Course Information

Course Number




JD Graduation Requirements

This course typically satisfies all or some of the following JD graduation requirements:
  • Professional Skills


Only the rarest of practitioners avoid contact with a corporate merger or acquisition. While business combinations are the staple of corporate and securities law departments, they are also routinely faced by family lawyers, regulators and litigators.
Long a staple of the law school curriculum, a course in Mergers and Acquisitions is typically taught from the perspective of a case book. These books contain some statutes and some business concepts, but for the most part they contain … er … cases. In the context of teaching M&A, these cases have limited utility—they represent that very small subset of problematic deals that also happen to pose a legal question for an appellate court. The resulting perspective is primarily of use to those limited number of students who want to make a career of litigating deals; by their very nature, these cases fail to address the 99.99-plus percent of transactions that do not give rise to appellate level opinions.
Our course at Duke takes a different path. The goal is to focus on the formation of deals. We look at the business reasons that parties come together, we look at the business reasons that deals fail to meet expectations, and we look at the business reasons that deals work. We will cover topics of taxation, accounting, due diligence and finance. We do this in the context of venture capital and private equity transactions. By understanding the business side of business combinations, we can take the tools of law to ensure that our clients are best served.

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.

Prerequisite Information

Prerequisite: Business Associations or Equivalent