strengthening communities
through innovation and education
The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy Celebrates 10 Years
Lowell Milken speaks at the Mini-Conference on Corporate Governance, Tax Law and Nonprofit Law.
Text Link

The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law (LMI) has officially entered its second decade, marked by the Mini-Conference on Corporate Governance, Tax Law and Nonprofit Law on October 30, 2023. After many conversations with UCLA School of Law’s leadership on the vision and needs of a world-class business law and policy institute, alumnus Lowell Milken (’73) provided an establishing gift  in 2011of $10 million. Since, the institute has served UCLA School of Law students, faculty, and the business law community by providing unique and specialized curriculum, symposia, and competitions, distinguishing itself as one of the nation’s most esteemed business law institutions. 

Building off of the initial $10 million gift, Lowell Milken has continued to support the institute’s operations and faculty, expanding opportunities for business professors from the UCLA Anderson School of Management to teach business courses at the law school, such as entrepreneurship, real estate development, and advanced financial analysis. These courses comprise the Business Law and Policy specialization for law students interested in practicing corporate and business law, in which they are offered specialized tracks in bankruptcy and commercial law, corporate law, and taxation

LMI also offers business and law students real-world opportunities outside of the classroom. The Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize, established in 2016 by Lowell Milken and Richard Sandler (’75), is a hallmark team business plan competition at UCLA that fosters entrepreneurship in the UCLA business and law communities. It is designed to recognize student innovation and support the launch of promising new business ventures through mentorship and training sessions, the creation of business plans, and a pitch to final round judges. 

Since its inception, the LMI-Sandler Prize has seen 615 UCLA students compete, including 228 UCLA Law students, all vying for three distinct prizes. The First Place Prize awards each member of the competing team $4,000; for the Second Place Prize, each member is awarded $2,000. The New Venture Prize—added in 2022 to celebrate a venture that has not won an award in any other entrepreneurship competition—awards each team member $2,500. In the most recent 2022-2023 LMI-Sandler Prize Competition, Tetra-C took home First Place, with Popsy taking Second Place and AnyCase receiving the New Venture Prize.

LMI offers students extracurricular opportunities in other areas through its signature events and programs. The institute sponsors various competitions and challenges that provide students with situations similar to what they might encounter in real-world practice. These include the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Negotiation Competition, the Intramural Transactional Law Competition, the UCLA Transactional Law Competition, and the Holland & Knight Joint Venture Challenge, which is co-sponsored by LMI. In these competitions, law students from UCLA and beyond work through bankruptcy cases, real estate transactions, and practice drafting and negotiating business transactions where they act as either buyer or seller,

Outside of student competitions, LMI and UCLA Law annually award three scholarships to students interested in tax and business law and policy: Thomas A Kirschbaum Scholarship in Law Tax, Latham & Watkins Scholarship in Business Law, and Buddy Epstein and Christine Kim Scholarship in Tax Law. These scholarships provide financial support to students who have a demonstrated interest in, and aptitude for, tax and business law and policy. Recipients meet with one another and with UCLA Law alumni and faculty to receive mentorship, coaching, and guidance with respect to their law school studies, job opportunities, and career paths.

All students within LMI are given robust opportunities for professional development. Each January, 1L students take courses in areas adjacent to law, such as Technology for Lawyers or Oral Presentations Outside of the Courtroom, with the goal of improving performance in presentations and oral communication. Students are also invited to the Etiquette Dinner and the Business Law Breakfast and Lunch and Learn Programs, where students are provided necessary information on formal business settings, a venue for discussion of current business law issues, and are taught by experienced practitioners a legal concept or technique that is typically not a focus in core curriculum courses. 

Other avenues for development are found within LMI’s four core student organizations, including the Business Law Association, the Real Estate Law Association, the Tax and Estate Planning Law Association and the Law and Entrepreneurship Association.

As LMI’s extracurricular activities continue to expand, so too does LMI’s contributions to UCLA Law in the classroom. Working with law school faculty to develop new courses that distinguish UCLA Law’s business law specialization, LMI has offered new courses such as Real Estate Transactions, designed for aspiring lawyers that want to explore the fundamentals of real estate finance, investment, and development. Another new course, Silicon Valley Law for Startups, Entrepreneurs and VCs, introduces students to the Silicon Valley ecosystem with the goal of understanding the roles of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and lawyers in the ever-growing ethos of enterprise in Silicon Valley. 

The UCLA Law faculty teaching these and other courses are leading scholars in business law and tax law, authoring books on legal scholarship, history, and contemporary issues, and facilitating important academic conferences that attract scholars across the country. Among these conferences are the NYU/UCLA Tax Policy Symposium, which has recently added the economics department from UC Berkeley, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act at 20, where nine leading scholars presented papers reflecting on the twenty years since the act’s passing. 

As student competitions, organizations, course offerings and faculty scholarship and research continue to grow, LMI has already began further expanding and enriching the lives of business and tax law students and faculty. Launched in 2021-2022, LMI’s Program on Philanthropy and Nonprofits has bolstered the school’s offerings with a number of events and programs for students, academics, and nonprofit leaders. Through conferences like the Conference on the Restatement of the Law, Charitable Nonprofit Organizations and the Annual Western Conference on Tax Exempt Organizations, and courses on tax exempt organizations, the Program on Philanthropy and Nonprofits is set to become a nationally recognized leader in educating the future generation of lawyers on the laws governing nonprofits and philanthropy. 

For more information, visit

previous article

There are no next posts

Go back to blog