Fundamentally, business is exchange based on the sale of goods and services governed by contracts between buyers and sellers. Increasingly, trading partners and operating efficiencies require Small Business to contract electronically. To survive and grow, small business must participate in wider domestic markets and in the entire global marketplace, and they are doing so already. “Collectively, 239,287 small businesses are known to have been involved in the export business in 2006… These companies constituted 97.3% of all known exporters, and they engaged in $260 billion in known transactions….”
Relatedly, small business owners believe that using technology to buy and sell gives them a competitive advantage in the world market. In widening their markets, small business is unusually dependent on e-commerce, which means marketing, trading, and paying on the Web. Indeed, for any type of business to “experience significant economic expansion, there is a need…across the country to rapidly adapt…by utilizing technology and e-commerce.” For some domestic and international sales, the processes of buying and selling and making the contracts to sell are completely digital and occur “in the cloud.” In addition to widening markets, technology and e-commerce may significantly help cut the costs of business by reducing transaction costs and enabling small business to more efficiently manage supply chains.
Several years ago, the legal business itself began moving to the Web. Law firm websites market to prospective clients and provide a widening range of services to existing clients. Some sites allow clients to log in and track the progress of their case or work product, or to help produce documents online. To aid in large commercial transactions, some firms now utilize secure, online document databases to disseminate confidential information to people doing business with clients. Similar software programs assist firms and their clients with electronic discovery. Some sites prescreen interested clients through a basic interview process. For the most current news, attorney weblogs address hot topics on a daily basis. These and many other uses of the Internet are furthering the evolution of “cyberlawyering,” helping lawyers and business clients work more efficiently and effectively.
Robust cyberlawyering, however, is mainly limited to large law firms representing mostly large businesses. Small business has not significantly experienced the benefits and cost savings of functionally networking with their lawyers in cyberspace. Their lawyers need to learn how to help clients do business electronically and on the Web, and how to usefully, digitally, profitably connect themselves to their clients.
This course focuses on how these modern processes work in small business and also teaches the growing bodies of new American and international law that governs Internet selling, electronic data exchange, electronic payments, and digital signatures, that, help define the future of contracting and commerce for small business. The course also explores the ways and means of managing law office practice to provide services electronically to small business clients consistent with best practices and professional ethics.
 Chad Moutray, Looking Ahead: Opportunities and Challenges for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Owners, 31 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 763, 775 (2009).
 Ralph A. Pope, Why Small Firms Export: Another Look, 40 J. Small Bus. Manag. 17 (2002).
 Prashanth Nagendra Bharadwaj and Ramesh G. Soni, E-Commerce Usage and Perception of E-Commerce Issues among Small Firms: Results and Implications from an Empirical Study, 45 J. Small Bus. Manag. 501 (2007).
 Justin D. Leonard, Cyberlawyering and the Small Business, 7 J. Small & Emerging Bus. L. 323, 339 (2003).