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Hunter agrees: "I think that it's important for MBAs to understand how lawyers approach problems of regulation and law in order to understand more clearly why lawyers advise them the way they do. Many of my MBA students go off to found dot-com start-ups, or are involved in e-commerce plays of various descriptions, and virtually all of these involve some kind of legal or regulatory issue. So MBA students will inevitably be involved in business planning, within the context of attorneys and legal advice. It will be an exercise in working together constructively."

Rubin and Hunter view the course as a way of developing both law and business theory by having students look at the kind of interactions they're engaged in and the thought processes they're occupied with while trying to solve problems involved in e-commerce, then applying the solutions to the exercise.

As a sign of Rubin's evolving interest in the nexus of law and technology, he presented a paper at a conference at Southern Methodist University Law School last year on "Computer Language as Networks and Power Structures: Governing the Development of XML," that will be published in 2000.

He is particularly intrigued by the concept of companies transacting business without traditional legal constraints. "The removal of constraints, because they no longer apply in the economics world, will change political structures and restructure the manufacturing process in the future."

Rubin imagines a brave new world where business people work in tandem with lawyers to achieve their goals. He envisions a shift away from the concentration of analytical and creative energy applied to moving along a plodding manufacturing process, for example, to removing constraints that forestall transactions.

"This is the goal of the simulation method," Rubin explains, "to get students to work the problem through to identify and remove constraints." This experiment in collaboration looks promising, and bodes well for a future in which innovation and innovative thinking will be the currency of business transactions that cross borders and specialties.

"In addition to learning the concept," Rubin continues, "students are going to learn how to relate as lawyers to business-oriented people. Learning how to function as lawyers is going to be more central to the success of their careers than any particular body of legal knowledge."