Joseph L. Brotherton
LAW A 516
Money makes the world go round. You came to law school interested in environmental law. Now you just want to be part of the 1%. Accounting is the language of money and you will learn as much Accounting as I can help you squeeze into your brain in the time alloted. Most lawyers deal with issues involving money every day. It wouldn't hurt to know something about it.
Student learning goals
You will learn the Accountant's terms of art which lawyers must know to practice in a commercial setting.
You will learn how to read a financial statement.
You will learn how to find the financial truth.
You will learn about how accounting varies based on the type of entity in question.
You will learn what Certified Public Accountants do.
For those with humbler goals, you will learn how to reconcile a bank statement.
General method of instruction
I lecture, often using powerpoint. I encourage class participation. I believe that it is my duty to teach you and I will try to get your attention which seems to be a prerequisite to learning. I believe that I work for you and I expect you to be demanding. I realized that much of what I know about business was learned by talking about business. We will often discuss business in a relatively unstructured manner. If you need clear structure you will not enjoy this class. You also may not enjoy the world of Commerce.
Read a Wall Street Journal or two, cover to cover and get your hands on some financial statements (annual reports) and read them, making a list of everything that you don't fully understand. After the quarter, the list will be shorter.
Class assignments and grading
We will work through the book and supplement it with some actual financial statements and annual reports. You will have one daily assignment in addition to the reading, which is preparation of a multiple choice question based on the reading, the lecture or anything else assigned for that class.
The great majority of your grade will be based on your performance on a comprehensive final examination, probably a multiple choice account. This is a tough course and people who are naturals at "Law" courses sometimes do very well and sometimes find themselves in the middle of the group.