Monday, February 28, 2011

Thinking Like a Lawyer for Corporate Lawyers

To be honest, I've practiced as a lawyer for more than 6 years and still, I don't know exactly what's the true meaning of thinking like a lawyer. Apparently, Prof. Bainbridge thinks that to enable more lawyers to think like a lawyer, law schools require more experienced lawyers than PhDs to teach at those schools. See the article here. You can also see a nice law review article on thinking like a lawyer here.

I have to disagree with some of his premises though. My gut feeling says that the main problem with those PhDs is not that they can't teach lawyers about other fields that can enrich a lawyer's ways of thinking but simply because the quality of those PhDs are mediocre. On the other hand, I am quite certain that asking more experienced lawyers to teach at law schools seems like a good proposal, especially if you're talking about corporate laws. Like it or not, in Indonesia, the development of corporate laws lies mostly in the hand of corporate lawyers instead of theoretical lecturers. The problem is, most of these lawyers don't have the time to share their knowledge to law students, which is a pity.

Why do I say that the teaching of corporate laws needs corporate lawyers? Corporate law is not only about legal issues per se. There is an economic structure behind the corporate laws and to understand such structure, lawyers need to have sufficient experience handling various corporate transactions. These experiences will enable lawyers to gain knowledge on the commercial issues of their clients which will further help them in understanding the economic structure of the corporate laws and how to improve such laws.

Some thought provoking questions: Why there should be a limited liability concept for companies? Why directors have fiduciary duties toward the company? Why do we need commissioners for supervising the management of the company? Why we tend to limit a company to enter into affiliated party transactions? And many more.

As you may see, the above questions pose certain economic rationales. There is no simple right or wrong answer in corporate laws as in the end, it depends on the economic structure that the regulators choose to build the foundations of corporate laws. There are virtually unlimited ways to improve our corporate laws, promote efficiency and create more preferences to the society. We need to always remember that corporations are essential institutions of the market, and therefore, it is natural if the laws that govern corporations should be designed carefully and thoughtfully.

Stay tune as I will uncover some of these economic structures in my future posts.


iedh Monday, February 28, 2011 7:04:00 PM  

looking forward for your next post bang...

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