Corporate Governance
  • Entrepreneurial Finance: Financial Management for Developing Firms
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Financial Analysis and Valuation

Not all courses are offered every year.

You may petition to waive any required or elective course if you have taken an equivalent course outside of the law school as part of your undergraduate or other graduate degree.

Ali Degolia, JD 2017

The Business Law certificate gives you a good roadmap outlining both substantive and hands-on classes. I took a mix of both. The hands-on classes gave me a great perspective on how the substantive law would apply in real-world situations.

Ali Degolia, JD 2017

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