Business law is a required course for all business majors and the importance of this course is particularly stressed in the School of Accountancy. Due to strict policies and regulations in accounting fields, students receive specialized attention with professionals from the business community.
“We teach business law and hire practicing lawyers to teach it at the College of Business Administration,” said Aaron Crabtree, director of the School of Accountancy. “Business law is required for part of the CPA exam, but our course is different than the typical business major because we emphasize the ethical side required for students.”
For students, having business law in their curriculum makes them highly sought-after in the business world.
“In our society, having a firm grasp and understanding of your legal responsibilities is critical, because it’s easy to step in a gray area where you could end up in a lawsuit,” Crabtree said. “That’s why we bring in top business law professionals as lecturers.”
Abigail Stempson, chief of both the Public Protection Bureau and Consumer Protection Division and assistant attorney general in the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, is one of the business law professors teaching at CBA. She brings real-world case examples to emphasize the seriousness of the problems a professional accountant may face.
“The law affects almost everything students will do in their accounting lives,” Stempson said. “Whether they are in the public or private sector as a CPA, an auditor, a financial analyst or a plethora of other careers, students need to learn the laws that will apply not only to themselves, but also their clients, employers and governments. It’s all necessary for a successful career.”
Stempson has taught at UNL since 2004 and is originally from Tecumseh, Nebraska. She emphasizes the competitive advantage of students who are well-grounded in business law face when they enter the workforce.
“Students who have skills in accounting and legal work have many different opportunities available. There will be several employers looking for the right combination.”
Steve Russell, an assistant U.S. attorney in Lincoln, Nebraska, also teaches business law and believes having an attorney in the classroom is significant.
“I hope I bring a passion for law that comes through my teaching,” Russell said. “I show videos, discuss current events, analyze book cases and try to make the experience something students enjoy. Although the law may seem less than exciting sometimes, I want students to understand it has a great effect on their lives and can help them in their future jobs.”
Other business law lecturers include: Mark Brown, attorney at law in Lincoln, Nebraska; Ron Lahners, administrative law judge (ALJ) at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Omaha, Nebraska; Neal Nelson, associate revisor of statutes for the Nebraska Legislature in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Dave Stempson, special assistant U.S. attorney, retired, in Lincoln, Nebraska.