By Allison Butler, Lecturer in Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
LLLP? EEOC? ADR? FCPA? OSHA? If you or an employee can decode these acronyms with ease then you are one step a head of many individuals who are unfamiliar with the legal aspects of doing business in the United States. Seeking legal advice may be enough, but a comprehensive understanding of relevant laws in a business context is priceless. Providing employees with advanced legal degrees is a worthwhile investment for employers. It promotes business growth that yields profit, compliance with the laws and, above all, avoidance of costly legal complications.
According to a 2017 survey published in the Harvard Business Review, 44 percent of employees ranked tuition assistance as a valuable benefit. Employers should take note of this since companies doing business in the 21st century must be abreast of current laws and regulations as all affect business activities. Hiring and firing employees, workplace safety, manufacturing and marketing of products and protecting intellectual property are among many concerns when transacting business. These laws can vary from state to state. An employee with an advanced legal degree implicitly develops a keen awareness of lawful matters while simultaneously negotiating and making informed business decisions on behalf of an employer.
Legal issues such as customer privacy, website marketing, and supply chain transactions become more complex with the introduction of e-commerce. The capability of a company to recognize these emerging issues through educating its employees with a Master in Legal Studies eliminates the element of surprise when a government agency challenges a business’ nonconformity or violation.
Domestic knowledge of law is inadequate if a business is to prosper in today’s global economy. Transactions may involve numerous players and foreign and international laws. A civil infraction in the U.S. can be a serious criminal offense in another nation exposing officers and executives to prosecution abroad. Conversely, an act in another country can subject a company to criminal challenges in the United States. Knowledge of these laws provides a non-attorney educated in these areas with guidance to properly operate in the ever-expanding business markets.
Employers who provide their employees with opportunities to receive advanced legal degrees provide not only a benefit respected by employees. They are also safeguarding their business assets and unequivocally preventing future business liabilities.
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