Business Law and Ethics

Business law and ethics courses highlight important concepts for students entering the business world.

The business law courses are designed to provide a strong foundation in the areas of contract law, agency, partnerships, and limited liability companies and corporations. The area also offers courses in a variety of other legal topics, such as Law of Commercial Transactions (required for accounting majors), Communications Law, International Business Law (an important elective for students pursuing the secondary concentration in international business), Employment Law, and Sports and the Law (required for the secondary concentration in sports business).

The business ethics classes address issues involving values and social norms in the business community. These classes focus on case discussions and role-play simulations to help put theory into practice. 

The concepts discussed in all law and ethics classes expose students to salient issues that affect modern commerce. Asking our students to think about contemporary legal and ethical issues gives them a competitive edge. And they also consider a question that is central to business education at Fordham: Should a business exist purely for the purpose of profit, or should it contribute to society in a greater way?

How courses are counted

Students must note the following policy for how courses are counted. A student may count a maximum of one class in fulfilling more than one purpose—that is, toward any combination of major, minor, and primary or secondary concentration. For example, only one economics class could count toward both a finance major and an economics minor; any additional economics class would count toward the finance major OR the economics minor, but not both. Similarly, one management class could count toward both a primary concentration in management and a minor in sustainable business, but any subsequent management class would not count toward both. Any exceptions to these rules will be posted within the specific area major, minor, or concentration requirements.

For more information

View the Business Law and Ethics Area web page.

Our Courses

BLBU 2234. Legal Framework of Business. (3 Credits)

This course covers the fundamental concepts and legal principles applicable to the American business community and the international environment. Topics include: sources of the modern legal system; legal ethics and governmental regulation; creation and discharge of contractual rights and liabilities; characteristics of agencies, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations, including the rights and liabilities of agents, partners and corporate management.

Attributes: BUMI, LPBC.

BLBU 2999. Independent Study. (1 to 3 Credits)

BLBU 3436. Commercial Transactions. (3 Credits)

This course completes the legal background of the student and considers the commercial issues in the law of sales, bailments, suretyship, negotiable instruments, insurance, creditor's rights and bankruptcy.

Attribute: BLEA.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 3438. ST: Survey of Law and the Legal System. (3 Credits)

A course designed for students considering a career in law. A study of the American legal philosophy and the social objectives of our legal system. Topics covered are: 1) the judicial process, including the court system; 2) alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation; concepts of real estate, landlord-tenant and estates; 4) applicable government regulations.

Attribute: BLEA.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 3440. International Business Law. (3 Credits)

This course provides an overview of various international business issues. Students study the transnational contract, with concentration on international sales, distributorship and licensing agreements as well as coverage of relevant U.S. trade laws. International trade organizations, conferences and treaties are also discussed, as is the resolution of international disputes and copyright protection.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 3443. Ethics in Business. (3 Credits)

This course aims to help students recognize the moral dimension of business decision-making and to provide these students with tools to navigate the potential ethical issues that they are likely to face in the business world.

Attributes: CBVC, PHIL.

BLBU 3444. ST: Business and Ethics Issues in Sports Entrepreneurship. (3 Credits)

This course will provide an overview of the strategic process of building a sports-centric business. In particular, the course will provide an overview of marketing principles, consumer behavior, sponsorship, licensing, promotions, endorsements and industry ethics. Students will gain an understanding about the operational structure and processes of sports organizations. They will be able to apply theories and strategies to formulate new business plans. They will also be able to critically analyze existing organization to recognize strategic.

Prerequisite: BLBU 3443.

BLBU 3445. ST: Contemporary Legal Issues Business Organizations. (3 Credits)

This course examines the legal structure and function of contemporary business entities, focusing on partnerships, LPs, LLCs, and corporations. It explores such areas as entity choice, shareholder rights, director and officer duties and liabilities, and executive compensation.

Attribute: ENT.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 3450. Communications Law and Business. (3 Credits)

This course acquaints students with important legal issues, which govern the traditional media and Internet fields and how the law affects the way these industries operate. Attention will be given to the role of the media in society, First Amendment interpretation, defamation and privacy, a comparison of the standards regarding print media, broadcasting media, Internet and e-commerce. The class will devote considerable time to e-commerce issues such as on-line contracts, intellectual property and attempts, both domestic and international,to regulate the Internet.

BLBU 3455. ST: DEI and Sports. (3 Credits)

This course will focus on business and ethical issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in professional, amateur, and international sports from the point of view of various stakeholders: athletes, teams, leagues, sports organizations, and fans. The course is primarily based on readings from general and academic sources rather than textbooks, and it has a strong case study component. Students will learn about the existing business structures of various sports organizations and the respective powers of stakeholders in the sports industry. Then, the course will cover the legal and moral bases for DEI, focusing on race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation. Case studies will include the power relationships among many of these stakeholders and how sports organizations can create more diverse environments. Class projects will focus on crafting effective policies for expanding DEI and for dealing with the nuances of what constitutes "gender" or "race" or "nationality."

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 3456. ST: DEI and Constitutional Law for Business. (3 Credits)

The course centers on the U.S. Constitution, exploring the interface between diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and the legal and moral issues they pose for business. The course provides principled frameworks that enable students to engage in legal, moral, political, economic, and cultural debate in a balanced, professional, and non-ideological way. Open exploration and discussion of opposing viewpoints on DEI-related constitutional questions are fostered through the critical examination of alternative philosophical frameworks, consideration of various interpretive approaches to law, and practical application of relevant legal doctrines and moral theories to real-world dilemmas and challenges arising in today’s business contexts.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 4430. The Law of Innovation. (3 Credits)

The course examines the legal issues that technology entrepreneurs will face as they launch their for-profit, not-for-profit, or both for-profit and not-for-profit businesses. Topics will include business formation; corporate social responsibility; copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, and privacy contract law (traditional, on the internet, nondisclosure/noncompete agreements, and tech licensing); good practices for using open source software; and internet defation. We will present both for-profit and not-for-profit practical examples form each topic. The course requires reading the assigned text, which will include judicial opinions and scholarly articles. You will be encouraged to thoroughly read and discuss these sources. Industry experts will provide insights throughout the course as guest speakers.

Attributes: ENT, SOIN.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 4431. ST: White-Collar Crime. (3 Credits)

This course will focus on the contemporary legal and ethical issues involving the topical and scandalous field of white-collar crime that is increasingly in the business world spotlight with such cases as those of Bernie Madoff, Enron and insider-trading networks. The focus will be on the substantive law regarding such crimes as conspiracy, mail fraud, pyramid schemes, bribery, extortion, insider trading, RICCO, perjury, Sarbanes-Oxley Act violations; and money laundering statues.

Attribute: BLEA.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 4432. ST: Ethics of Sustainable Enterprise. (3 Credits)

This course examines prevailing trends and best practices in global environmental sustainability, including differing philosophical conceptions of the meaning of "sustainability" within prominent conceptions of corporate social responsibility in general.

BLBU 4434. ST: Business Organizations Law. (3 Credits)

This course covers the fundamental concepts and legal principles applicable to business organizations. Topics covered include agency, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies. Special attention will be paid to: the default rules governing the formation, management and financing of business entities; how contractual agreements can alter default rules; and fiduciary duties.

Attribute: BLEA.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 4435. ST: Environmental Law and Business. (3 Credits)

This course will begin with basic information on how climate change, water shortages and water quality degradation, solid waste overload and other critical issues are affecting business. It will then focus on understanding how the law relates to these issues; and whether there are ethical and business reasons for going beyond the law and dealing with them. Questions of how the legal responsibilities of officers and directors to their shareholders affect their response to impending environmental problems will be addressed, as will the ethical principles of environmental justice and sustainability.

Prerequisite: BLBU 2234.

BLBU 4436. ST: Business and Ethics of Sports. (3 Credits)

This course is an introduction to the basic business and ethics issues that govern professional and amateur sports in the United States and internationally. It will discuss issues of structure and governance, business models, revenue generation, facilities, and international competition. Ethics issues like doping, race and gender discrimination and amateurism will be a centerpiece of the course.

Attribute: BLEA.

BLBU 4437. ST: International Bus Ethics. (3 Credits)

The course is designed to stimulate critical thinking and ethical argumentation on contemporary ethical issues and professional challenges encountered in international commercial activity. Examines international business within a broad socio-cultural, legal, political and economic context. Critically examines the nature, moral and legal status, and purpose of multinational business enterprise. Attention is given to the impact of developments in human rights initiatives and emerging forms of global governance affecting business decision-making, corporate responsibility and ethics. Topics covered include ethical issues arising in regard to global supply chains, intellectual property protection, sustainable development, microfinance, poverty and distributive justice, migration shifts, and public health and education.

Attributes: BLEA, PJEC, PJST.

Prerequisite: BLBU 3443.

BLBU 4438. ST: Law, Business and the Arts. (3 Credits)

Law, Business and the Arts will cover issues such as business structure, marketing, and legal issues involving the visual and performing arts. Topics include: freedom of speech, indecency/obscenity, non-profit entities, marketing and sales, contracts, labor rules, intellectual property, ownership, the “me, too” movement, and new technologies that will affect how the arts are distributed.

Attribute: BLEA.

BLBU 4449. ST: Sports and the Law. (3 Credits)

Hardly a day goes by when sports and law do not make news. Professional and amateur sports have attained great importance in American society. Concomitant with this growth are the increasing number and complexity of legal issues in sports. This class will discuss the major legal issues involving the sports industry. Included are labor-management relations, free agency, professional and amateur league governance, agents, contracts, antitrust, personal injury law, discrimination, broadcasting, Internet. This class will discuss and analyze the applicable rules, both internal and governmental, governing the amateur and professional sports industries and the controversies and policy considerations surrounding those rules. This course may be the only one where students will been couraged by a professor to read Sports Illustrated.

Attributes: BLEA, SJOR.

BLBU 4450. ST: Employment Law. (3 Credits)

This course studies the emerging theories of employer-tort liability. Areas emphasized are discrimination, including discrimination based on race, age, disability and sex with emphasis on sexual harassment, the employment at will doctrine, negligent hiring, fraud and misrepresentation, defamation and invasion of privacy resulting from intrusive testing procedures. While the course provides a background in established areas of employer liability, it emphasizesrecent developments and the public policies driving such developments. The course will also discuss strategies for avoiding exposure to tort liability in the workplace.

Attribute: BLEA.

BLBU 4452. ST: Securities Law. (3 Credits)

This course offers an intensive introduction to the Securities Act of 1933 and the Exchange Act of 1934, i.e., the laws that govern the offering of stocks and bonds by corporations. Topics to be covered include: (1) the definition of a security; (2) the initial public offering (IPO); (3) private placements; (4) the obligations of those that possess material non-public information; (5) material misstatements in filings; and (6) civil remedies.

Attribute: BLEA.

BLBU 4464. ST: Compliance and Risk Management. (3 Credits)

This course will review risk management in the financial services industry through compliance and regulatory perspectives. The course will cover the economic basis and goals of financial services regulations from the Great Depression to the recent financial crisis. Emphasis will be placed on identifying, controlling, mitigating, and managing financial services compliance and reputational risks. Topics will include capital adequacy, risk limits, supervision, Value at Risk and Monte Carlo simulation, Industry and self-regulation, insider trading, elements and style of both US and overseas regulation, corporate governance and reputational risk.

BLBU 4999. Independent Study. (1 to 3 Credits)