Law Professor Creates First Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to Teach Business Acquisition Skills
September 17, 2012
Law professor Karl Okamoto created the online course on business acquisitions
Law students, practicing attorneys and anyone interested in business acquisitions will be able to polish their transactional lawyering skills thanks to a new massive open online course (MOOC) created by Karl Okamoto, a professor in the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University. While some of the nation’s most elite universities are collaborating to offer a variety of courses through MOOCs, this will be among the first law school courses delivered in this way.
“The Basics of Acquisition Agreements” is a two-week course that will be offered Tuesday, October 23 through Wednesday, November 7, 2012. It includes four video lectures, four interactive learning exercises and two panel discussions by leading transactional attorneys. The course is free and open to the public. For more information on the course and to register, visit www.lawmeets.com.
Okamoto will be joined in teaching the course by faculty from premier law schools: University of California-Davis School of Law Professor Afra Afsharipour, DLA Piper partner and Stanford Law Adjunct Professor Jay Finkelstein, UCLA Law Professor Andy Kaufman and Cornell University Law School Professor Charles Whitehead. A group of experts from law firms and corporate legal departments from around the world also will interact with the course participants through written feedback, online discussion boards and streaming video.
After viewing online lectures, students will complete exercises requiring them to upload videos of themselves answering hypothetical client questions about drafting a business acquisition agreement. The process will use the same online platform Okamoto created for his trailblazing transactional LawMeets competitions.
Once the videos have been posted, students will vote on the best among their peers’ performances. The five videos receiving the most votes will be critiqued by a panel of experts including partners from firms including Dechert, K&L Gates, Latham & Watkins and Sullivan & Cromwell and attorneys for companies including Oracle and Xerox. All students will then be able to view a video of experts demonstrating how they would have answered the same client questions.
“Law schools struggle to provide ‘hands on’ learning for future transactional lawyers,” said Okamoto. “These interactive exercises give participants a unique and free opportunity – not only to learn the rules – but to apply them to practice.”
“The Basics of Acquisition Agreements” will be the first in a series of free online courses that combine lectures and simulations exploring transactional law. Okamoto plans to follow up the class with courses on drafting operating agreements and the basics of advising start-up companies.
This series is the newest example of Okamoto’s leadership as a pioneering legal educator. In 2010, he launched the inaugural Transactional LawMeet, which was the first competition ever to test law students’ deal-making skills. This year, six regional LawMeets will be held at law schools around the country, leading up to the national finals at Drexel University in March 2013. LawMeets recently received $500,000, the company's third and largest grant from the National Science Foundation.
Okamoto is an expert in corporate, venture capital, private equity and securities law and corporate finance. He practiced with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and at Dechert before working as a consultant for Soros Fund Management and becoming senior managing director for Atticus Capital LP. Okamoto has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups and co-organized the First Annual Asian Pacific American Law Professors’ Conference. He earned his J.D. at Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.