Law professor discusses vitality of business law for human flourishing

Christine Hurt addresses students during a BYU forum on Tuesday, July 16. (Addie Blacker)

BYU Law professor and Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum Christine Hurt addressed students during a forum on Tuesday, July 16, on the vitality of business law for human flourishing.

According to Hurt, business law can nurture, protect and reward human flourishing. 

She encouraged the audience to broaden their perspective on businesses. “As we talk about ‘businesses,’ remember we are talking about humans who are organizing their labors and activities in the business arena.”

Throughout her address, Hurt explained the focus of her research and teaching: the organization and financing of businesses, from formation to the initial public offering. 

“In the end, I hope to convince you that training and experience in the law of business development and finance can lead to some life-changing experiences with unforgettable children of God.”

Hurt remarked that many law students say they go to law school to fight for justice and make the world a better place.

“Not only do I believe that well-run capital markets and robust legal doctrines protect entrepreneurs and encourage human flourishing, I have also had the surprising opportunity to use my corporation-centric experience to see human flourishing on the ground,” she said. 

Hurt, though a regular attendee of her local ward, is a member of Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

While she and her husband, an Evangelical Christian, were teaching at the University of Illinois, they became aware that a group from the Presbyterian church where they worshipped was starting a partnership with a village in Malawi.

Despite not being an adventurous traveler, Hurt said she felt she needed to go with the group to the village in Lisanjala, Malawi. Since that initial trip, Hurt has taken others to Lisanjala, where she has learned more about her purpose and God’s plan.

Hurt explained one of her favorite books is by Phil Vischer, the creator of “Veggie Tales: Me, Myself & Bob.”

Hurt said that in the book, Vischer recounts how he dreamt to be the “Christian Walt Disney,” but failed. Veggie Tales went bankrupt and Vischer lost the rights to his creations. 

“Struggling to come to terms with how he had a righteous dream to glorify God through children’s Bible-based animation and how God let his dream die, Vischer had an epiphany,” Hurt said. “His purpose on Earth was not to achieve his dreams, no matter how good or righteous they were. His purpose was to walk in the will of God.”

Hurt shared an experience she had on her fourth trip to Malawi, where she met a young woman named Happiness.

Hurt offered Happiness a treat, but rather, Happiness wanted to go to the Mulanje Mission, a two-mile trek. Happiness needed the help of someone to register her for high school in time for the next quarter — one week later.

“I’m not a scientist or an inventor. But, I am a mom. And you can call me a helicopter mom or a snowplow mom or a lawnmower mom, but if someone needs to get registered for school, I can do it,” Hurt said. 

Hurt walked with Happiness to the school, where they were told to return the next morning. Happiness then brought a friend, Patricia, along to also register for school. 

“That day, we went from office to office, where male officials treated the two young woman pretty badly and made them feel ashamed of themselves,” Hurt said. “My law mom training enabled me to advocate for them and finally get them enrolled, get them uniforms, and the required haircuts.”

Hurt said that a year later, she didn’t know if Happiness was still in school or not. 

“However, I remind myself that my purpose wasn’t really to get Happiness enrolled in school,” she said. “My purpose was to show her how much Heavenly Father loves her. So much that he sent some crazy helicopter mom to her for a few days.”

“Phil Vischer wrote in his book that our five-year plan should not be to be the Christian Walt Disney, or to start a successful scholarship program in Malawi, or even to be a nationally renowned corporate law scholar,” she said. “Our plan for five years from now should be to walk in the will of God.”

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