2019 / 20
Studying Business Law in Germany
Business lawyers are experts in legal issues in companies
An article by Maria Retter
That is what it’s about
If companies are planning to acquire a business, if they want to expand abroad or if they want to apply for a patent, then commercial lawyers are in demand. The course includes legal and business content: The students learn to analyse legal problems from a business perspective, and deal with legal issues in companies. "If a customer complains about something, a corporate lawyer doesn't just assess whether the customer actually has a claim. He also considers whether it is better for the company to enforce its own rights or to be accommodating in order to keep the customer in the long-term,” says Peter Kiel of the Wirtschaftsjuristische Hochschulvereinigung, who is professor of Business Law at the University of Wismar. Business lawyers are also in demand for numerous new developments, for example in the area of data protection, automation or flexible working hours. For example, you have to decide whether an employee may take sensitive documents to their home office or how their working hours can be recorded while there.
This is how the course runs
The legal part of the course, which should make up at least 60 percent, is especially about private law. Students learn, for example, how contracts are concluded between customers and companies, how to design general terms and conditions and what powers the shareholders of a limited liability company have. Communication training, negotiation and rhetoric are also on the program. From the beginning, the students practice solving issues themselves. The focus is often on competition law, international business law and business consulting. In the business administration part of the course, they get to know the departments of a company and deal with cost accounting and balance sheets, controlling and management. Most universities also have a practical semester on the curriculum.
Typical questions raised within the subject
- What regulations apply if you want to sell products abroad?
- Which laws are relevant for which business form?
- What rights and obligations does a company have towards suppliers?
- Which legal steps are initiated in case of a complaint?
- What can one ask during a job interview - and what not?
- How does a company enforce its claim if a customer does not pay?
- In which contract design tasks can programmable contract patterns be used?
- How do you help companies to comply with legal regulations?
The subject suits you,...
...if "you enjoy language and dealing with texts," says Peter Kiel. An economic law expert reads a lot, not just legal texts or specific legal texts, but also quarterly results, company reports and statistics. So they have to be as familiar with legal formulations as they are with the mathematical side of things. You have to have an affiliation for and be able to interpret numbers. Good time and self-management is important because it takes time to familiarize yourself with complex legal issues. One of the hurdles in the first few semesters is, above all, the large volume of material, after all, you have to familiarize yourself with two areas. Specific approaches and case resolution methods are new to most students. Important to know: Graduates of an economic law degree cannot later work as judges or lawyers. This is only possible with traditional law degrees.
Is there a numerus clausus?
Around 40 percent of study programs have an NC. Often it is in the higher grades range.