Welcome to Commercial Transactions
MBA - 661
Harned Hall, Rm. 117 at 5:00 - 7:40 pm
(Summer Session 5/29/18 - 7/21/18)

Course Description: Advanced law course involving accelerated overview of contracts, bankruptcy, uniform commercial code [UCC], property, business organizations and government regulations.  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 am available before/after class, by appointment or via email at snewman@stmartin.edu.  I try to respond to emails within 24 hours.  Note these etiquette tips for emailing your professor and submitting materials.  


  • 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.  Additional optional material from my Subject Matter Index.

Assessment and Grading: 600 points total

  • 10 Discussion Forum Postings @ 10 points each = 100 points.  Show me that you are a critical thinker by relating the discussion topic to course material.  Proper use of legal terms, proper citations, spelling and grammar count.  At least 5 coherent sentences based on the following:
  1. Follow these netiquette tips for online discussions and email. (2 points)
  2. Submit at least 5 sentences using proper legal terms. (2 points)
  3. Spelling, grammar and punctuation count! (2 points)
  4. Connect your comments on the post topic to course content, properly citing book, readings, videos or any other credible sources.(4 points)
  • 4 Exams @ 100/each = 400 total 
  • Class presentations and discussions: 100 points.  Each student  will be responsible for presenting one of the  end of the chapter reviews. Presentations will be evaluated by me and your classmates . See 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.

Expectations of MBA 661  of Students.

This course will be facilitated via SMU Moodle. 

Student log in is here:   SMU Moodle

Statement to Students concerning Academic Dishonesty: 

Acts of academic dishonesty, plagiarism and cheating are considered unethical actions and a violation of university’s academic policy (SMU Catalog). Sanctions and procedures are included in the SMU Academic Catalog.

Statement to Students with Disabilities:

Students wishing to request appropriate accommodations are responsible for initiating contact with the SMU Office of Disability Support Services located at 214 OM [phone 438-4580; lpuryear@stmartin.edu]. The office will access the individual needs of each student, assist him or her in communicating those needs to faculty and staff and help the student obtain the materials, services, and the assistance necessary to successfully pursue their higher education.

University Mission and Academic Values (SMU Catalog - Selected Excerpts)

University Mission: To know, to care, to serve – to educate
University Academic Values: Knowledge, Spirituality, Hospitality, Service, Creativity, Communication, Inquiry, Discovery, Holistic Education.

Business Division Philosophy (SMU Catalog)

Built on the General Education foundation informed by Saint Martin’s Catholic, Benedictine heritage and values, Business and Economics offers a unified business program that integrates the separate functional areas of business. Acknowledging the technologic innovation, ever-changing global marketplace and challenged ecosystems currently shaping the world, the Business Administration Program offers students an opportunity to learn and practice general management skills, discover the need for ethical decision-making and acquire functional business area expertise. Through practice and active learning, students also gain the ability to work cooperatively in diverse teams. They become effective writers and speakers, and they demonstrate sharpened critical thinking skills and professional judgment. Students graduate with a broad perspective on the business world and its place in our culture. Saint Martin’s graduates have the ability to work across business functions, adjust quickly to new situations, accept change and ambiguity as a natural part of life, and become enthusiastic lifelong learners. National or State Standards consistent with AACSB and AICPA

Syllabus will be
 on Moodle - log in here