Professor Kaufman joined Maine Law as Professor of Practice in 2016, bringing more than 40 years’ experience in private practice and more than a decade of experience teaching transactional courses and practice skills. He has mentored fledgling transactional law students at several of the country’s leading law schools, including Vanderbilt University Law School, UCLA School of Law and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
Building on his long interest in the pedagogy of teaching transactional lawyering skills, Professor Kaufman’s courses address — from a transactional lawyer’s perspective — such topics as business associations, commercial law (including secured transactions), leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, risk management and compliance, syndicated loan transactions, and various other current issues in transactional practice. When feasible, Professor Kaufman combines the doctrinal elements of his subject matter with the experiential in order to give students background in not only “why,” but “how.” He uses hypotheticals based on actual transactions to help students understand the inherent and external risks presented by both the transaction and the transactional process itself and how to use their lawyering skills to identify and mitigate those risks.
Professor Kaufman was a long-time partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP handling matters primarily from their Chicago and New York City offices. He founded and, for many years, supervised the Firm’s Debt Finance Group and chaired the Firm’s Opinions Committee. Now Of Counsel to the Firm, Professor Kaufman continues to participate in its professional training programs and to advise on internal risk management matters and client transactions.
At Vanderbilt Law, Professor Kaufman served as an Adjunct Professor from 2005-2009. In 2009, he was appointed their first Professor of the Practice of Law for the Law and Business Program, a position he held for next three years. He spent the 2012-13 academic year at UCLA Law, where he served as Professor from Practice and the initial Executive Director of UCLA’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy. He began offering his transactional “weekend short courses” at University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2008, and he continues to present them regularly at both Vanderbilt and USC.
As Professor of Practice at Maine Law, Professor Kaufman is the Faculty Advisor to the students’ Business Law Association and is involved in curricular planning within both the Law School and the broader University System, student mentoring and counseling, and various outreach initiatives to the business law community in Maine.
Professor Kaufman is a member of the New York-based TriBar Legal Opinion Committee. He is President of the Working Group on Legal Opinions Foundation, a national organization whose members include approximately 100 of the country’s largest law firms and some 50 national, state and local bar associations and practice affinity groups focusing on education, practice and procedure in the context of transactional legal opinions. Professor Kaufman received his B.A. (cum laude) in 1971 from Yale and his J.D. in 1974 from Vanderbilt Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.