HM supports University of Strathclyde with UK’s first family business law class

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HM's Head of Business Advisory, Donald Munro.

Harper Macleod has assisted the University of Strathclyde in launching the UK’s first course teaching legal services and advice for family businesses.

The elective class is teaching students the distinctive legal implications for family-run businesses, such as start-up, growth, succession and transfer of ownership. The course is one of many practice focussed electives being pioneered by the University as part of the new Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

Our Head of Business Advisory, Donald Munro, who created the course, will be joined by Strathclyde Law School academics, other  practitioners and members of the Scottish Family Business Association (SFBA) in delivering the course. Areas it will cover include:

• planning for succession
• resolution of disputes and mediation
• incentives for businesses’ non-family members
• funding of family business

According to SFBA, 45% of the UK’s GDP is produced by family enterprises, 50% of Scotland’s private sector workforce is employed by family businesses and 25% of Europe’s 100 largest businesses are family firms.

Donald Munro commented: “The launch of this course will have a positive impact on generations of family businesses to come as, until now, there has been no dedicated course to help aspiring lawyers understand the often complex issues family businesses can face. By better educating our peers, we can ensure family businesses are receiving the best advice and guidance possible.”

Professor Leo Martin, Co-Director of Legal Practice Courses at Strathclyde Law School said: “Family enterprise makes a vast contribution to the economy, not only through small-scale businesses but also major names in fields such as food, motoring and haulage.

“However, having a family influence in a business can make it quite different to those which have mainly commercial and corporate considerations- this makes it essential for them to know about how the law can support their interests and about the legal pitfalls they could face.   

“We are addressing an unmet need for many businesses which will bring economic gains and will broaden the skills base of the lawyers of the future who are being trained at Strathclyde”

SFBA CEO Martin Stepek said: “I am delighted that the University of Strathclyde’s Law School is pioneering the education of law students about family enterprises. This reflects not only the innovative spirit of the law school and the University of Strathclyde in general, but the steady progress and development of deep-rooted understanding of family enterprises in Scotland.

“The launch of the family business law elective is another significant step to creating in Scotland a culture of highest-level service to family enterprises that I hope one day will be the envy of the world.”

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