University of Wisconsin–Madison

953 SP Bus. Orgs.: Advising Private Business Owners - §001, Fall 2014

Categories: Business, Corporate, Commercial Law Law Practice Skills

Instructor(s) Gehl, Michael

The course focuses on the role of the lawyer as an advisor to closely held businesses and their owners. Numerous case studies are used to expose the student to a broad range of structural planning issues and the practical and analytical challenges of the planning process. There is a heavy emphasis on planning traps and creative planning strategies. Different types of closely held businesses are analyzed, compared and contrasted in case studies that raise important issues in co-ownership planning, enterprise funding, owner compensation, structuring profit and capital interests, profit distribution planning, exit and business transition planning, key executive planning and employee relations and benefits. Numerous drafting considerations and implementation mechanics also are reviewed. The course is designed to broaden the student’s substantive knowledge on a broad range of issues and to help the student develop three essential planning skills: (1) the ability to identify and address business objectives, not just legal issues; (2) the ability to evaluate and apply specific strategic options; and (3) the ability to effectively communicate with non-lawyers. Prerequisites: Business Organizations I and Taxation I (or equivalent undergraduate or graduate level basic income tax course). Also, for students who have not had Tax I, required summer reading in Tax topics may be substituted: contact Jane Heymann at for list of required reading.

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