Program in Corporate Compliance


The compliance curriculum introduces students to the broad and growing field of compliance work and equips them with the skills and analytical orientation necessary to thrive in the field.

The curriculum consists of a core course, Compliance and Risk Management for Attorneys, and a constellation of subject-specific compliance modules that provide students more focused and practical exposure to hot compliance topics.

Why Enroll in the Program in Corporate Compliance?

There are several innovations in the core compliance course that distinguish it from most traditional law school courses. These features of the course help students develop core competencies that are valuable assets for work in in-house legal and compliance departments. The course is likewise beneficial for students who aspire to work as law enforcers because it helps them to better understand the practices and perspectives of their corporate targets.

  • The course pulls together and synthesizes materials from a variety of different subject matters that are usually taught separately (e.g. financial regulation, environmental law, employment discrimination) to show how compliance issues cut across all areas of law.
  • The course exposes students to critical compliance areas they are unlikely to encounter in other law school classes, like bank secrecy, anti-money laundering, and export controls.
  • We address the inner workings of complex organizations in ways most other law school courses do not. In most law school courses (and in most legal doctrine) the organization is a black box and compliance is binary: it either broke the law or it didn’t. We look at compliance as a process and learn how organizations implement that process.
  • The course highlights compliance pressures other than law that face modern organizations, including from shareholders, activists, communities, media, and social norms.
  • We take a risk management approach that sees compliance as presenting both risks and opportunities to businesses, and we learn how to analyze legal issues through this lens.
  • We utilize case studies and simulation exercises to help students build their skills in analyzing compliance risks, designing and managing internal compliance functions, and counseling organizational clients.
  • We build networks with compliance professionals in the Bay Area to provide students with on-the-ground perspectives on important compliance issues and career development opportunities.

Taking the core compliance course gives students priority to enroll in various “compliance modules” on specialized compliance topics. These are typically 1-2 unit seminars taught by adjuncts who practice in the relevant field. In the last three years, we have offered compliance modules on Privacy, Corporate Criminal Enforcement and Defense, Health Law Compliance, Corporate Governance, Financial Risk Management, and Business & Human Rights. The overarching goal of the compliance curriculum is to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the central role attorneys play in ensuring organizational compliance, to generate excitement about career opportunities in this field, and to give students the tools they need to pursue these opportunities.

Faculty Director

Professor Jodi Short