Are you wondering whether you should complete one or perhaps even a series of corporate law courses online? If some of the following or similar questions are percolating in your mind, then it certainly sounds like an online corporate course might be ideal for you:
- What are the benefits of incorporation?
- How does limited liability work?
- To what extent are directors and officers personally liable?
- Are corporations liable for torts and crimes?
- What are the roles of shareholders, boards, and investors?
- How is executive compensation (remuneration) regulated?
- How do mergers and acquisitions (M&A) work?
- Do corporations have a duty to maximize shareholder value or profit?
- What does ‘comply and explain’ really mean?
These and many other questions and concepts will become much clearer once you’ve successfully completed an online corporate law course. Whether you decide to enroll in a full-length comprehensive study program or take a series of distance learning corporate law short courses, there are many benefits.
Benefits of Taking Corporate Law Classes Online
The key benefits of taking corporate law courses online are essentially threefold:
One of the key benefits of an online or distance-learning (remote learning) corporate law course is that you can set your own time and place for learning. You can study at home, during your commute, or even while you are traveling for much longer distances.
For example, a course may even be available in the form of a corporate law podcast, meaning that you could listen to these portions while driving. In any case, the time advantage means that you can complement your current studies or day job with online corporate law learning. Therefore, you won’t have to sacrifice your degree or paid work in order to enhance your knowledge and accelerate your career.
A second major time-related benefit is that you can set your own speed or pace of learning. Do you need more time to understand what a share purchase agreement or reverse merger is? Or do you perhaps require less time than others to understand what a proxy is? No problem, because online corporate law courses let you rewind to grasp difficult concepts, and fast forward through concepts you already know and understand.
Finally, taking corporate law courses and earning certificates through relevant online classes lets you save substantial amounts of time and money. Traditional campus based or in-person corporate law courses tend to be rather costly and they may require you to travel long distances to a different locale.
In contrast, distance learning online corporate law courses bring you the ease of being able to study from the comfort of your home and for a fraction of the cost of an in-person corporate law course. This lets you combine learning new skills with an uninterrupted work and family or personal life. There are even some free online corporate law courses, although the higher-quality or comprehensive ones tend to charge (relatively modest) fees.
Additionally, given the recent health crisis, it is also worth emphasizing that the choice to study and learn corporate law online or remotely entails important health and safety benefits. These benefits extend to yourself but also to your family and friends.
Check whether the course provider is specializing in corporate law or whether they are also selling countless other courses, from advanced Japanese to Italian cooking. Specialist providers are generally the better choice for most learners.
What to Look For in an Online Corporate Law Course
While the benefits and appeal of an online corporate law course are quite clear, a more difficult question is what qualities you should be looking for in an online corporate law course. While it is difficult to generalize and there is no such thing as ‘the best’ online corporate law course, there are a number of factors that prospective learners should take into account when choosing their course or courses.
First, you’ll have to decide what you want out of an online corporate law course.
- Are you looking to get specialized knowledge about specific corporate law subjects?
- Or are you looking for a more generalized approach to corporate law with broad coverage of the entire spectrum of legal issues?
- Which jurisdiction or jurisdictions are relevant for you: US corporate law, UK or English corporate law, or perhaps an even broader comparative perspective, such as international or Anglo-American corporate law?
If you’re looking for specialized knowledge, make sure you look at the details of the content being offered in a specific online corporate law course. This information can normally be found in the course outline or syllabus.
For instance, if your goal is to improve your knowledge of the law relating to companies buying other companies or merging with them, then make sure the online corporate law course has a mergers and acquisitions module. If you’re more interested in how corporations sell shares then you should ensure that a corporate finance and/or securities law module is part of the online corporate law course.
Conversely, if you’re interested in more of a holistic or generalized approach to corporate law, then you might want to look for a course that covers all of the most important elements of corporate law. A course like this will be ideal as an introduction and overview to the field of corporate law as a whole. If this is your preferred approach, then some of the elements to look for in a course include the following:
- Basic Corporate Law – includes topics such as how companies are set up, the board of directors and its functions, directors’ and officers’ liability, what limited liability and separate legal personality are, and the rights of shareholders
- Corporate Governance – includes topics such as how companies are governed, what the purpose of corporations is, who sets executive pay; board governance and diversity, institutional shareholders, and shareholder activism (see our corporate governance online course)
- Corporate Social Responsibility – includes topics such as whether companies have to maximize profit, corporations’ role in promoting human rights, corporation’s environmental responsibilities, and sustainable business practices
- Mergers & Acquisitions – includes topics such as transaction structures, the regulatory requirements governing M&A, hostile takeovers and takeover defenses, and how to negotiate and document deals or corporate transactions (see our M&A online course)
- Securities Law – includes topics such as corporate disclosures, stock exchange rules, shareholder proxy access, liability for securities law breaches, insider trading, and rules and regulations surrounding an Initial Public Offering (IPO)
- Corporate Finance – includes topics such as what dual class shares are, dividend payments and other distributions to shareholders, share capital, cash flows and corporate valuation, and how companies are financed
To be sure, these are just a few of the key subjects covered in a comprehensive online corporate law course. Another way to ensure coverage of the topics that you are interested in is to pursue a certificate course in corporate law that lets you pick and choose between some of the key corporate law courses. Finally, yet another option is to enroll in a series of corporate law short courses online, which also gives you considerable flexibility.
The Course Provider or Instructor
Whatever method to study corporate law online you choose, you should examine the course providers and/or the instructors. Make sure that the course is offered by a provider such as one of the leading law schools or organizations such as our Business Law Institute that specifically specialize in online corporate law or online business law courses. If the courses are not offered by an institution but, rather, by an individual, it will be important to ensure that this instructor has a good knowledge of corporate law and is easy to understand.
A good way to test the strength of instructor knowledge is to look at the other resources available on the course website. Is the course provider generally knowledgeable about corporate law or are they selling countless other courses from advanced Japanese to Italian cooking? Do they have a corporate or business law blog and other relevant resources?
Of course, while you will find that several law firms and academics offer corporate law resources, they don’t directly offer any educational courses. The good news is, however, that our unique approach allows us to offer courses designed by some of the leading figures in academia and private practice.
Finally, there is no better way to gauge the quality and suitability of an online corporate law course than by sampling the course. Only a course taster can tell you whether it is at the right level, easy to understand, and generally the right course for you and your specific goals and needs.