Russian Teaching Program Set

After months of waiting (I cannot really say negotiating, because there was no communication coming from Belgorod State University law faculty until this month), the subject topics for my lectures finally have been approved.

The first lecture will cover (perhaps too ambitiously) the shape of American law today:  the federal system, the courts, the role of case law, the role of administrative law, and the function of federal preemption (the primacy of federal law over state or local laws which are inconsistent).  It seems to me no one can appreciate a description of how American law operates unless they have this as a starting context.

The temptation to dwell extensively on the United States Constitution has to be resisted, I think; giving a single lecture on the entire structure of American law doesn’t leave enough time to wax poetic, nor does the Constitution have much to do with the day to day operation of businesses.

Some of the other subjects are mundane nuts and bolts:  contract law, different types of business entities, business names and trademarks, and real estate ownership and leasing.

I have attempted to slant a large part of the curriculum toward establishment of an entrepreneurial business community.  There is one lecture entitled “Raising Money for Business” that discusses the non-equity financing of business.  There is a separate lecture on practicalities in the issuance of equity both on a private basis and in an IPO.

I had suggested a session which traces the history of a newly formed high technology company.  I thought that such a program might merge the theoretical with the practical, and also might have appeal, given the recent establishment (late 2010) of the so-called “Russian silicon valley.”  Actually, the Russian statute is entitled “The Law On The Innovation Center Skolkovo” and establishes a zone in which participants may only exercise research activities and emerging commercialization from that research.  Numerous Western companies are making multi-million dollar investments in this project.

Regrettably, the faculty did not seem to want to focus specifically on such a case study.  Rather, the culminating lectures will focus on how to establish “The Ideal Business Law System,” based upon my (admittedly personal) assessment as to “what is good and bad in US business laws.”  As my thoughts gel on how to structure the ideal legal system to support business, I will share my concepts, and solicit feedback, in a subsequent blog post.

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