• Seth C. Oranburg

    Juris Doctor, University of Chicago, with honors


    Associate Professor of Law
    Director of the JD/MBA Joint Degree Program
    Director of the Business Essentials Program
    Fellow in the Carl G. Grefenstette Center for Ethics in Science, Technology and Law
    Duquesne University


    Director of the Program in Organizations, Business, and Markets
    Classical Liberal Institute at New York University School of Law


  • Law Courses Offered

    Associate Professor of Law, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

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    Contracts A to Z

    A Digital-First Approach

    Contract law asks when and how law should enforce voluntary agreements between people. I offer this course at Duquesne University in both a hybrid modality (1/3 "flipped" online videos, 2/3 live online discussion) and an in-person modality with a HyFlex option (students can attend online with prior ABA authorization). This course prepares first-year students for the bar and for upper-level transactional courses including Venture Capital.

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    Business Associations

    Agency, Partnership, Corporations, and Limited Liability Companies

    Business Associations explains why artificial entities such as corporations are useful ("efficient"), then teaches you how to form, authorize, and sue corporations and, in more limited circumstances, corporate managers.

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    Financial Toolkit for Lawyers

    Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management, and Leadership

    "FinTK" provides a set of financial tools to law students who may be otherwise unfamiliar with financial concepts and teaches them how to use these tools in the practice of law and to make personal financial decisions. 

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    Venture Capital: Financing the Start-Up

    Entrepreneurship and Business Planning for the Transactional Attorney

    "Start-up" describes a wide range of enterprises from a new local pizza shop to the next Amazon.com. This course draws on my experiences practicing start-up business planning, venture finance, and mergers & acquisitions. Students take an experiential teaching approach to learn how lawyers support start-up activities.

  • Technology Interests

    Digital native and technophile with long-term interests in a wide range of cutting-edge technologies

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    Artificial Intelligence

    When Devices Make Decisions

    Commercial law presumes some human agency to create contractual liability. Yet smart devices and intelligent things are responsible for a trillion dollars of commerce.

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    An Immutable Accounting Ledger

    Double-entry accounting is superseded by the blockchain, a form of triple-entry accounting that enables self-enforcing transactions. Blockchain began with Bitcoin but does not end there.

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    Cloud Computing

    Web 2.0 and Beyond

    As computer processing and file storage shift to the cloud, we own less and rent more intellectual property. This allows smaller businesses to start and scale—while putting control of the cloud itself in the hands of just a few very large corporations.

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    Decentralized Finance

    In What Do We Trust?

    Central banks have established national "fiat" currencies since Roman times. But the era of central banking might be over as new digital currencies, powered by blockchain technology, take over.

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    Non-Fungible Tokens

    The End of Ownership?

    Digital goods are different from physical ones in that the latter are rivalrous, meaning scarce, whereas digital clones are infinite. Art entrepreneurs are trying to recreate virtual scarcity with NFTs.

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    Personalized Medicine

    Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals

    Rare diseases have something in common: they are understudied. New medical technologies can cure disease by seeing how genomes, environment, and behaviors interact—if we allow large-scale collection of health data about individuals and entire populations.

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    Whose Data Is It?

    Corporations and governments might learn a lot from your online habits. Where does and should law stop websites from tracking and analyzing you?

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    User Licenses

    Did You Read the ToS?

    I bet you didn't read this website's Terms of Service. If you even remember a pop-up box, you clicked "I read it" without really reading anything. Should those contracts be legally binding?

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    Virtual Reality

    An Oasis in the Multiverse

    People spend a lot of time online including doing business on Zoom and striking deals in massive multiplayer online (MMO) games and worlds. Let's explore how virtual reality changes commercial intentions and behaviors.

  • Research Domains

    Papers available on my SSRN page and via Google Scholar

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    A Capital Idea

    Never since Robert Bork redefined antitrust in the 1970s as the protection of competition, not competitors, has antitrust law seen such interest and upheaval as now. Corporations like Amazon and Apple control not only markets but entire marketplaces, and since everything is "free," you pay with privacy instead of dollars, making it hard to act rationally.

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    Do We Have a Deal?

    Contracts are voluntary obligations that the law will enforce. I find it fascinating to ask why people would invite the law into their private affairs in this way, and what value that provides. New forms of contracts such as "smart contracts" do not actually require the law to act or judges to rule. Why are these self-enforcing agreements gaining ground?

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    Let's Build Something New

    There are two kinds of entrepreneurs: the first sees a better way to organize property and labor. The second wants to build a better mousetrap. The latter type of entrepreneur (a "Schumpeterian" entrepreneur) is the traditional target for venture capital investment, but my research is also interested in the everyday "Kirznerian" entrepreneur.

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    Crowdfunding, Investing, Stock Markets, Banking, Decentralized Finance, and Its Regulation

    Financial securities are instruments through which one person earns a profit by the labor of another. In return for the risk of losing money invested, investors have a chance at earning a great reward. This separation of capital and labor is the foundation of capitalism. Such investment fuels growth and create opportunities for new wealth. Yet it is also a highly regulated activity because investing is fraught with peril. Traditionally, regulators policed against fraud, but as ordinary investors increasingly dabble in day trading and exotic securities, regulators are increasingly tempted to police against risk.

  • Academic Programs

    What I'm Working On

    Business Micro-Credential for Lawyers

    Business Essentials Micro-Credential for Lawyers @ Duquesne University

    Expand Your Horizons by Earning a Micro-Credential while Building Business Acumen

    Law is part of life as a society; our law students receive the training to become stewards of justice and advocates of the good for all. Business is likewise fundamentally important and is observed in all facets of life. The School of Law is pleased to partner with Duquesne's Palumbo-Donahue School of Business to offer our law students a business perspective with the Business Essentials for Lawyers Micro-Credential program to begin in the Fall 2021 semester.


    Meeting in VR — Coming Soon!





    Seth's YouTube Channel