European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course

Introduction

Corporate finance is omnipresent in today’s global economy, be it for the financing of start-ups, for multi-national company groups that may list shares or bonds to meet their financing needs for ongoing operations, to invest in new R&D projects, or for private equity firms that seek to acquire target companies. The field of corporate finance is, moreover extensively harmonised at the EU level, making it extremely relevant from both a European and national law perspective.

Are you curious about how different financing operations are structured from a legal perspective? Do you want to acquire the practical and theoretical skills needed to be able to negotiate and draft corporate finance documentation? Are you interested in meeting law firms and other market players in this area and building your own network for your future career? If so, the European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course might be right for you.

Application deadline

The application deadline is 30 December 2022, 23h59.

Who can apply?

The European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course is open to Bachelor and Master students that are either registered with the Erasmus University Rotterdam or with other universities. The Excellence Course is for free.

Online environment

Please note that the Excellence Course generally takes place online. However, four in-person events will take place during the course, namely an introduction event in Rotterdam, an excursion to Rotterdam/Amsterdam, an excursion to Paris and the final simulation game in Luxembourg. The excursion to Rotterdam/Amsterdam and the final simulation game in Luxembourg are mandatory, the other two events are optional to attend in person.

Testimonials

We highly value feedback from our participants. That is why we conducted a survey on the first three editions of the Excellence Course.

> Read the testimonials

The European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course offers students the opportunity to gain a deep and practical insight into corporate finance law. Students will learn first-hand and interactively from academics, practitioners and policymakers about:

  • the basic theoretical and legal concepts of corporate finance law, such as the regulation of financing structures.
  • the acquisition of technical skills, for example, the ability to draft and negotiate corporate finance documentation (articles of association, shareholder agreements, loan documentation and so on);
  • the critical evaluation and formulation of policy options in the ambit of corporate finance.

This Course has been the recipient of a Jean Monnet grant by the European Commission for the purpose of promoting excellence in teaching and research in EU studies and equipping students and young professionals with knowledge relevant to their academic and professional lives and civic skills.

Key Facts & Figures

Type
Course
Start date
Not available yet
Duration
5 months
Instruction language
English
Mode of instruction
online

Start dates

28 January 2023

  • Saturday 28 Jan 2023

Corporate finance law is not a fixed area of law. Overall, it focuses on an important part of our economy and thus of our society. At its core is the financing of entrepreneurship and business, i.e., how a company can obtain funds to finance its operations, thereby consisting of the legal rules that structure and regulate such matters. It is therefore not a unitary body of law, but rather a corpus including various other areas of law: general contract law, property law, company law and corporate insolvency law, as well as more specialist regulatory law dealing with securities, takeovers and other similar issues.

An example of a corporate finance matter is the obtainment of the funds that need to be injected into a company when it is incorporated so that it can start its business. At a later stage, a company will require follow-up access to capital in order to finance new operations or to keep its operations running. It is at this juncture that a company is faced with a choice between different financing alternatives: should it obtain a loan from a bank? Should it allow new shareholders to provide equity finance and therefore enter the corporate capital of the company and, if so, on which terms (ordinary shares with voting rights, preference shares with limited voting rights, tracking shares)? Should it issue debt instruments, such as bonds? Should it list either its equity or debt instruments (or both) on a primary market?  

Additionally, corporate finance issues are already engaged when an individual buys shares on the stock market which in turn will be used to finance the operations of a company. The same is the case if an individual invests in a pension fund (or another similar investment) that in turn invests, through equity or debt instruments, into companies. The latter gives rise (at least partially) to what is referred to as the private equity industry, which concerns market players that are specialised in acquiring companies for the benefit of their investors. 

Within the European Union, corporate finance is not only regulated at the national level, but also at EU level. To name a few, relevant legal instruments in this respect include the various EU Company Law Directives, the Takeover Directive, the Prospectus Directive and its accompanying Regulation in the area of information disclosure rules, the Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers regulating managers of private equity houses, as well as the UCITS Directive regulating certain investment funds at the EU level.  

In today’s global and competitive economy, companies need experts who can advise them on the risks, advantages and challenges of the different financing options that are at their disposal. This Excellence Course will equip students with a solid background and understanding of corporate finance law.

Due to the high degree of European harmonisation, participants will gain knowledge that can be applied in all EU Member States’ national jurisdictions. The Excellence Course is therefore equally relevant for students from the Dutch Law Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes as well as for students from other jurisdictions. 

Participants are given the possibility to develop valuable practical skills in drafting and negotiating corporate finance documentation. Equally important, participants will have many opportunities to network with various law firms and other market players that are based in Europe’s most important financial centres. The European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course thereby contributes to the creation of the EU-law-conscious, skilful and connected finance lawyers of tomorrow.

The ideal applicants should have a background in corporate and commercial law or corporate tax law, and their interests should lie at the intersection of law and finance. Furthermore, participants should be hardworking, highly self-motivated and able to put forward own perspectives and analyses with confidence. The Excellence Course is open to Master’s as well as Bachelor’s students.

This Excellence Course offers you the chance to kick-start your career in the corporate finance world. By enabling you to understand corporate finance operations from a legal perspective and to acquire the practical skills necessary for drafting and managing corporate finance documentation, the excellence course can place you in demand internationally and make you an ideal and attractive candidate for many different market players, ranging from international law firms to multi-national companies, banks, private equity houses and regulatory bodies.

An important part of the European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course is to provide its participants with career advice.

The European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course speakers are leading practitioners, academics or policymakers.

The importance of the classes thus lies not only in the transfer of knowledge in the area of corporate finance law, but also in the advice the speakers can give to the participants as regards possible career paths after graduating from university.

The participants will be in touch with leading professionals who work in different countries and cities; in small, medium-sized or large law firms, or for companies; who have obtained their licence to practice law in the Netherlands, the UK, Germany or Luxembourg, or that have decided not to obtain a licence and work for a company, an investment fund or a regulator.

The knowledge classes have the objective to provide the participants with the basics that are needed to work in the legal corporate finance world. The topics are covered from a Dutch, comparative and EU law perspective.

Introduction into European corporate finance

  • Overview of financing options and financing instruments
  • Corporate finance and EU harmonisation
  • Relationship between equity and debt
  • Issuing of shares/capital increase
  • Share redemptions/capital decrease
  • Distribution of dividends  

Corporate finance and listed companies

  • Public offer of shares
  • Public offer of debt
  • Ongoing regulation of capital markets
  • Market abuse regulations
  • Shareholder rights
  • Takeover regulation

Private equity and investment funds

  • Functioning of investment funds
  • Regulation of investment funds
  • Private equity structures​

M&A and private equity

  • Private M&A process
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Term-sheets
  • Due diligence
  • Equity documentation
  • Debt documentation
  • Acquisition document

Ancillary topics

  • Corporate governance
  • Financial collateral regulation
  • Anti-money laundering regulation
  • Corporate taxation
  • Corporate accounting

The skills classes aim to equip students with the necessary practical skills in the area of European corporate finance law, such as the drafting of basic corporate documentation, the reading of company accounts and negotiations.

To the extent possible, the skills classes are built around smaller transactions that allow the students to understand and apply the acquired skills within the context of real-life examples.
This may be in the form of a simulation of an annual shareholder meeting, an incorporation or an acquisition of a company.
The skills classes deal, amongst others, with:

  • Powers of attorney;
  • Resolutions and minutes for company board and shareholder meetings;
  • Articles of association;
  • Contractual documentation such as share purchase agreements and shareholder agreements.

During the course of the programme, the knowledge obtained is often immediately put into practice by means of simulations. During a simulation, participants work together in small teams and represent the positions of different company actors. The teams are required to put their acquired knowledge into practice and are encouraged to think creatively within the confines of their (legal) position. This is often a highly competitive and exhilarating experience that will simultaneously help to consolidate and further build upon the previously acquired legal knowledge.

The simulations are a safe but stimulating environment in which the participants can practice their negotiation and drafting skills. Feedback will be provided by actual practitioners in the field. They also offer valuable insights into how enforcement of corporate finance law is carried out in practice, which is an asset that cannot be accessed by the majority of Bachelor’s and Master’s students. Moreover, this is a great way to work on one's communication and presentation skills and develop one’s self-confidence.

The smaller simulations at the beginning of the Excellence Course prepare the participants for the two big simulation games that together encompass most aspects of a full acquisition. The experience gained will provide students with a competitive advantage and prepare them to work within the field of corporate finance.

There are two main simulation games. The first is a mid-term simulation game that focuses on the negotiation of a shareholder agreement for a start-up company, where the participants represent different founders and investors. The participants do not only learn how to draft a term-sheet and a shareholder agreement, but also basic negotiation strategies.

The final simulation game deals with the takeover of a company and the participants have to apply all the knowledge and skills acquired during the programme, i.e. from the understanding of an M&A process to the drafting of shareholder and share purchase agreements, the governance mechanisms of companies, negotiation strategies and so on.

The networking excursions will provide participants with the opportunity to connect with policymakers, law firms and other market players in the financial centres of Amsterdam/Rotterdam, Paris and Luxembourg.

Both in the middle and the end of the Excellence Course, networking excursions will take place. During these multi-day events, participants will visit various law firms, and financial institutions. By means of various interactive workshops and presentations, the students will learn about substantive finance-related matters and the inner workings of these organisations.

Such excursions moreover provide a great opportunity for participants to show off the knowledge and skills they acquired, interact with the many interesting people that make up these organisations, and learn about the average day of a professional who works in the field of corporate finance. An excursion day often ends with an informal networking activity and, naturally, there will also be opportunities to relax.

Overview of the speakers of the 2021 edition of the Excellence Course

  • Arcidiaco, Daniele - Associate Partner, KPMG Luxembourg
  • Bischoff, Charlie - Partner at Travers Smith
  • Coumans, Dominique  - Associate at Allen & Overy
  • Folkertsma, Jelle - owner of Folkertsma Legal
  • Garcia Nelen, Samuel - Senior Associate at Allen & Overy
  • Gonzales Manso, Diego - Tax advisor at Van Campen Liem
  • Graas, Jacques - Partner at A&O Luxembourg
  • Gullifer, Louise - Professor at University of Cambridge
  • Hale, Chris - Senior Counsel at Travers Smith
  • Heuts, Olav - Partner at CORP
  • Holtricher, Thore - Senior Associate at DLA Piper Frankfurt
  • Keefe, Ian - Partner at Travers Smith
  • Kollbach, Georgia - Associate at PwC
  • Lazard, Laurent  - Partner at BSP
  • Lebbe, Isabelle - Partner at Arendt & Medernach
  • Linse, Gijs - Partner at Allen & Overy
  • Mbayi, Michael - Director at Wildgen S.A.
  • Mock, Sebastian - Professor at Vienna University
  • Noeltner, Philippe - Associate at A&O Luxembourg
  • Orr, Adam - Partner at Travers Smith
  • Pachinger, Stephan  - Partner at Freshfields Frankfurt & Vienna
  • Payne, Jennifer - Professor at Oxford University
  • Peporte, Paul  - Partner at A&O Luxembourg
  • Smit, Dirk-Jan - Managing Partner at Freshfield Amsterdam
  • Søndergaard Birkmose, Hanne - Professor at Aarhus University
  • Tjon Akon, Melvin  - Senior Regulatory Affairs Officer at Luxembourg Stock Exchange
  • Trancho Olabarri, Eduardo  - Tax advisor at Van Campen Liem
  • van Stekelenburgh, Nienke - Partner at Clifford Chance
  • Walker, David - Partner at Latham & Watkins
  • Zijp, Petra - Managing Partner at NautaDutilh Amsterdam

Testimonials

Statements from participants about the Excellence Course based on an anonymous questionnaire conducted for the first three editions of the Excellence Course:

“Amazing experience, really worth it. Recommendable to anyone eager to learn more about life and work of a corporate lawyer, and who wants to build a good network of friends and colleagues.”

''The depth and technicality of the knowledge gained during the course would not have been possible in the regular masters. The size of the group, the practical sessions and the networking events do not feature in traditional university programmes.''

“In my perception, the course provides with the knowledge that is necessary to work as lawyer in a corporate environment. It does not matter whether you will be working with taxation, litigation, or M&A, all the topics covered will somehow be beneficial in those areas.”

“Very complete course with great organisation.; Content wise, this course allows to get a great overview of the technical aspects of Corporate Finance / M&A. The group assignments, interim simulation and final games allowed to get a great insight of the practice. Overall this course equipped us very well for our future careers, especially for the future corporate lawyers.”

“The excellence course was by far one of the best courses during my whole bachelor and the course in which I learnt the most. It gave the students so much knowledge, both theoretical and practical, and so many opportunities to practice those skills. I am really thankful this course was provided and that I had the amazing opportunity to take it.”

“The Skills classes were certainly helpful as the classes offered a unique opportunity to gain practical knowledge on corporate documentation and allowed the participants to practice the drafting of such documentation first-hand. I see this as an asset which might enable me to stand out from other university graduates in the beginning of my career.”

“Being competitive and intensive experiences, the games enabled me to consolidate and further build upon the previously acquired legal knowledge. They were certainly one of the highlights of the Excellence Course.”

''The simulation games have helped me have a helicopter view of the procedures of transactions. This overall and general view of the whole transaction is essential for giving a piece of legal advice.''

“The speakers were an excellent addition to the track, they were happy to answer questions even after the day of their sessions and one in particular has been assisting me with my applications for the upcoming year.”

“Every speaker had a different story, different background, experiences, and it was certainly very inspirational, with determination, motivation and hard work you can go as far as you want.”

“The friendships, bonds and memories I have made during these 5 months are invaluable to me. The knowledge I have gained and the areas of law I have been exposed to have helped me define my future goals! Most importantly, this course has helped all student build our own network that will last us our whole lives […].”

“To me attending the course has been a great opportunity to do an 'aptitude check' and see if corporate finance is the area of law with which I could associate my future academic and professional choices. Having now completed the course, I can firmly (at least for the time being) say that it has been the right pick that left me a lot less doubtful and a lot more excited to become a corporate lawyer. To prepare myself for setting foot in the corporate legal market, I have already made some very conscious and targeted choices, which were in part shaped by my excellence course experience.”

“The most valuable thing that would make me do it again is the connections I made during the course. The admission process to the course proved itself to be very efficient in selecting people who are eager to learn new things, but also to select people who would get along and go for drinks and have fun together.”

“I have been offered an internship at one of the firms we visited during one of our excursions. Even if I hadn't been offered an internship, I still believe that the track is something great to put on your CV and is an excellent topic to focus on in job interviews.”

“Mostly all the students in the track got excellent internships, jobs or they found out what they want to do in the future namely become a lawyer, go for banking, finance or decide to do something different.”

Contact

Dr. Thomas Biermeyer

ECFL Excellence Course Coordinator

Email address
biermeyer@law.eur.nl

Facts & Figures

Fee

No fee

Tax
Not applicable
Start date
Not available yet
Application deadline

30 December 2022

Duration
5 months
Offered by
Erasmus School of Law
Discipline
Law
Course type
Course
Instruction language
English
Mode of instruction
online
Funding

private

Registration

The European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course is aimed at students with a background in corporate law or corporate tax law. Your interests should lie at the intersection of law and finance, and you should be hardworking, highly self-motivated and able to put forward your perspectives and analyses with confidence. The Excellence Course is open to Erasmus University Master’s and Bachelor’s students, as well as to students from other universities. 

  • A total of 30 spots are available. Selection will be based upon the applications received
  • Applying is possible from Friday, 18 November 2022 until Friday 30 December 2022
  • Please add your CV and a letter of motivation to the online application form

For more information, please send an email to biermeyer@law.eur.nl to the attention of Dr. Thomas Biermeyer.

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