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Financial Basics for Lawyers


Admission requirements

The course can be followed by law students, students from other relevant disciplines and exchange students. This course does not assume any background regarding business, finance or economics.


This course will introduce students to fundamental business, economic, and finance concepts that lawyers need to know in order to advise their clients effectively in a wide variety of practice areas. Topics include time value of money; the relationship between risk and return; and how lawyers in a wide variety of practice areas use an understanding of these topics to help advance their clients’ objectives. Additional topics include equity, debt, and other financial instruments; accounting and financial statements; public markets and the U.S. (and global) financial system; and introductions to U.S. corporate and securities laws. Given increasing globalization, it is important for lawyers to have a firm grounding these concepts, whether they are interested in international business transactions; litigation involving U.S. people or businesses; regulation (e.g., relating to the environment or trade); estate or other financial planning; intellectual property; taxation; or other areas. While there are numbers and math in this course, this course is specifically intended for students who have little or no background in business, finance, and economics.

This course is particularly interesting for international students as it provides (a) understanding fundamental financial concepts such as the time value of money and the relationship between risk and return, (b) understanding basic accounting principles, financial statements, and financial instruments, and © having an introduction to U.S. financial markets and U.S. corporate and securities laws, will help any student who is interested areas including international business transactions, litigation involving US people/businesses, and regulation of cross-border issues such as environment or trade, be strategic and effective when advising clients in those settings.

Professor Heather Field graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, BS Biochemistry (1997) and Harvard Law School, JD (2000). She joined the UC Hastings faculty in 2006, following six years of practice as a tax lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLP in Los Angeles. Her practice focused on the. federal taxation of corporations and partnerships and involved advising clients on the tax aspects of mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, restructurings, joint ventures, securities offerings, financial products, and structured finance transactions. Professor Field teaches courses in taxation, and her research interests include tax elections, the role of choice in the tax law, and the effect of tax law on businesses and on business transactions

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
This course will introduce students to fundamental financial concepts that lawyers need to know in order to advise clients effectively in a wide variety of practice areas. Specifically, this course is intended to enable students (1) to acquire a basic knowledge of the vocabulary and concepts of finance and accounting, (2) to appreciate how these concepts are relevant to the practice of law, and (3) to develop their financial intuition.

Achievement levels
Students will achieve basic competence in fundamental business and financial concepts that are important when advising clients.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction

  • Number of (2 hour) lectures:

  • Names of lecturers:

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare questions for discussion.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 10

  • Names of instructors: Prof Heather Field

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare written assignments.

Other methods of instruction

  • Description:

  • Number of (2 hour) instructions:

  • Names of instructors:

  • Required preparation by students:

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
Written exam (English) *

Submission procedures
Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials
Literature: readings to be posted on Blackboard

Course information guide:

  • Outline as posted on Blackboard


  • To be announced on Blackboard

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Blackboard*


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information


  • Institution:

  • Division:

  • Room number secretariat:

  • Opening hours:

  • Telephone number secretariat:

  • E-mail:


A maximum of 25 students can participate in this course.