Certificate in Business Law

This page describes the requirements to obtain a certificate in Business Law and provides links to the documents that must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by February 1st for a May graduation date or October 31st for a January graduation date.

The certificate requirements for students who graduated prior to July 2022 can be found here.

Please also visit the Business Law program page for general information about Business Law at Lewis & Clark Law School.



Certificate in Business Law

The Certificate in Business Law (the “Certificate”), which will be awarded to qualified Lewis & Clark Law School students at graduation, recognizes successful focus of their studies within the Business Law curriculum. A student who satisfies the requirements for the Certificate will be entitled to a certificate denominated “Certificate in Business Law.” Students also have the option of concentrating their study of Business Law in one of six designated subfields by meeting certain requirements, in which case the Certificate will identify the relevant area as a “Concentration.” Students who believe that they will fulfill the requirements must complete an application that is available from the Registrar.

Requirements for the Certificate

Students qualify for the Certificate by satisfying the course, paper, and grade point average requirements set forth below.

A. Course Requirements

Core Requirement

Students pursuing the Certificate must take 113 Business Associations I.

Foundational Courses

Students must also take three classes from the following list:


Students must earn five additional credits in courses within the Business Law curriculum or business-related externships or clinics. Such elective credits may be earned in any of the foundational courses listed above that are not used to satisfy the foundational course requirement, or in any of the following additional courses or clinics:

Please note that curricular offerings and titles may change from time to time and the fact that a class is listed above does not necessarily mean that it will be offered during the period when the student is pursuing the Certificate. Classes not on the list may be deemed to count as an elective for the Certificate in the discretion of the Certificate Administrator. In exceptional cases a combination of Business Law courses, or a combination of Business Law coursework and externship experience in the field of a foundational course, may be deemed to take the place of a foundational course, provided there is no double counting toward Certificate requirements. Students should seek the approval of the Certificate Administrator in advance of registering for any course or combination of courses that do not automatically satisfy Certificate requirements, to ensure that the course or courses will qualify.

Externships: Students may satisfy two of the five elective credits required for the Certificate by the use of credits earned through an externship involving a substantial Business Law element, with the approval of the Certificate Administrator.

Transfer Credits: Course credit may also be allowed, with the approval of the Certificate Administrator, for one course, of up to three units of credit, taken at another law school. In that event, only the credit earned for that course will be applied to the Certificate; the grade earned for the course will not be counted in determining the student’s GPA for the Certificate.

Ungraded Courses: With the exception of externship credits, and unless approved by the Certificate Administrator, no more than four units of credit (including units transferred from another law school) used to qualify for the Certificate may be taken on a credit/no credit basis.  

Dual Certificates: Students may not use credits from a class toward satisfaction of the Certificate requirements if they are using those credits toward satisfaction of the requirements for another certificate at Lewis & Clark. In no event may students earn a Business Law Certificate and a certificate in Federal Tax Law, Intellectual Property Law, or Energy, Innovation and Sustainability. A student whose course and paper selections qualify for the Business Law Certificate and a certificate in Federal Tax Law, Intellectual Property Law, or Energy, Innovation and Sustainability must elect one of those certificates only.

B. Writing Requirement

Students must complete one substantial research paper exclusively on one or more topics relating to Business Law. To qualify, the paper must be a significant written product that demonstrates thorough research, the ability to synthesize and report on that research, the ability to engage in complex legal and critical analysis, and sophisticated writing skills. It must also be one of the following: (a) a paper written to fulfill course requirements in a class approved for the Certificate, (b) an Individual Research paper, for a minimum of two semester hours, or (c) a paper written to fulfill course requirements in a course not specifically approved for the Certificate. Students who plan to fulfill the writing requirement with options (b) or (c) must have the approval of the Certificate Administrator. When the approval of the Certificate Administrator will be needed it is highly recommended that such approval be sought before writing the paper. Papers not written for graded credit do not satisfy this requirement.

C. Grade Point Requirement

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of B (3.00) or better in classes taken and selected as qualifying for the Certificate. To obtain the Certificate “with Distinction,” a student must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.67 or better in courses that are taken and submitted to satisfy the requirements of the Certificate.

No credits transferred from another law school and accepted for use toward a Certificate, or credits for a class taken on a credit/no credit basis and approved by the Certificate Administrator, will be used in computing the grade point average.

Requirements for a Concentration within the Certificate

Students seeking the Certificate have the option (but not the obligation) to concentrate their Certificate-related studies in one of the following subfields within Business Law: Corporate Law; Commercial Transactions; Estate Planning; Health Law; and Labor & Employment Law. (Further opportunities for specialization are available in other areas of Business Law by pursuing one of the separate certificates in Energy, Innovation, and Sustainability Law; Intellectual Property Law; International Law; or Tax Law.) To qualify for a Concentration, students must complete the relevant curricular track identified below, while still fulfilling any other Certificate requirements. Courses may be taken in any order, unless one is a prerequisite for the other. Students may not substitute any of the courses in the relevant track with an externship, even if the externship counts toward the basic Certificate. However, students may substitute one course taken at another law school or one course taken at Lewis & Clark that is not on the designated track but nevertheless deals substantially with the relevant subfield, with the approval of the Certificate Administrator. If a student uses a course taken at another law school for this purpose, then the student may not use any other course taken at another law school to fulfill a Certificate requirement. It is recommended that students seek approval from the Certificate Administrator in advance of registering for a course that does not automatically qualify, if they intend to use the course for a Concentration.

Students pursuing a Concentration are encouraged to write the paper used to fulfill their Certificate writing requirement on a topic in their chosen subfield, if they can find a faculty member to supervise it, but this is not a requirement.

In some cases obtaining a particular Concentration may not be feasible because a required course is not be offered during the window of time available to the student. Students will maximize their chances of completing Concentration requirements by planning their schedules as far ahead as possible.

Corporate Law Track

Commercial Transactions Track

Estate Planning Track

Health Law Track

Labor & Employment Law Track

Page last updated 6/13/23