Cambridge Launches Masters Degree in Corporate Law

The University of Cambridge has announced its first entirely new degree in Law since the 19th century with the launch of a Master’s degree in Corporate Law (the MCL).

The MCL will begin in the academic year 2012-13 and will operate as a full-time nine-month programme, offering students the opportunity to engage in a detailed study of the legal and regulatory framework in which companies are governed and financed.

The MCL will cover key fields such as corporate governance, the regulation of financial markets and pensions, offering a wider and more diverse range of corporate courses than a typical Masters degree programme.

The course, in addition to offering in depth analysis of legal rules, will provide students with the opportunity to understand how “real world” corporate deals are structured and run.

The MCL will be taught by the Cambridge Law Faculty’s team of corporate lawyers, widely recognised as one of the strongest in the field. The intake will be approximately 25 students per year.

Applications will be accepted from September 2011. Further information is available on the MCL webpage on the Law Faculty’s website. Wow, corporate governance is helping Cambridge move from the 19th to the 21st century. With their help, maybe this will be the century we shift focus to governance. Bob Tricker has often proclaimed the 19th century the entrepreneur’s, 20th century management’s, and 21st that of governance.

We certainly see focus swinging to questions of legitimacy and effectiveness in wielding power worldwide. By the time the 22nd century dawns, corporate power may actually be exercised “in a way that ensures both the effective performance and appropriate social accountability and responsibility… rooted in rigorous and replicable research,” as Tricker envisions. We should all welcome University of Cambridge’s new program.

Activism is an attractive alternative to takeovers as a way to push through corporate change. Two out of three mergers fail to make money for the buyer, and the failures can be spectacular, as seen with AOL Time Warner or the purchase of ABN Amro. The disaster that followed the ABN Amro takeover makes contested takeovers especially unlikely in the financial services industry, leaving activism as the only avenue for change. (Forget corporate governance – vive la révolution, Financial News, 2/14/2011)

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