Quantitative Methods: Finance
This course covers some of the central ideas in modern finance with a particular focus on the time value of money. Topics include present value and future value analysis, discounting, net present value, "IRR", bond valuations, and a critique of other project valuation methods. Along with a brief overview of "market fundamentals" and an introduction to the vocabulary of modern "popular finance" (as found in such publications as the Wall Street Journal), additional topics include diversification, the risk-return trade-off, portfolio performance measurement, and market efficiency. Issues of arbitrage and tax considerations are considered as time allows. Each topic is introduced with an emphasis on applications in legal settings. The course is intended to provide students with very little or no background in finance with the essential vocabulary, tools, and insights to spot "finance related issues" in various legal practice areas. The problem sets, class discussions, and applied hypotheticals should allow students to develop the skills necessary to ask the right questions when confronted with problems that involve elements of modern finance. Special Instructions: You are expected to have little or no background in finance or related areas prior to taking this course. Required math skills are very modest (low-level high school algebra, at most) and students will rely mainly on the use of Excel and/or financial calculators for simple calculations.