Immersive Learning: Vice Chancellor Fioravanti's Corporate Litigation Bootcamp at Maryland Carey

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Vice Chancellor Paul A. Fioravanti Jr. ’97 offered students a remarkable opportunity when he brought his Corporate Litigation Bootcamp to Maryland Carey students this spring semester. Focusing on improving practical skills that are essential for real-world corporate legal practice, the interactive simulation course bridged the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. While the traditional lecture-style courses have long been the cornerstone of law school curricula, Vice Chancellor Fioravanti’s bootcamp is on the cutting edge of a growing emphasis on practical skills where interactive simulation courses have emerged as a compelling alternative. 

The Vice Chancellor drew upon his twenty-one years of experience as a corporate litigator and nearly four years on the Delaware Court of Chancery to devise a course unlike any other offerings at the school. Held over the course of four days, the course immersed the students in expedited stockholder litigation. The class was divided into two law firms, one representing the putative stockholder class and the other representing the corporation and its board of directors.   

Vice Chancellor Fioravanti began the course with an overview of the Delaware Court of Chancery, its equitable roots, and its limited jurisdiction, followed by a discussion of how corporate and commercial cases are framed and litigated.  The course was designed to foster the development of practical skills such as reading corporate documents and SEC filings, formulating a discovery plan, and effectively negotiating with one’s opponent. to name a few. The class was presented with a hypothetical corporate case along with a proxy statement, certificate of incorporation, and bylaws and tasked with taking the case from inception through a preliminary an injunction proceeding.  The practical skills component of the class was complemented with lecture and discussion of applicable statutory authority, procedural rules, and best practices for any type of litigation.  On day two, each firm briefed a motion to expedite and presented oral argument that evening. Over the next two days, the students were required to brief a motion for a preliminary injunction and to negotiate over the scope of discovery, including the identification of document custodians, search terms for electronically stored information, and deponents.  On the final day of class, each firm presented argument on the injunction motion before a panel of three judges, consisting of the Vice Chancellor and his law clerks, Callan Foran and Nathan Whitthorne.  The panel provided constructive feedback following the argument and discussed the clerkship experience. 

The boot camp provided students with a taste of the challenges they may face in their future Business Law careers. This experiential learning approach tested students’ problem-solving abilities and exposed the class to the real-life challenges lawyers face, such as time management and working collaboratively toward a specific goal. Having only a few hours to file a motion was wholly new for the students.  Having to develop and deliver their work product utilizing broad corporate legal principles, case law, Court of Chancery Rules, and organic corporate documents was also a novel experience for students. 

The interactive bootcamp offered immediate feedback allowing students to learn from their mistakes and refine their skills in a supportive environment. Students affirmed that Vice Chancellor Fioravanti was “very much the expert” on the topic and they valued the challenges and information he presented.  Maya Vazquez ’24 commented, “this class, of course, is helpful for those students who wish to practice corporate litigation. However, Vice Chancellor Fioravanti structured the Bootcamp in such a way that anyone, regardless of their preferred practice area, will be better prepared for a career in law. From our discussions about how to conduct oneself in the courtroom, to the practical, hands-on exercises in expedited discovery and negotiation, I am leaving the course more confident in my research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.”  

Vice Chancellor Fioravanti was impressed with the quality of the presentations and the interest of the students.  He noted, “This was designed as a challenging course to give students a real-life scenario in the fast-paced world of corporate and commercial litigation.  The class met the challenge and, hopefully, learned basic skills that will serve them well at any level of practice.”