Students Required to Learn Business Fundamentals at Boston University School of Law

Online course will promote business literacy, reinforce key legal concepts, and better prepare JD students to advise future clients

Boston University School of Law will now require all JD students to complete a foundational course in business literacy, Introduction to Business Fundamentals, beginning with the Class of 2017. The course offers instruction in business, financial accounting, corporate finance and related concepts, while the format—an asynchronous, online series of one-hour modules—allows students to approach each concept at an individual pace, based on their familiarity with the topic.

The course responds to a need identified by BU Law administrators, faculty, and alumni for today’s law students to be more competent in basic financial and management principles in order to more effectively counsel clients in all aspects of their business. Building on key concepts learned throughout the JD curriculum, Introduction to Business Fundamentals will increase students’ fluency in the common language of business and offer instruction in specific subjects—from capital markets to balance sheets—to give them a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing their future clients.

“It is crucial that we are training our students to be effective lawyers, and today’s lawyers need to be business-savvy,” says Dean Maureen A. O’Rourke. “With the completion of this course, our graduates will have a critical understanding of the environment in which their clients operate, and thus will be better equipped to offer constructive legal advice.”

Leveraging the award-winning platform from Boston University’s Office of Distance Education, each module will cover a specific subject, with content developed by BU Law faculty and staff. The material is supplemented by video lectures, embedded questions in the text, and recommended readings for additional background information to ensure students’ thorough comprehension of each topic.

A pre-course test in multiple-choice format ensures that students who score sufficiently high may opt-out of the subject. Quizzes at the end of each module are included as a form of self-assessment, identifying missed questions. In addition, students must pass a post-course assessment, also offered in a multiple-choice format, in order to complete the course requirements.

“We designed the course in an online, modular format to provide students with optimal flexibility”, says Ian C. Pilarczyk, director of BU Law’s Executive LLM Program and course manager. “The quizzes assist students in identifying which materials, if any, they need to review further before taking the post-course test, while the subjects themselves are delivered in a user-friendly and accessible manner.”

As ABA requirements mandate that students cannot take online courses for credit until completing 28 hours of in-class instruction, students will complete Introduction to Business Fundamentals after the conclusion of their first year.

For more information about Introduction to Business Fundamentals, please contact Ian Pilarczyk (ipilar@bu.edu).