Business law can mean so many things – what do we teach in our business law course?

Steve Jobs said that everyone should learn programming, and everyone should learn how to read a contract. We don’t know about the programming bit – but contract? he could not be more correct.

The diploma course in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws is based on the philosophy to make legal education accessible to anyone willing to learn business law. We believe that you can learn at any age, any place, any time – and no matter what your role is – knowing the rules of the game can add value. It is not necessary that one has to go to a college or classroom to learn something useful.

Are we teaching anything unique? What if you could learn this in college? After all, even commerce students and MBA students learn business law as part of their college degree…

That’s exactly what we heard from people when we started the course. Hold on, did you see what they teach in MBA, CA and commerce colleges in the name of business law? It’s a standard bouquet of subjects that is prescribed in university syllabi – Indian Contract Act, Sale of Goods Act, Partnership Act, and sometimes, the Income Tax Act – some explanations of the myriad sections and various cases around the interpretation of these statutes. The way law is taught at these places not only makes the subject utterly boring, but also totally useless when it comes to practical application.

Is this really useful when you start working? Did you ask an MBA grad whether any of the law subjects that he studied were useful for him when he started working? Let’s try to understand it by considering the role of a manager:

How many times is a manager required to refer to the Sale of Goods Act? Or the Indian Contract Act? While a manager deals with multiple contracts on a daily basis, he is not required to refer to the law. If parties are at dispute, going to the court is the last option they will consider. Until you go to court, you will not make complex legal arguments. When you are in court, it is the job of the arguing lawyer to handle this. What is the use of yours knowing law in that case?

Let’s consider another situation – How much time does a manager spend in dealing with vendors and customers? In negotiating contracts that he enters into daily? How many hours does he spend trying to recover money from customers?

What if you could do all this efficiently? What if you knew how to negotiate better contracts as a manager? What if you could ensure timely recovery of money from suppliers by taking a handful of steps?

Alternately, what if you could you help an entrepreneur negotiate an investment agreement? Or advise him on the operational aspects that should be included in an LLP agreement? Or the risks arising from a loan agreement?

People think this is technical stuff and should be difficult, and that only lawyers can understand it. We’ll let you in on two secrets:

  1. This is critical for any entrepreneur to know. Ironically, many law students and lawyers do not know this stuff, despite having studied or practiced law for many years.
  2. When we conducted pilot tests with our students, we realized that entrepreneurs and working professionals were as proficient with grasp of the concepts we taught, and sometimes even better than law students.

A B. Tech. graduate (who specialized in Biotechnology) recently read some of our material. She’s someone who would otherwise be spending her time in the lab or studying chemistry and biology. We were pleasantly surprised by the results – she understood even our text materials. Our belief that law can be understood and appreciated even by those who have no prior formal training in the subject was validated once again.

What exactly do we teach?

Imagine negotiating an investment agreement on an equal footing with investors.

What if you could raise foreign loans for your business? (if you didn’t already know, it will reduce your borrowing costs by 66 percent)

Imagine being able to raise donations the Ford Foundation and other organization for a social entrepreneurship venture.

Imagine having a government department or a PSU on your client list.

I think you get the point. The diploma course focuses on those aspects of business law which matter in real life – how to structure a new business, taking investment into a company, negotiating important business contracts, managing and monetizing IP (including open-source licensing), legal aspects of import-export transactions, payment gateways, cloud computing and other developments in information technology and much more. The full syllabus is accessible here.

Don’t believe how it is possible to teach all this? See for yourself by accessing sample materials on our homepage.

Learning from our course is not difficult – you can learn even if you hate reading from huge textbooks

You may consider the B. Tech student to be a freak case, but we don’t teach as though these things are meant for hardcore lawyers exclusively. We understand that not everybody is comfortable with reading extensive notes and reams of pages – some students are visual learners and hence more comfortable with diagrams and charts, while others are auditory learners, and thus prefer listening to experts speak or watching podcasts.

Therefore, our study material for the course is especially designed to facilitate learning by a variety of students – it consists of interactive videos, text based material, templates, checklists, mind-maps, drafting exercises and self-assessment tests which are contributed by faculties from different fields like lawyers from top law firms, practicing advocates, entrepreneurs, judges and bureaucrats.

Is online education really workable? Wouldn’t it be better to learn the same skills in a classroom environment (assuming it is possible)?

Many people have doubts about the usefulness of online education. Let me ask you a few questions:

Are you willing able to devote 3-4 hours every weekend on a regular basis and leave everything else you are doing to learn in a classroom?

Are you willing to travel to a faraway location (or may be another city) for a good course which is not available in your neighbourhood (or even in your city)? What about those who cannot travel so frequently or so far? How would they learn? Are they not entitled to learn?

Now, imagine learning at your own pace, at a convenient time, and from anywhere in the world. Don’t you think today’s technology can make this possible?

We believe that education can be made accessible only through scalable modern online technology – which is why the course is conducted online. You don’t need to unnecessarily adjust your schedule or make changes to other commitments.

We know that it is important to discuss doubts, and we know that it is important to share your questions with experts. For this purpose, we have introduced an online discussion forum, which has exciting discussions going on at any point of time – largely because of a diversified peer group. How often do you have a peer group consisting of civil servants, working professionals, project managers, startup founders, litigators, law students who are all part of the same course? Unless you are enrolled in a language class. Or Harvard University, may be.

Enrolments for the course are now open – the new batch will start on July 31. In case of any questions or inquiries, please write to startup@ipleaders.in or call Abhyudaya at 9717301797.

 

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