Why Pursue a Career in Business Law?

“Business law” is a general term often used to describe a wide range of practices, from corporate litigation to the “transactional” practice on which markets rely. While the 1L curriculum introduces you to litigation, transactional lawyering is often unfamiliar to law students. In short, instead of drafting briefs, undertaking discovery, and arguing in court like litigators, these attorneys design deals, form companies, and counsel on the legal aspects of innovation and business strategy, among other things. More time is spent in the corporate boardroom than the courtroom.


There are a variety of reasons you may find a business law practice fulfilling. Corporate lawyers often talk about how they prefer to build cooperative solutions to problems, rather than the adversarial atmosphere of litigation. Others often note the variety in their practice, which requires them to understand not only the law but also corporate strategy, operations, accounting, marketing, etc. Given the global reach of many modern markets, a business law practice is also often international in scope, giving lawyers the opportunity to encounter a wide range of clients and legal issues.


Business law is a big tent. There is no single path into entering the practice — success does not require, for instance, an MBA or undergraduate degree in finance. Some of the best corporate lawyers were liberal arts majors in college. Business law is also broad with respect to the organization of the practice: It encompasses large multinational law firms with thousands of attorneys advising clients around the globe to small offices serving the needs of particular communities. We are dedicated to helping students find the right fit for them and preparing any interested students for a lifetime of leadership in this field of law through the curriculum outlined below.

Our Faculty

Our faculty members have practiced at leading law firms in the world’s major financial centers and study the most important issues affecting the global economy. Our research is published in the leading journals of the field and featured in the financial press.


Following a long tradition at BYU, our faculty is also accessible to students. Class sizes are small, mentoring is genuine, and tenure track faculty invest significantly in our Spring Academies programs in New York, Palo Alto, Singapore, and Dallas and our Global Law Seminars in Dubai, Geneva, and London.

Build a Foundation through the Core Curriculum

Following your 1L year, you will have flexibility in selecting your courses. We encourage you to take whatever classes interest you — there are many offerings at the law school. If you’re interested in business law, it usually makes sense to take the following classes, since they provide a foundation for other business law courses: Business Organizations; Federal Income Tax; Introduction to Intellectual Property; and Corporate Finance. These courses are taught regularly each academic year.

Focus Your Expertise

The law school also offers many classes that allow you to deepen your familiarity with discrete areas of business law. These courses may be taught by the law school’s full time faculty or practitioners with particular expertise on a topic. Common classes include Antitrust, Bankruptcy and Reorganization, Compliance, Copyright, Corporate and Partnership Taxation, International Commercial Arbitration, International Business Transactions, Mergers & Acquisitions, Patents, Secured Transactions, Securities Regulation, and Technology Transactions, among many others.

Put Theory to Work: Labs and Clinics

With the conceptual and doctrinal familiarity provided by the core and supplemental business law courses offered at the Law School, discussed above, students are then prepared to put their learning to work in a series of real-world experiences.


We offer a wide range of simulation and clinical experiences at the Provo campus. These are taught by BYU faculty, particularly Prof. Curt Anderson, who has over 20 years of practice experience as General Counsel of Match Group (which includes Match.com, Tinder, the Princeton Review, and other companies) and as an M&A Partner in the Dallas office of Baker Botts.


The following courses are offered regularly, though perhaps not every year in each case, at the Law School.

Go to the Heart of the Market: Spring Academies

We also offer an innovative Spring Academies program, which holds week-long intensives on various practice areas at the offices of partnering law firms around the world. These programs immerse you in an economic ecosystem, such as the M&A market in New York City, the startup and venture capital market in the Bay Area, oil & gas in Houston, and international arbitration in Singapore. Held shortly after 1L classes conclude in April, the program is timed to give students unique experience prior to the traditional law firm interview season.

Deepen Your International Expertise: Global Law Seminars

We are currently building out our new Global Law Seminar, which operates semester-long programs in mature and developing commercial hubs such as Bengaluru, Dubai, Geneva, London, and Tokyo. Unlike international programs at many U.S. law schools, which offer study abroad opportunities, the Global Law Seminar focuses on placing participating students with partnering organizations, such as hedge funds, investment banks, and multinational law firms, for high-value add externships.

Prepare for Business Law-Related Clerkships

For decades, federal and state court judges in the United States have hired graduating students as judicial law clerks for one or two year positions. Law clerks typically draft opinions, research law, analyze briefs, attend hearings, and otherwise assist judges in their duties as jurists. Depending on the court, a judge may have only one, two, three, or four clerks, making a clerkship a much sought-after opportunity for close mentoring.


We believe that the analytical skills, professional relationships, and judgment acquired during any clerkship are valuable to our graduates, regardless of whether you go into public or private sector work, or into a litigation, transactional, or regulatory practice. Some clerkships, however, might be considered particularly tailored to a corporate litigation or transactional practice. For instance, most high profile corporate governance litigation in the United States is adjudicated in the state courts of Delaware, which is where most U.S. companies, from mature blue chip corporations to dynamic startups, are incorporated. Federal bankruptcy courts, in Delaware and elsewhere, also provide clerkship opportunities specific to a practice area highly valued by corporate clients. Intellectual property litigation tends to occur in a discrete number of federal district courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. For students interested in those specific practice areas, a clerkship at those courts may provide a useful jumpstart to a successful career.


In recent years, we have focused on preparing our students to be competitive candidates for these highly selective clerkships. Our initial efforts have centered on the business law-related courts in Delaware, where we have begun to enjoy dramatic success with respect to placements. While comparative statistics are not available, our sense is that the placement figures reported below for the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court bring us shoulder-to-shoulder with the most elite law schools in the country, which regularly send their students to these courts.

The faculty members involved in the Global Business Law Program coordinate preparation efforts with the Law School’s Clerkship Committee, and interested students should keep an eye out for the regular orientation meetings held each semester about the clerkship application process. In addition to a high level of academic performance, successful clerkship applicants also have strong letters of recommendation from faculty and well developed writing samples that present original research. Both of the letters of recommendation and a good writing sample typically require established relationships with faculty, and students are therefore encouraged to build those relationships early.