Academic journal article Southern Journal of Business and Ethics

Arbitration: Trending in the Business and Legal World, but Is It Trending in Your Business School?

Academic journal article Southern Journal of Business and Ethics

Arbitration: Trending in the Business and Legal World, but Is It Trending in Your Business School?

Article excerpt


As business law and legal environment professors, we are teaching and training tomorrow's business leaders - not (necessarily) tomorrow's lawyers.^sup1^ As such, we have a fundamental responsibility to provide our students with the knowledge and tools to most successfully manage the legal function and succeed in business.^sup2^ The basic purpose of any business law course in undergraduate business schools has been, and continues to be, to teach fundamentals of law in relation to business, as well as the legal significance of the business person's actions while transacting business.^sup3^

Because the business world enlarges and becomes more diverse by the year, business school faculty must be "realistic with respect to preparing a classroom of students who will face different legal challenges based on their career choices."^sup4^ Although recognition of conflict is necessary for any student of business, so too is the ability to resolve conflict and seek avenues for resolution.^sup5^ Business school students must be trained to spot legal concerns, avoid legal problems, and recognize the appropriate time to contact legal counsel.^sup6^ Great value can be added to classes by including or enhancing topics that will educate students on the best practices to prevent, shift, and resolve disputes.^sup7^

Because we are lawyers who tend to appreciate the minute details of legal procedure as well as the law, we must continually examine our perspective to ensure that we are offering our students up-to-date, practical legal information crucial to any business practitioner instead of complex legal theories best saved for the law school student. In sum, the business law course should "teach the legal tools that every businessman, particularly business managers, must know in order to engage in business safely, soundly, and within the rules of law that bind him and every other businessman."^sup8^


Over the past half-century, many undergraduate business schools have reduced the business law course requirement from two courses to one.^sup9^ In 2011, a study performed by Carol Miller and Susan Crain found that 87% of undergraduate business students will receive only three credit hours of required legal instruction.^sup10^ In other words, the introductory legal course will be the one and only required legal course for those students.^sup11^ Because teachers of business law, in most instances, have one shot to educate students on the varied ways the law can and will affect them, and "because society has imposed constructive notice of that law," ^sup12^ the most must be made of this single opportunity. Accordingly, instructors must effectively and efficiently make certain that the student has general exposure to all necessary business law topics. Business school law classes should help students become knowledgeable and critical consumers of legal services.^sup13^ Review of current legal trends faced by business, outside of the business law textbook, is not only important, but it is also imperative. Without such review, how can business law teachers stay abreast of trends in business jurisprudence?


In 1984, Chief Justice Burger reminded society that we should look for options other than litigation:

The entire legal profession, lawyers, judges, law teachers...has become so mesmerized with the stimulation of the courtroom contest that we tend to forget that we ought to be 'healers of conflict.' For many claims, trial by adversarial contest must go the way of the ancient trial by battle and blood. Our system is too costly, too lengthy, too destructive, and too inefficient for a civilized people.^sup14^

Although the legal industry continues to grow vigorously, the resolution of matters by trials has, as intimated by Chief Justice Burger, undergone a sharp decline. A study performed by Mark Galanter showed that the percentage of federal civil cases resolved by trial fell from 11. …

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