As part of a continuing series on Fall 2015 semester courses that relate to innovation and business law, this post spotlights Business Associations

Business Associations (BA) is one of a handful of elective courses the law school offers every semester, a signal of the material’s foundational importance. BA is a prerequisite for courses like Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, and Securities Regulation. Professor Joe Yockey typically teaches the course in the fall semester, while Professor Sheldon Kurtz teaches it in the spring semester.

“There are times when we have to get into the weeds, but, in general, I teach it from a high-level perspective, balancing what the law is and the underlying policy rationale for the law,” said Yockey. “The law of business associations exists to facilitate business. So, if you understand what businesspeople are trying to do and why, it often makes it easier to argue how the law should apply or adapt in new situations. My goal is to train and prepare students for everything they’ll encounter. But even more so, I want to prepare them for things that have never been encountered yet.”

Still, students do not need any business background to be successful in the course. “Most of the students haven’t study business before coming to law school,” Yockey continued. “I like the challenge of teaching this course to students who have no business background because that’s how I was as law student.” Yockey majored in English and art history and came to law school intending to become a criminal prosecutor. “I like showing students how far reaching business associations law is,” he added. “It comes up in nearly every course or type of practice.” 

“I really enjoy Professor Yockey’s teaching style,” said Hannah Posen, a 2L who took the course last fall, “He uses examples and frames them in terms that I understand, as someone who doesn't have a background in business. I enjoy his pop culture references and his jokes make it easy to pay attention in class.”

Over time, the structure of Yockey’s course has evolved. “I still use the Socratic method, but now I inject it with many more collaborative, hands-on exercises. I’ve basically tried to make it more reflective of the issues and situations I encountered in practice,” explained Yockey, who worked as corporate and securities litigator at a Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago before becoming a professor. Yockey’s focus on the Delaware General Corporation Law during the unit on corporations also reflects his work experience at Sidley Austin. 

--Jay Stirling | April 2, 2015

Course Description

Studies the structure and characteristics of the modern business corporation, including both the large, publicly held corporation and the closely held corporation. Particular attention is directed to the distribution of powers among management, directors, and shareholders; the fiduciary duties which limit these powers; and the enforcement of such duties by shareholder suits. If offered, the four-credit course will cover these topics as well as a few additional general corporations topics. The course may also cover the basic principles of agency, partnership, and limited partnership law. This course may be available as a first year spring elective.

Schedule Information

Thursday, Friday | 10:50 am – 12:20 pm