University of Southern California
Marshall School of Business
FBE 429 International Business Law
Instructor: C. Kerry Fields
Office: HOH 701B
OH: MW: 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
W: 5:45 – 6:15 p.m.
and by appointment
Time: MW 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Location: HOH 303
This course will require students to consider how the markets, people, and places
involved in trade, commerce, and exchanges throughout the world influences
international business. Students will become aware of the effect that different cultural,
political, and economic aspects of business have on each other. The course will require
students to think how different international laws affect the way our own country and
countries throughout the world do business. Specifically, students will examine such
topics as the ethics of international law, international commercial dispute resolution,
national import and export regulations, international contract law, financial transactions,
transport of goods, law of intellectual rights, and antitrust.
Other than an interest in learning about the legal and regulatory environment in which
business is conducted, there are no prerequisites for this course.
Course Goals and Objectives
The purpose of this course is to provide you with practical legal knowledge of specific
substantive international business law topics and current legal trends and issues. This
course is structured on the premise that legal knowledge is a personal and strategic asset.
The student will secure the knowledge necessary to effectively work in private and public
business entities by acquiring a sound grasp of the relevant concepts, legal vocabulary,
and rules of law that apply. The course provides the long-term benefit of spotting
potential legal problems and issues.
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At the conclusion of the course, students will have covered a substantial range of legal
topics within the international business environment. Students will have improved their
deductive reasoning skills and knowledge of both basic and advanced topics within the
subject matter presented. Students will be able to identify and analyze legal issues using
sophisticated approaches to case studies. Both lecture and Socratic methods of instruction
are employed during class. Students will contribute to their own learning activities by
presenting case studies to the class during lecture. They will be taught traditional methods
of legal analysis of case studies. Actual cases will be assigned to the students to analyze
for the legal issues presented, the legal procedural and substantive laws pertaining to
those issues, undertake a thorough analysis and present in PowerPoint form their findings
to the class.
Attendance and Preparation: Students are expected to read each week’s reading and
case assignments prior to class, and be prepared to discuss and examine them. In order to
make the class periods as engaging as possible, there will be a concentration on the
application of the material. Thus, it is expected that students will have read the material
in advance. Students should always proceed to the next reading assignment whether the
previous reading has been fully discussed in class. Students should also prepare
thoroughly before class, making sure that they are clear on each concept as they progress
through the course.
Attendance checks: If a component for attendance is included below as a grading
criterion, then, students do not need to email me in advance that the student will miss
class on a particular day. We will take one extra attendance check during the semester so
that each student may have a personal excuse for not making a class. Such prior email
notice to me is required only if a student were to miss several classes in a row for
legitimate, verifiable reasons. In all cases regarding attendance I reserve the right to
make a decision based upon the exercise of my sole discretion.
On-line Support: The course materials are presented on the course BlackBoard site as
a. The materials are grouped by learning units.
b. Each unit will contain a folder in which there are the following sub-folders:
i. Course Lecture Slides.
ii. Lecture Notes are supplementary learning materials for your study
of the material. The nature of these materials will vary over the
length of the course.
c. During the semester additional class material and support will be provided on
USC’s iTunes website.
Grading Criteria, Exams, Assignments and Course Policy
FBE 429 Syllabus Sp.07.rev.1.10.07 2
The course is based on the following criteria:
Activity Max points Number of questions
1st Midterm Exam 160 40
2nd Midterm Exam 160 40
Research Paper 80
Team Presentation 40
Attendance (4 out of 5) 40
Final Exam 120 40
Total Points 600
Exam and Paper Dates
Exam Date Time
1st Midterm Exam February 12, 2007 12:00 –1:50 p.m.
2nd Midterm Exam March 26, 2007 12:00 –1:50 p.m.
Turn-in date for paper April 16, 2007 Start of Lecture (12:00 p.m)
Final Exam May 4, 2007 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Exams, Course Policy, and Office Hours
Exams: The examinations are non cumulative While every examination will ask students
to recognize definitions, the focus of the examinations will be on the application of the
legal principles that have previously been encountered in the course. In preparing for an
examination, students should know the legal principles provided in all the materials and
concentrate on applying them. Students will be given fact patterns as to which the legal
principles must be applied in a thoughtful manner to answer the question. They will be
asked to select the most appropriate answer. Sometimes two seemingly identical choices
are encountered so students must select the better of the two under the facts presented.
Students are strongly encouraged to form and use a study group in their learning of the
material, well in advance of the exam dates. Law study requires such cooperative
learning because it will assist student in identifying their areas of weakness in advance.
Students’ grades for this course depend upon their performance and the grading standards
and policies of the Marshall School of Business, and the academic policies and
procedures of the University. The undergraduate program of the Marshall School of
Business enforces a policy regarding the distribution of grades for all required and
elective courses. For elective courses, such as this one, the policy is that the average
grade will be 3.3. There is no specific guideline with respect to the number or percentage
of any specific grade given or the numbers of persons who pass or fail the course. Thus,
discretion is given to each instructor regarding the assignment and distribution of grades,
so long as the 3.3 GPA is attained.
As to their ongoing status in the class, students will receive a grade but the more
important performance predictor will be their class rank. Rank is more important than
FBE 429 Syllabus Sp.07.rev.1.10.07 3
the interim letter grade because at the end of the semester, all pending letter grades are
“curved” to ensure compliance with these policies. (e.g. if there are too many scores at a
particular letter and grade point, then the cut-off for a letter grade is raised and the scores
below that cutoff require that a reduced letter grade(s) be assigned to ensure compliance
with the 3.3 GPA cap. That is why rank is a better predictor of a student’s performance.
Once these curves are in place, they will not be reset to accommodate individual requests.
No relief will be granted on that basis. Grades are not open to negotiation. Petitions for
exceptions or understanding of your particular needs to attain a higher grade for some
reason will not be honored. What is done for one student must be done for all, and the
result is that if one student’s grade is adjusted, so will all other students’ grades.
Ultimately, all students would end up with the same grade due to the Marshall grade
Class Participation: Students are expected to be actively engaged in their learning.
Students will participate in class discussions and will be assigned presentations to make
to the class. Teams will make presentations in selected topics throughout the semester.
These presentations are very short in length and are intended to provide information of
topical interest to other class members. A separate handout will be provided to students
during the first week of class. In the interim, review the reading and assignments list.
Research Paper: Students will select a proposed research topic on employment or labor
law during the first two weeks of class. I will approve the topic. The student’s research
paper should be of at least 8-10 pages in length, double-spaced and in appropriate MLA
format. The paper will be submitted through the USC Turnitin site. The paper must have
at least three outside sources, not including the textbook or course materials. All material
should be cited and proper attribution given to outside sources. Suitable topics for review
will be discussed during the first two weeks of class. A useful source of possible topics is
to review the table of contents of the textbook and find a current topic of interest.
Academic Integrity: Any use of external assistance during an examination shall be
considered academically dishonest. The following are considered unacceptable
examination behaviors: communication with fellow students during an examination,
copying materials from another student’s exam, allowing another student to copy from an
exam, possession or use of unauthorized notes, electronic or other dictionaries during
exams. The University’s Student Conduct Code will be strictly applied. Students cannot
achieve grades that they have not legitimately earned. Part of Marshall’s mission is to
remind you of the value systems that will regulate your business life, and breaching
ethical standards cannot be condoned.
Makeup Exams and Grading Issues: Make-up midterms will be given only in
exceptional circumstances and will require my prior written permission. Your failure to
obtain such permission is your responsibility. Student-athletes and others with verifiable
schedule conflicts with the exam schedule must make arrangements between us one week
prior to an exam date. If you fail to note the version of the exam on your Scantron you
will be graded as Version 1. No protests of unclear erasures of Scantron answers will be
FBE 429 Syllabus Sp.07.rev.1.10.07 4
If you disagree with a posted answer, you must do the following within 24 hours of the
posting of the answer key:
• email me with the following information:
o the class name
o the version number of the test,
o the question involved,
o your complete analysis and argument of why your choice is the best of
those presented within 1 calendar day of the examination.
• No further discussion of the answers will be entertained as the curve will be set
for the class one day following the examination.
If there is an error in the grading of your examination or a failure to properly record and
post your grade, you must advise me by email within three business days of the
examination. If you fail to note the version of the exam on your Scantron you will be
graded as Version 1.
Disability Accommodations: Any student requesting academic accommodations based
upon a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each
semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from
DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to me as early in the semester as possible.
DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.
Please provide the appropriate form one week in advance of an examination.
If you are taking an examination at the DSP office and believe that a question is unclear,
incomplete, ambiguous or otherwise defective, you are advised that additional pages will
be attached to the examination placed at DSP. If you are making such a contention, then,
you are required to clearly state the problem you encountered with the question and why
you answered the question in the manner you did. Only with such information in hand at
the time I grade your examination will I be able to gauge the appropriateness of giving
you credit for your answer to the subject question.
Office Hours: If students have any questions about the material covered in the class they
should not hesitate to see me. However, if a student cannot make the regular office
hours, they should send me an e-mail to schedule an appointment. I can also be reached
at 213-740-9307 where students should leave a message on his voice mail with their
name and phone number (with area code). My teaching responsibilities make it nearly
impossible for him to promptly respond to student’s telephone calls, although he will
make a good faith effort to do so. Email is the preferred method to contact me, as the
messages are checked daily.
International Business Law (Second Edition)
Author: Larry A. DiMatteo & Lucien J. Dhooge
FBE 429 Syllabus Sp.07.rev.1.10.07 5
Publisher: Thomson West
Course Outline and Assigned Readings
Specific weekly assignments and readings are set forth in the separate Reading
Assignments document posted on Blackboard under Course Documents.
1. Check the dates of your final examinations. No makeup for a final examination
will be given, with the following exceptions:
a. If the student can establish to my satisfaction that the student has three
final examinations on the same day one is scheduled for this class.
The current policy of the University of Southern California is to
reschedule one of three regularly scheduled final exams on one day;
b. if the student can establish to my satisfaction there is a verifiable
conflict with any other regularly scheduled examination during the
final exam period for this class; or,
c. in the context of extenuating circumstances with my prior written
permission given in advance of the examination. Verifiable proof will
be required to evidence the basis for such a request.
d. Note the foregoing does not apply to midterm examinations or the
dates other assessments are due.
2. No recording and copyright notice. No student may record any lecture, class
discussion or meeting with me without my prior express written permission. The
word “record” or the act of recording includes, but is not limited to, any and all means
by which sound or visual images can be stored, duplicated or retransmitted whether
by an electro-mechanical, analog, digital, wire, electronic or other device or any other
means of signal encoding. I reserve all rights, including copyright, to my lectures,
course syllabi and related materials, including summaries, prior exams and all
supplementary course materials available to the students enrolled in my class whether
posted on Blackboard or otherwise.
3. The material presented and the classroom discussions are for the students’
edification. They are not intended to be legal advice to students in connection with
any legal issue they or others may have. If students have a legal matter, they are
advised to promptly consult an experienced attorney who can confidentially and fully
review the facts and advise them of their legal rights and remedies. Quite often, the
facts dictate the result and only in the context of an attorney-client relationship can
they be reviewed and legal opinions rendered.
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