MBA 661 - Commercial Law



MBA 661/Fall 11 2020 (3 CREDITS) - Online via Zoom

October 26-December 19

This is a challenging class: Students must have PRE-READ the material and viewed any videos for that week before the face-to-face Zoom classes which are scheduled each Monday starting at 5 pm and ending at 7 pm. Here is the log on information to join the Zoom meeting:

  • Meeting information posted on your course Moodle page

Zoom classes will be be recorded and posted here:

You will need and use a camera. I expect you to come prepared to engage! We have a small class so I will be calling on each of you!

It is critically important to get started ASAP and manage your time wisely. Do not wait for me to contact you - this class is difficult and very time-consuming. Success requires hard work, motivation, persistence, discipline and effort. If you attend the Zoom classes, take notes,* read my emails, participate in class discussions, submit all materials on time, and master the content materials, you have a shot to excel, not only in this class but in your career. If you do not have self-discipline or cannot commit that time and effort, do not take this class!!

Course Description: Advanced law course involving accelerated overview of contracts, bankruptcy, uniform commercial code [UCC], property, business organizations and government regulations. I've put a link to the syllabus below, but note this is subject to change depending on class progress and current events. Therefore, look to the course Moodle page.

Prerequisite: Completion of undergraduate business law course.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to do the following:

  • Explain the sources of American law and how the relate.

  • Outline the court system and ADR options.

  • Summarize the basic elements of an enforceable contract and remedies.

  • Elaborate on the relationship of agency and employment law, especially the differences between independent contractors and employees

  • Demonstrate an understanding of federal and state laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including sexual harassment.

  • Compare various business entities, including franchises.

  • Analyze some of the reoccurring ethical challenges facing businesses.

  • Show that you understand what commercial paper is [UCC Art. 3] and why it is so important to the economy.

  • Compare and sales law [UCC Art. 2] with common law contracts.

  • Distinguish intellectual, personal and real property and explain how they are protected.

  • Explain the duties and remedies associated with a landlord - tenant relationship.

  • Summarize the ways creditors protect their rights, including how secured transactions work [UCC Art. 9].

  • Identify the different types of bankruptcy available to individuals and businesses.

Instructor: Professor Shawn Newman, J.D. (short bio & contact information)

Office Hours: I will be available online before/after class. I am also available by appointment online and via email at I try to respond to emails within 24 hours. Note these etiquette tips for emailing your professor and submitting materials. My SMU office is located OM 413.


  • SMU E-mail account: You must have an active SMU email account as I send articles of interest, quizzes and exams via email.

  • Book: Business Law Text and Cases: Commercial Law for Accountants by Roger Miller, 2018 Cengage Learning ISBN-978-1-305-96728-1

  • Book Chapter Power Points (All Chapters).

  • Supplemental materials: We will study the Uniform Commercial Code [UCC] and caselaw. The UCC is found at here and in appendix A of your text. Washington's version of the UCC is found at here.

  • Optional and helpful material can be found in my online Subject Matter Index - including videos, eBook, etc.

  • Professor Newman's Own Business Law videos can be found here.

  • Newman media - TVW appearances, Supreme Court arguments

  • The Business Professor's videos can be found here.

Assessment and Grading: 500 points total

  • 4 Exams @ 100/each = 400 total

  • Class presentations : 100 points. Each student will be assigned topics for presentation on a topic TBD. The grading rubric for individual Zoom class presentations is set forth below.

Teaching Philosophy: My job is to help you develop legal knowledge and skills that will help you succeed in your life and career. It is your responsibility to be prepared for class and to complete all assignments on time. I do not give re-dos, mulligans or incompletes. I have listed reading assignments, exams and resources for each week. Please note that I reserve the option to modify the schedule and may add content to the syllabus based on class discussions. Classes are conducted like a business meeting. (See Expectations Power Points below). Students must have PRE-READ the material for that day's class. Come prepared to engage!

Academic Policy: SMU Academic Policies and Procedures regarding academic dishonesty can be found the the undergraduate and graduate student catalogs.

Need Help? Information on student support services, including academic support, counseling, health and disability services can be found in the undergraduate and graduate student catalogs. For technology help, contact the Help Desk or the Compute Resource Center.