Mitchell Book about Corporate Practice Reflects O&T Goals and Approach

Organizations and Transactions Clinic director Jay A. Mitchell recently published a book about corporate and transactional practice. He offers here some observations about how the book reflects O&T goals, approaches, and practices.

Mitchell Book about Corporate Practice Reflects O&T Goals and Approach 1
An excerpt concerning common workplace terminology

Picturing Corporate Practice is targeted to students interested in corporate and transactional work, and to lawyers new to the field. It reflects our O&T objective of preparing students for their 2L summers and early years in the firm.

The book’s content and design in many ways comes right out of the clinic:

  • It suggests ways of thinking about and approaching corporate work, and includes a lot of vocabulary, how-things-work information, and practical suggestions for the new lawyer. The idea is to help readers start to get their hands around the job.
  • Chapter topics — advice development, transaction planning, working with legal documents, board meeting preparation, SEC filings, litigation (from a corporate perspective), corporate pro bono, and client service — largely parallel the O&T curriculum, client base, and docket.
  • The book offers ideas for using visual approaches in dealing with problems, plans, and documents across corporate practice. It includes over 50 diagrams, timelines, and other visuals. (We work at the whiteboard, all the time, in O&T.)
  • It uses an informal writing style, reflecting our preference for plain language.
  • The book is set up in a landscape, plenty-of-white-space format, as are many O&T work-products, in line with our emphasis on document design and reader experience. (I collaborated with a graphic designer in doing the book.)
Mitchell Book about Corporate Practice Reflects O&T Goals and Approach 2
An excerpt suggesting how a visual can help a lawyer understand a complex document

In addition, five former O&T students — Melissa Magner (’08), Andrew Hall (’09), Jordan Bowler (‘11), David Moore (’13), and Erin Cho (’15) — served as the principal reviewers of the manuscript, and clinic students in recent quarters served as sounding boards. Another SLS student, Mei Li (’15), worked closely with me in developing the prototype for the piece.

I’m extraordinarily fortunate to have had these folks as sources of ideas, encouragement, and help — they markedly improved the book. And their contributions reflect yet another aspect of the clinic: collaboration and intense feedback directed toward improvement of a written product. I’m deeply grateful to them for their criticisms, suggestions, support, and good cheer.

Picturing Corporate Practice is published by West Academic Publishing.