Commercial / Business Law
Studying Business Law in Germany
An article by Maria Retter. Cooperation from: Christian Heinrich
That is what it's about
When a company wants to enter into contracts, hire or fire staff, or digitise business processes in a way that does not violate the law, business lawyers are in demand. "A business lawyer masters law and business administration at the same time and can thus help a company to successfully assert itself on the market," says Andreas Willburger, professor at Pforzheim University. Social developments also play a role, for example in the question of when a company can legally claim to operate in a climate-neutral manner.
At the moment, a lot is being said about compliance, i.e. the question of how a company ensures that rules are reliably adhered to. Other current topics are data protection and digitalisation. For example, it must be examined how working time in the home office can be recorded and whether autonomously acting products such as smart refrigerators that independently reorder food can effectively conclude contracts.
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. Unlike public law, which deals with the relationship between citizens and the state, private law organises the relationships between people. You 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. Frequently offered areas of focus include employment law, international business law and contract drafting. Topics such as communication, negotiation and mediation are also on the agenda for prospective business lawyers.
In the business administration part, students deal with the different departments of a company and deal with balance sheets and taxes, controlling and management. At most universities, a practical semester is part of the curriculum, which you can complete in the legal department of a company or a tax consultancy, for example.
Typical questions raised within the subject
- How do I draft optimal contracts with suppliers and customers?
- How do I find suitable personnel for my company, and what do I have to consider from a legal perspective when hiring?
- What rules does my company have to follow when it wants to do international business?
- Is a company allowed to check employees' e-mails?
- What are the tax consequences of an investment decision?
- What has to be considered from a legal perspective and what from a business perspective when business processes are digitised?
The subject suits you,...
... "you want to be involved in business decisions and enjoy working with texts and figures," says Andreas Willburger. Business lawyers read a lot, not only specialist legal texts or legislative texts, but also company reports, quarterly results and statistics. So they must be as familiar with legal formulations as they are with the economics side of things. Their task is to filter out from the often extensive texts and collections of figures what is important
One of the hurdles in the first few semesters is the abundance of material, since after all, you must familiarise yourself with two areas. The legal methods are new and therefore unfamiliar to most students. Important to know: Graduates of a business law degree cannot later work as judges or lawyers. This is only possible with the traditional law degree course. The course offers career prospects in companies in all sectors, and also in public administrations. Business law degree courses are mostly offered at universities of applied sciences.
Is there a numerus clausus?
Around 40 percent have an entrance restriction. Often it is in the higher grades range.