LAW 234

Accounting For Lawyers

Business & Tax Law

This course introduces basic accounting principles, concepts, and terminology as well as the financial analysis skills lawyers can use to better represent their clients on a variety of issues. As a foundation course in the Business Law Specialization, this course is also intended to acquaint the student with the rudiments of many business concepts that are explored in further depth in subsequent courses in the Specialization. The course is intended for law students who have not had exposure to accounting. See “Course Enrollment Considerations” at the bottom of this posting.The course begins with an introduction to basic accounting principles and how enterprises record transactions and summarize their economic activities in financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Having established this foundation, the course will then move on to consider the accounting for, and presentation of, specific financial statement elements including receivables, inventories, fixed assets, intangible assets, liabilities and contingencies, and revenues and expenses. After providing the above background, the course will then address various techniques and conventions used to analyze financial information, and the reasons for doing so.  More advanced topics include “Non-GAAP”/”Adjusted” and “Projected”/“Forecasted” financial information, business valuation methods, various financial calculations such as break-even point analysis, return on capital, cost of debt and cost of equity. Students with no quantitative training should be able to comfortably grasp the material of this course because at most, only basic high school-level algebra is needed.This is a three-unit course that will meet for the first 9 weeks of the semester. The final exam will be administered during week 10 of the semester.Course Enrollment Considerations: The course is intended for the law student who does not have an accounting background. Permission of the instructor to enroll is required for students who have had any accounting courses. If you believe you should be allowed to enroll in Law 234 despite your prior exposure to accounting, email Professor John Power at to explain why you believe an exception to the enrollment policy should be granted in your case.  Typically, exceptions are not granted unless the prior accounting coursework was many years ago, say, more than 5 years ago.

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