Distinguished Practitioners in Residence Program
The Distinguished Practitioners in Residence Program offered students the opportunity to take a one-credit course taught by five distinguished practitioners as well as attend the Mentoring and More @ Moritz luncheon at which they spoke.
The first luncheon program involving one of the distinguished practitioners featured Scott Simpson. Simpson tailored his discussion on how future business transactions would be affected by the global nature of business. Christopher Trolinger, a first-year law student, remarked that the Simpson luncheon enlightened him as to the importance of maintaining cultural sensitivity.
An international lawyer, Simpson is a partner in the London office of Skadden, Arps. His practice is devoted to cross-border mergers and corporate finance issues. As a testimony to his expertise in the mergers and acquisitions area, the Daily Deal ranked him as one of the top ten transactional lawyers in Europe . During the Fall Semester, Simpson taught "An Introduction to International Mergers & Acquisitions and Strategic Investments."
E. Norman Veasey, a former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court and current partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York and Wilmington , Delaware , taught "Professional Responsibility Challenges of the Corporate Lawyer" in the Fall Semester. Veasey's extensive background in issues pertaining to complex takeovers and corporate governance made him the perfect choice to teach the course. Students enrolled in the class learned about a range of interrelated topics such as the fiduciary duties of officers, directors and corporate lawyers, ethical issues of counseling in merger and acquisition deals, lawyer-client privilege, and corporate governance settings.
R. Frank Balotti, the corporate department director for Richards, Layton & Finger in Wilmington , Delaware , has the distinction of being one of the best-known lawyers practicing in corporate takeover and governance issues in the Delaware courts. Therefore, it was not surprising that he would teach a "Litigation Takeover Cases" course. During the luncheon led by Balotti, students were able to get a broad overview of Delaware corporate law. Specifically, Allison Binkley, a first-year law student, noted that she enjoyed the discussion regarding whether Delaware should be allowed to have an advantage over other states due to its favorable corporate laws. In her opinion, such thought provoking questions encouraged law students to "think like business attorneys."
In the Winter Semester Gail Block Harris taught "An Introduction to the Issues Associated with International Joint Ventures." While Ms. Harris currently serves on the board of directors for CIGNA Life Insurance Company of New York , much of her experience derives from her twenty-one years of practice in the corporate and securities law area. Ms. Harris, former partner, and currently Of Counsel to, Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett LLP in New York City specialized her practice in both entertainment and media companies and international joint ventures. Due to Ms. Harris's vast knowledge, she was able to structure the class to discuss a variety of interrelated topics such as choice of law, governance issues, antitrust and competition considerations, dealing with foreign counsel and investment protection. Students that did not have the opportunity to take the course were given a preview of the topics discussed when they attended the luncheon led by Ms. Harris. Her discourse at the luncheon greatly focused on the vertical integration of industries such as entertainment and telecommunications. In Allison Binkley's opinion, Ms. Harris's lecture provided a variety of issues that students could discuss at a later time.
The fifth practitioner that visited Moritz this semester was Chancellor William B. Chandler, III, Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery. Most people know Chancellor Chandler because he is currently handling the Disney case concerning corporate executive pay. Kristin Blackwell, a second-year law student, was grateful to have the opportunity to enroll in his "Fiduciary Responsibilities of Corporate Board Members" course since it gave students the opportunity "to learn from one of the best when it comes to corporate law." She enjoyed the class so much that she remarked she would carry this experience with her throughout her profession. Furthermore, Krystle Myers, another second-year law student, echoed similar comments. In her estimation, the course was a success because of the individual leading the course was insightful and well-learned in the corporate law area. Chancellor Chandler continued to share his knowledge in this area at one of the luncheon programs when he discussed how the Delaware Court of Chancery shapes corporate governance principles.
From the sentiments expressed by the students it appears as if the Distinguished Practitioners in Residence Program in Business Law was an overall success. The excitement and intrigue roused by the program has created a desire for its return next year.