Why Law Students Should Learn About Uber

Jul 5, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

It’s one of the hottest topics in the business world—and ripe for law students to tackle, too.  Uber, the 8-year old transportation mammoth that disrupted the global taxi industry, is a law student’s dream as case studies go.

In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management professor and senior associate dean for leadership studies at Yale School of Management said, “It’s a fantastic case study.”  He added, “It’s too good to waste.  They’ve had multiple crises with personal conduct issues at the top, regulatory and operational flaws, gender and value issues.  Then there are the flashpoints of crisis management, all the executive departures and a powerful vacuum, possibly disharmony on the board.

It’s not just for MBA students either.

Those issues—ranging from the personal to the organizational—require legal minds to navigate.

Uber’s biggest legal issues?  Labor and regulation.

Last October, a British tribunal ruled that Uber should treat its drivers as employees and pay them minimum wage—and holiday pay.  Last July, two Uber drivers brought their case to an employment tribunal claiming that Uber acted unlawfully by treating them as self-employed, and neglecting to provide certain rights.

This past May, the US Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into Uber’s use of the software tool Greyball, which allows Uber drivers to evade local transportation regulators.

Learn more about Uber and the law with LLMs.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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