Categories: Law Practice Skills


Linsmeier, Thomas

Course Data

Room 3253
MW 2:40pm-4:00pm

Pass/Fail: Yes

Course Description

During his/her career, virtually every practicing lawyer will represent various stakeholders of businesses (owners, management, directors, creditors, customers etc.), each with adverse legal interests. Accordingly, almost every practicing lawyer should understand financial accounting, which long has been referred to as “the language of business.” This course will introduce you to basic financial accounting principles and their most common business and legal applications.

Learning Outcomes:

The Accounting Department and the Wisconsin School of Business (who are offering this course in conjunction with the Law School) articulate learning outcomes for our curriculum in terms of the following elements.

- Knowing (K): My conceptual expertise and awareness of facts, frameworks and theories
- Doing (D): My ability to execute in addition to what I have experienced
- Being (B): My understanding of who I am and how I match with the values of the university and my profession
- Inspiring (I): My understanding of who I could be and how I could inspire others
- Networking (N): Who I interact with and how I relate to others

This course aspires to empower you to develop the skills:

• To understand and apply the double-entry bookkeeping process that produces financial statements (K, D);
• To read, analyze, and apply financial statements (and the notes that accompany those statements) in business and legal contexts (K, D);
• To understand the latitude and judgment management has in arriving at reported numbers and the economic consequences of those choices (K);
• To recognize and understand financial accounting issues important to every lawyer (K);
• To know and appropriately apply accounting terminology or concepts when drafting or negotiating agreements or other legal documents (K, D);
• To recognize potential “red flags” that suggest financial difficulties--or even financial fraud (K, D); and
• To know the opportunities to obtain accounting-related information about an underlying legal situation and, when appropriate, to be familiar with potential ways to use that information in litigation (K).

The associated learning outcome elements for each of these skills are indicated in parentheses after each item.

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