What you'll learn

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of financial statements, using methodologies to extract and analyze the numbers

  • Learn to translate your organization or client's financial goals into practical legal solutions

  • Recognize the variances in valuation and provide finance-driven insights

  • Discover how to approach dispute and advocacy sessions, determining how and when to bring in financial experts to strengthen your case

  • Hone your judgment skills to use ethical reasoning when the financial answer is not clear

Course description

Google pays $2 billion for Fitbit, which has yet to turn a profit.How did Google come up with that price? Bayer agrees to pay more than $10 billion to settle claims that its weedkiller, 

Lawyers negotiate deals and manage lawsuits involving billions of dollars each year. To do that, they need more than legal expertise. You need a fundamental understanding of the finances behind a deal or dispute, including how to read and analyze financial statements or use financial concepts to value a business, patent, or marital estate. You need more than law knowledge to advise a client on any significant transaction—and to help a client even assess whether it's best to pursue a claim or to settle.

Successful attorneys cannot rely solely on CFOs, accounting teams, or outside experts. You need to independently understand the financial opportunities your client faces and how to talk about them using the language of accounting. Through examples of valuations, disputes, and presentations from real-world practitioners, Financial Analysis and Valuation for Lawyers will teach you how to interpret and use financial data, make a business case for a deal or lawsuit, and understand when and how experts can support—or undermine—your work. 

Taught by Harvard Law School faculty, and based on an essential course in the Harvard Law School program, this course is one of the few available to the public. By taking this course, you’ll learn firsthand from legal experts how to use your best judgment when the financial answer is unclear. Get ready to join the conversation and bring value to the table from both a financial and legal perspective.

Now, do you trust the financial data given to you? Do you know what information you haven’t been given that you could obtain? Can you rely on your own knowledge to make the call? 


Faculty Chair, Mergers & Acquisitions: Structuring and Leading Deals; John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law & Economics, Harvard Law School; Research Director, Center on the Legal Profession and Vice Dean for Finance and Strategic Initiatives, Harvard Law S
Robert B. and Candice J. Haas Visiting Professor and Senior Lecturer at Harvard Law School, Visiting Professor of Accounting at MIT Sloan School of Management

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