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Course Information

Political and Legal Environment of Business Seminar

For many businesses, non-market forces are as significant as market factors: the interaction between government institutions, elected officials, policy-oriented activists and NGOs shape the legal environment for firms in ways that have direct implications for their bottom line. Lawyers are frequently involved in developing and implementing strategies in the non-market environment to advocate and realize the interests their clients. This class introduces a set of analytic tools that rest upon a foundation of economic principles, political analysis, social psychology and risk management to help students identify patterns of behavior and outcomes in the non-market environment, methods of analysis that facilitate understanding and prediction, and, ultimately, the shaping of strategies to improve the non-market environment for clients. The course is organized through a series of case studies that identifies the ways in which firms are subjected to, and need to respond to, non-market forces and institutions including the media, activist campaigns, regulatory action and threats, and the legislative arena. In exploring these topics students will be required to prepare a series of short assignments that provide policy and legal guidance for firms that are engaged in these situations, complete an in-class midterm that tests students on their understanding of fundamental concepts in non-market analysis, and complete a substantial group project in which students identify an important non-market issue being faced by a Nashville-area business or non-governmental organization, and use the frameworks and lessons learned in class to offer advice and recommendations for how best to achieve their goals while paying appropriate attention to the relevant non-market considerations. Limited Enrollment.