Thursday, August 17, 2017
The Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Business Associations seeks to recognize Section members who demonstrate exemplary mentoring qualities. We seek nomination letters on behalf of a deserving colleague (please no self-nominations) on or before November 1, 2017, sent to Professor Anne Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations should address personal experience with the mentor, and any additional information illustrative of the nominee’s dedication to mentoring including qualities such as:
- Is eager to discuss others’ early ideas and contributes to the development and improvement of others’ work;
- Promotes and encourages the success of junior scholars by reading and providing meaningful and useful feedback on drafts;
- Promotes a supportive and rigorous environment for conference presentations;
- Speaks frankly, provides useful professional and personal advice when asked;
- Actively participates in a network of scholars;
- Facilitates professional opportunities for junior scholars such as providing introductions to others in the field, and encouraging participation in the scholarly community through writing and speaking;
- Mentors those from underrepresented communities in academics and the study of law;
- Actively/willingly participates in the promotion process for others by advising on tenure process, writing review letters, and providing useful guidance on career advancement.
Who May Nominate: Any member of the Section on Business Associations.
Who is Eligible to Be Nominated: Members of the Section on Business Associations and others are eligible for nomination. Nominees should have 10 years or more of law teaching.
Recognition: The Executive Committee will recognize all nominees at the AALS 2018 Annual Meeting and distribute the list to Section members.
In 2015, the Section recognized the following outstanding mentors:
Egon Guttman, Lynne L. Dallas, Claire Moore Dickerson, Christopher Drahozal, William A ("Bill") Klein, Donald C. Langevoort, Juliet Moringiello, Marleen O'Connor, Charles (Chuck) O'Kelley, Terry O'Neill, Alysa Rollack, Roberta Romano & Gordon Smith
Monday, August 14, 2017
Former BLPB editor Steve Bradford has posted a new paper adding to his wonderful series of articles on crowdfunding (on which I and so many others rely in our crowdfunding work). This article, entitled "Online Arbitration as a Remedy for Crowdfunding Fraud" (and forthcoming in the Florida State University Law Review), focuses on a hot topic in many areas of lawyering--online dispute resolution, or ODR. Steve brings the discussion to bear on his crowdfunding work. Specifically, he suggests online arbitration as an efficacious way of resolving allegations of fraud in crowdfunding. Here's the abstract:
It is now legal to see securities to the general public in unregistered, crowdfunded offerings. But offerings pursuant to the new federal crowdfunding exemption pose a serious risk of fraud. The buyers will be mostly small, unsophisticated investors, the issuers will be mostly small startups about whom little is known, and crowdfunded offerings lack some of the protections available in registered offerings. Some of the requirements of the exemption may reduce the incidence of fraud, but there will undoubtedly be fraudulent offerings.
An effective antifraud remedy is needed to compensate investors and help deter wrongdoers. But, because of the small dollar amounts involved, neither individual litigation nor class actions will usually be feasible; the cost of suing will usually exceed the expected recovery. Federal and state securities regulators are also unlikely to focus their limited enforcement resources on small crowdfunding offerings. A more effective remedy is needed.
Arbitration is cheaper, but even ordinary arbitration will often be too expensive for the small amounts invested in crowdfunding. In this article, I attempt to design a simplified, cost-effective arbitration remedy to deal with crowdfunding fraud. The arbitration remedy should be unilateral; crowdfunding issuers should be obligated to arbitrate, but not investors. Crowdfunding arbitration should be online, with the parties limited to written submissions. But it should be public, and arbitrators should be required to publish their findings. The arbitrators should be experts on both crowdfunding and securities law, and they should take an active, inquisitorial role in developing the evidence. Finally, all of the investors in an offering should be able to consolidate their claims into an arbitration class action.
Although I haven't yet read the paper (which was just posted this morning, it seems), Steve's idea totally makes sense to me on so many levels. Among other things, ODR has a history in e-commerce and social media, two front-runners and foundations of crowdfunding. Also, the dispute resolution expense issue that Steve alludes to in the abstract is real. It has been raised by a number of us, including by me in this draft paper, in which I assert, among other things:
Prosecutors and regulators may not be willing or able to devote financial and human resources to enforcement efforts absent statutory or regulatory incentives or extraordinary policy reasons for doing so . . . . Individual funders also are unlikely to bring private actions or even engage alternative dispute resolution since the cost of vindicating their rights easily could exceed their invested money and time, although the availability of treble damages (often a statutory right for willful violations of consumer protection statutes) or other extraordinary remedies may change the calculus somewhat.
. . . [C]lass actions tend to be procedurally complex—difficult to get in front of a court—and may not be available in some jurisdictions. Moreover, the prospects for recovery are unknown and, based on recent information from U.S. securities class action litigation, financial compensation to individual members of the plaintiff class is likely to be relatively insignificant in dollar value and in relationship to losses suffered, even if the aggregate amount of damages paid by the defendant is relatively high . . . . Accordingly, class action litigation also may be of limited utility in bringing successful legal claims in the crowdfunding context.
This will be an area for much further thought as the crowdfunding adventure continues . . . .
Monday, August 7, 2017
Yesterday, on the last morning of the 2017 Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference, Matt Lyon, the Associate Dean at Lincoln Memorial University - Duncan School of Law (UT Law's Knoxville neighbor) convened a discussion group on "Corporate and Financial Reform in the Trump Administration." I was grateful to be asked to participate. In addition to me, BLPB co-bloggers Josh Fershee and Marcia Narine Weldon, my UT Law coworker Brian Krumm, Securities Law Prof Blog editor Eric Chaffee, and University of Houston Law Center colleague Darren Bush were among the discussants.
Each of us came with issues and questions for discussion. Each of us offered reflections. Recently made, currently proposed, and possible future changes to business regulation were all on the table. I wish this session had been held earlier in the program, since many had left before the Sunday morning sessions (and we were competing with, among other enticing alternatives, a discussion session on marijuana regulation). However, we honestly had more than enough to discuss as among the seven of us, in any case.
I had to leave the session early to attend the SEALS board meeting. But before I left, I took some notes on topics relating to my interest in and potential future work on regulatory reform. I continue, for example, to be interested in the best approaches to reducing and streamlining regulation. (See my posts here and here.) A few additional outtakes follow.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
I have been at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference all week. As usual, there have been too many program offerings important to my scholarship and teaching. I have participated in and attended so many things. I am exhausted.
But I know that all of this activity also energizes me. Once I am back at home tomorrow night and get a good night's sleep, I will be ready to rock and roll into the new academic year (which starts for us at UT Law in a few weeks). I use the SEALS conference as this bridge to the new year every summer.
One of my favorite discussion groups at the conference was the White Collar Crime discussion group that John Anderson and I organized. A number of us focused on insider trading law this year. John, for example, shared his preliminary draft of an insider trading statute. I asked folks to ponder the result under U.S. insider trading law of a tipping case with the following general facts:
- A person with a fiduciary duty of trust and confidence to a principal conveys material nonpublic information obtained through the fiduciary relationship to a third person;
- The recipient of the information is someone with whom the fiduciary has no prior familial or friendship relationship;
- The conveyance is made to the recipient by the fiduciary without the consent of the principal;
- The conveyance is made to the recipient gratuitously;
- The fiduciary’s purpose in conveying the information is to benefit the recipient;
- Specifically, the fiduciary knows that the recipient has the ability and incentive to trade on the information or convey it to others who have the ability and incentive to trade; and
- The fiduciary has clear knowledge and understanding of resulting detriment to the principal.
The question, of course, is whether the fiduciary has engaged in deception that constitutes a willful violation of insider trading proscriptions under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5. The answer, based on what we now know under U.S. insider trading law, depends on whether the fiduciary's sharing of information is improper. What do you think? I shared my views and others in the group shared theirs. I may have more to say on this problem and my related work in a later post.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
My colleague, Joan Heminway, yesterday posted Democratic Norms and the Corporation: The Core Notion of Accountability. She raises some interesting points (as usual), and she argues: "In my view, more work can be done in corporate legal scholarship to push on the importance of accountability as a corporate norm and explore further analogies between political accountability and corporate accountability."
I have not done a lot of reading in this area, but I am inclined to agree that it seems like an area that warrants more discussion and research. The post opens with some thought-provoking writing by Daniel Greenwood, including this:
Most fundamentally, corporate law and our major business corporations treat the people most analogous to the governed, those most concerned with corporate decisions, as mere helots. Employees in the American corporate law system have no political rights at all—not only no vote, but not even virtual representation in the boardroom legislature.
Those on the right, like Milton Friedman, argue that the shareholder-wealth-maximization requirement prohibits firms from acting in ways that benefit, say, local communities or the environment, at the expense of the bottom line. Those on the left, like Franken, argue that the duty to shareholders makes corporations untrustworthy and dangerous. They are both wrong.
August 1, 2017 in Business Associations, Corporations, CSR, Delaware, Joan Heminway, Joshua P. Fershee, Legislation, Management, Research/Scholarhip, Shareholders, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (1)
Monday, July 31, 2017
The corporate form has been compared and contrasted favorably and unfavorably with government. The literature is broad and deep. Having said that, there is, perhaps, no one who writes more passionately on this topic than Daniel Greenwood. Set forth below are two examples of text from his work that illustrate my point.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
As some of you know (and as I noted in a prior post), I have taught from time to time in the past (and will be teaching again this fall) a course focusing on nonhuman animals and the law. The course reveals, among many other things, that business law doctrine and practice have a number of significant intersections with nonhuman animals. Although I am likely to say more on that later, the earlier post linked in above notes a few things.
Yesterday, I received the "Call for Papers and Features" reproduced below. Many of the suggested topics--and the overall theme of "animal welfare in the context of human development"--engage business law. In particular, agricultural business seems to be on the ends of the editors . . . . Accordingly, I am posting the call thinking that some of our readers would be interested in knowing about this.
[Aside: I do not subscribe to the citation policy of the journal for the "features" being sought through this call--e.g., "Almost every sentence must be cited" and "If a sentence does not have a citation, you should have a good reason (i.e., it is your concluding argument or a recommendation)." Unless those who established these requirements are confident that "features" otherwise meeting their requirements do not contain novel legal or policy arguments or recommendations, that pair of citation "requirements" is absurd, imv.]
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CALL FOR PAPERS AND FEATURES
The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief (SDLP) is currently accepting submissions for its Fall 2017 edition on topics related to animal welfare in the context of human development. Development will not be sustainable if animal welfare and human-animal relationships are not included in development programs, policies, and laws. Therefore, it is important to highlight the commonality between animal welfare issues and human justice issues.
If you would like to submit an article or feature for consideration, please contact us at email@example.com immediately. We will accept submissions on a rolling basis. The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 25, 2017. We will select up to four articles and four features for publication, and we will notify the Authors by Monday, October 2, 2017. Article Requirements differ from Feature Requirements – see below.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
§ Consumption of Species Versus Ecotourism in Developing Nations
§ Exploitation of Natural Fisheries and the Associated Issue of Bycatch
§ Challenges in Regulating Offshore Aquaculture
§ The Effects of Anthropogenic Noise on Marine Life
§ Going Meatless and Securing Food Sources: Moving Away from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Meat Consumption
§ Socio-Economic Challenges in Shifting from Animal-Based Agriculture to Plant- Based/Non-Animal Based Agriculture
§ Intersection Between Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Environmental Justice
§ Habitat Loss and Deforestation from Agriculture
§ The Role of Financial Institutions in Animal Agriculture Projects
§ How to Move Toward a Global Animal Welfare Policy
§ Human Health Implications Associated with the Production and Consumption of Animal Products
§ Balancing Wildlife and Continued Land Exploitation in National Parks and Preserves
§ The Effects of Deep Sea Bed Mining on Marine Life
SDLP is available online at LexisNexis, Westlaw, VLex, Hein Online, and on our website at www.wcl.american.edu/org/sdlp.
It is also widely distributed at law and graduate schools, and to representatives of international organizations worldwide.
We reserve the right to reject submissions at any time or for any reason. We also reserve the right to hold all submissions on file for later publication and reserve the right to revise submissions and/or cut text. Authors will have the opportunity to accept or reject any revisions. SDLP accepts submission of timely articles that have already been published elsewhere, so long as permission of the previous publisher is received.
[Click on the "Continue reading" button below for the requirements for articles and features.]
Monday, July 24, 2017
Hot Off the Press: Russell and Heminway on Representing the Organizational Client on Environmental Matters
My good friend and long-time mentor Irma Russell and I wrote a chapter for the recently released ABA book, Ethics and the Environment: A Lawyer's Guide. Irma also is a co-editor of the book (with Vicki Wright). In our joint contribution, the chapter entitled "Representing the Organizational Client on Environmental Matters," Irma and I cover issues involving professional responsibility, corporate governance, and environmental compliance. Guess which part was my primary responsibility . . . ?!) Covering some 37 pages of the 242-page book, the rules we cover and the observations we make are fairly wide-ranging. We hope, as we noted in our conclusion to the chapter, that we supply legal counsel representing corporations and other organizations with "foundational tools to assist them in providing advisory and advocacy-oriented services to organizational clients in the environmental law context." Irma and I received our copies last week. The book soon will be available through the ABA and other outlets.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Last year, I was asked to contribute to a symposium on law and entrepreneurship hosted at the University of North Carolina. Although I had to Skype in for my presentation from Little Rock, Arkansas (where I had just given a separate, unrelated CLE presentation), the panel to which I was assigned was fabulous. Great scholars, with great ideas.
For my contribution to the symposium, I chose to reflect on the unfulfilled promise of the potentially mutually beneficial relationship between an entrepreneur and a business finance lawyer. I recently posted the published work memorializing my thoughts on the topic, featured this spring with several other articles from the symposium in a dedicated edition of the North Carolina Law Review. The brief abstract for my article follows:
Entrepreneurs have the capacity to add value to the economy and the community. Business lawyers—including business finance lawyers—want to help entrepreneurs achieve their objectives. Despite incentives to a symbiotic relationship, however, entrepreneurs and business finance lawyers are not always the best of friends. This Article offers several approaches to bridging this gap between entrepreneurs and business finance lawyers.
My hope in writing this article was to infuse some energy into conversations about the role of business finance and business finance lawyers in the start-up and small business environment. Too many principals of emergent businesses with whom I interact think that business entity choice and formation are divorced--wholly or in major part--from finance. Of course, governance and tax matters (as well as, e.g., intellectual property and employment law concerns) are key. But my personal view is that entrepreneurs and promoters of new businesses should map out their plan for financing firms from the start and take that plan into account in choosing the form of legal entity for those businesses. I may be fighting an uphill battle on this (for a variety of reasons, mostly relating to the limited resource environment in which start-ups and small businesses exist), but I hope the article gives both clients and lawyers in this space something to consider, at the very least.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Save the Date!
The Yale Law School Center for Private Law will host a Private Equity Conference on November 17, 2017. The conference will bring leading theorists from law, economics, finance, and sociology into dialogue with people with experience at the highest levels of private equity, including from law practice, financial firms, and institutional investors.
Oliver Hart, winner of the 2016 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, will give the keynote address.
Other speakers include:
Jon Ballis, Kirkland & Ellis
Rosemary Batt, Cornell University, ILR School
Neil Fligstein, UC Berkeley Sociology Department
Stephen Fraidin, Pershing Square Capital Management
Will Gaybrick, Stripe
Adam Goldstein, Princeton University Department of Sociology
Victoria Ivashina, Harvard Business School
Andrew Metrick, Yale School of Management
Meridee Moore, Watershed Asset Management
John Morley, Yale Law School
Alan Schwartz, Yale Law School
David Swensen, Chief Investment Officer, Yale University
Location: Yale Law School, 127 Wall St., New Haven, CT
Time: Approximately 9:45 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Cost: There is no cost associated with this event, though pre-registration is required. Registration information will be available soon at this link.
The conference is sponsored by the Kirkland & Ellis Fund for the Study of Private Law.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Clinical Faculty Position
The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law
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Description: The Moritz College of Law invites applications for the position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law in its Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic (EBLC), to start in late 2017. The EBLC professor has primary responsibility for directing and teaching the Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic, which provides third-year law students with the opportunity to learn lawyering skills by representing entrepreneurs and their start-up businesses. EBLC students typically work with clients on all phases of starting a business, including client intake, entity formation, legal business planning, and contract drafting (including employment and independent contractor contracts). When relevant for the client, students also learn how to protect the intellectual property of a business. The EBLC’s clinical professor will have several areas of responsibility, including 1) supervising law students who represent clients under the Ohio Supreme Court's student practice rule 2) classroom teaching of lawyering skills, 3) engaging with the local and regional entrepreneurial community, and 4) participating in the life and governance of the College of Law.
We will consider all applicants; however, we prefer candidates with significant experience in representing entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. Candidates also should have an excellent academic record that demonstrates potential for clinical teaching and preparation of clinical educational materials. Candidates should be admitted to the Ohio Bar or eligible for admission in Ohio. The starting salary range will be $78,000 - $81,000 for a 12-month contract; full University fringe benefits are provided as well. The ideal starting date will be November 15, or as soon thereafter as possible. The successful candidate will begin teaching in January 2018.
Application Instructions: A resume, references, and cover letter should be submitted to Professor Paul Rose, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 55 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Send e-mail applications to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled; preference will be given to applications received before September 1st.
The Ohio State University is committed to establishing a culturally and intellectually diverse environment, encouraging all members of our learning community to reach their full potential. The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.
About Columbus: The Ohio State University campus is located in Columbus, the capital city of Ohio. Columbus is the center of a rapidly growing and diverse metropolitan area with a population of over 1.5 million. The area offers a wide range of very affordable housing, many cultural and recreational opportunities, excellent schools, and a strong economy based on government as well as service, transportation, and technology industries (see http://columbusregion.com/). Columbus and its many suburbs have consistently been rated as one of the Top U.S. places for quality of life. Additional information about the Columbus area is available at http://www.columbus.org.
Monday, July 10, 2017
Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
2017 Junior Scholars #FutureLaw Workshop 2.0 at Duquesne
The conference is organized by Seth Oranburg, Assistant Professor, Duquesne University School of Law. Funding is provided in part by the Federalist Society. All papers are selected based on scholarly merit, with an emphasis on scholarly impact, topical relevance, and viewpoint diversity.
September 7-8, 2017
By invitation only
OVERVIEW: The conference aims to foster legal and economic research on “FutureLaw” (as defined below) topics particularly by junior and emerging scholars by bringing together a diverse group of academics early in their career focusing on cutting-edge issues.
TOPICS: The conference organizers encourage the submission of papers about all aspects of FutureLaw, which includes open-data policy, machine learning, computational law, legal informatics, smart contracts, crypto-currency, block-chain technology, big data, algorithmic research, LegalTech, FinTech, MedTech, eCommerce, eGovernment, electronic discovery, computers & the law, teaching innovations, and related subjects. FutureLaw is an inter-disciplinary field with cross-opportunities in crowd science, behavioral economics, computer science, mathematics, statistics, learning theory, and related fields. Papers may be theoretical, archival or experimental in nature. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Innovation in legal instruments (e.g., new securities, new corporate forms, new litigation procedures, etc.)
- Innovation in legal technology (e.g., new law firm governance, legal automatic, democratizing access to legal services, legal chatbots, etc.)
- Innovation in legal teaching (e.g., new classroom techniques, distance learning studies, experiential learning, transactional clinics, etc.)
Papers regarding the effect of these innovations (e.g., diversity, inclusion, equity, equality, fairness, return on investment, productivity, security, etc.) are also welcome.
DUAL SUBMISSION PROCESS: For the 2017 conference, the FutureLaw Workshop and the Duquesne Law Review (DLR) announce a new, non-exclusive, combined submission process. At your discretion, a paper submitted to the 2017 FutureLaw Workshop 2.0 may also be considered for publication by DLR free of charge. The rules for this dual submission process are as follows:
(1) You must apply online at http://law.duq.edu/events/junior-scholars-futurelaw-workshop-20. Submitted papers will be considered for publication by the DLR free of charge. A reply to your submission in acceptance to the Workshop or invitation to publish in the DLR is your option, not your obligation.
(2) If you do not wish to be considered by the DLR while submitting for the FutureLaw Workshop, please indicate this in the comments field provided.
(3) Papers submitted for dual consideration must not already be accepted by another journal.
(4) While under consideration as a dual submission for the 2017 FutureLaw Workshop and invitation by the DLR, a paper may be submitted to another journal (or JAR).
PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Please upload a PDF version of your working paper, by August 4, 2017 via the online submission form at http://law.duq.edu/events/junior-scholars-futurelaw-workshop-20. When you select the radio button for “Attendance Category: Participant,” you will see an option to upload a paper.
The FutureLaw Workshop may reimburse presenters and discussants reasonable travel expenses and accommodations. Please let us know if your academic institution does not provide you with travel and accommodation expenses.
CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE: Attendance is free and by invitation only. Academics interested in receiving an invitation to attend but who do not wish to submit a paper may apply online as “observers” at http://law.duq.edu/events/junior-scholars-futurelaw-workshop-20.
Monday, June 26, 2017
This post follows on my earlier travel posts on prepacking and packing for conference travel. For last week's post, I used my trip to Mexico City for the Law and Society Association conference as an example. This week, I assess my packing skills by chronicling briefly what I used and commenting on that assessment. Bottom line: I did OK but could have left a few items of clothing and my flip flops at home.
For my plane travel to Mexico City a week ago last Sunday, I wore the reversible dance leggings (pattern side facing out), one of the tank tops, the embellished sweatshirt, and the suit jacket wth my sneakers.
Once I got to the hotel, I determined to take a walk through Chapultepec Park (Mexico's rough equivalent of New York's Central Park). For the walk (and the rest of the day), I swapped out the sweatshirt and jacket for one of the button-downs I had brought--a medium green insect-repelling shirt I originally had bought to use when I taught in a study abroad program in Brazil.
For Monday, another sightseeing day (but one that I planned to end with an Ashtanga yoga class), I dressed for the day at the outset: reversible yoga shorts (pattern side facing out), light blue tank top, same green button down, and sneakers.
I noticed during the day that folks in Mexico City do not wear yoga shorts around. So, I would revisit my decision to wear them all day on that basis.
Monday, June 19, 2017
As I am traveling and conferencing, my thoughts already have turned to next summer's conference schedule. It seems like a good time to get two important business law conferences on the agenda for next year. Those two conferences are: the sixth biennial conference on teaching transactional law and skills, “To Teach is to Learn Twice: Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education,” which will be held on June 1 - 2, 2018, at Emory Law in Atlanta, GA and the National Business Law scholars conference, which will be held at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, GA on June 21-22, 2018. Emory Law's "Save the Date" notice hit my in box this morning and appears below, FYI.
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SAVE THE DATE
Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice cordially invites you to attend its sixth biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills. The conference, entitled “To Teach is to Learn Twice: Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education,” will be held at Emory Law, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018, and ending at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2018.
We welcome you to share your experiences teaching any aspect of transactional law and skills, focused primarily on what general approaches, teaching methods, and specific exercises have been the most effective. Additionally, we want to know how you have implemented the ABA’s standards on learning outcomes and assessment and whether your teaching has changed as a result.
A formal request for proposals will be distributed in the fall.
Note: For this Sixth Biennial Conference, we will be offering a discounted registration rate for new teachers as well as for adjunct professors. Please encourage your colleagues to attend.
Looking forward to seeing all of you in June of 2018!
Sue Payne Katherine Koops
Executive Director Assistant Director
Hola de la Ciudad de Mexico. I arrived in Mexico City for the Law and Society Association conference yesterday to get acclimated and take some personal time to see the city. Today, I carry forward the theme I posted on last week: packing for conference travel. Last week, I shared my prepacking strategy. This week, I will offer some parameters for packing for the actual trip, using the trip I am on now as an example. This is what I was working toward (and achieved).
I noted in my post last week that I almost always travel with one carry on duffle-like bag (soft-sider) and one tote bag that holds, among other things, my handbag for the trip. That is what I chose for this trip! The main advantage is that I do not have to check bags. I had a tight connection yesterday in Atlanta, and my grab-and-go luggage helped me to make that connection with time to spare.
To quote the Talking Heads, " . . . you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"
Let's begin with the things I packed in the blue soft-sider. I started by considering what I plan do on the trip. For this trip, I have four days of conference proceedings (for which I will dress up) and three days of walking/sight-seeing. I also plan to attend at least two yoga classes and have to teach Barbri in Nashville on my way home. I next consider the climate. I am in one place almost the whole time, and the weather is forecasted to be pretty consistent--mid-eighties (Fahrenheit) during the day and mid-fifties in the evenings. Chances of rain are slim most days, but higher at the end of the week. Here's what I chose to pack:
A three-piece coordinated suit set: skirt, cropped trousers, and jacket
9 shirts/blouses (6 tank tops--3 with shelf bras--and 3 wrinkle-resistant long-sleeved button-downs)
1 pair of reversible yoga shorts
1 pair of reversible dance/yoga leggings
PJs (undershirt tank top and boxers)
1 light rain jacket
1 French terrycloth embellished sweatshirt
Appropriate underwear items (gals, you can PM me for details, if you'd like)
2 extra pairs of earrings
1 pair of pumps
1 pair of fold-up flats
1 pair of sneakers
1 pair of flip-flops
1 traveling yoga mat
[Addendum: I forgot to add that I also packed a printed silk scarf and a printed cotton bandana scarf! I almost always travel with a scarf or two to accessorize outfits and make them look different when I am reusing the same basic suit pieces.]
Monday, June 12, 2017
It's conference season, yet again. It seems like just yesterday that I was embarking on my June Scholarship and Teaching Tour 2016. In fact, it was over a year ago. My, how time flies . . . .
This year, I am doing the "City" tour for the first part of the summer season. I have already been to Kansas City, MO (Midwest Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship), New York City, NY (Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing: In the US and Beyond), and Salt Lake City, UT (National Business Law Scholars Conference). Next week, I will be in Mexico City, Mexico for the Law and Society Association's International Meeting on Law and Society. Not fitting into the "City" theme is my teaching day for Barbri in Nashville, TN and the Southeastern Association of Law Schools conference in Boca Raton, FL at the end of the summer.
Because of my travel schedule throughout the year, I often am asked about packing for my conference trips, which typically include some personal elements (e.g., touring, yoga, walking, or other exercise, etc.). So, I decided to do a few posts on some packing tips and hacks that I use.
Today, I focus on having a prepacked bag. Given that I am a woman and choose to dress up for conferences, men and those who dress more casually will have to make significant modifications to my system. Nevertheless, I hope that by sharing my conventions, I am offering something new to think about (at the very least).
First things first: the generalities of my luggage (such as it is). Unless I am teaching in a study abroad program (which I have not done since 2010), I pack in a soft-sided carryall and a tote large enough to fit my handbag (usually a small cross-body bag). This combination works well for me. (I am sure, however, that my doctor doesn't approve and would like me to use a wheelie bag, given the cervical and thoracic issues that I have in my neck and back.) I do not like to have to lift wheelie bags into the overhead bins. The carryall lifts easily and typically fits nicely, even in the overhead bins on the small puddle-jumper planes that I sometimes must take from my beloved TYS (Knoxville's McGee-Tyson Airport).
Monday, June 5, 2017
This past week, I traveled through parts of Tennessee and Georgia to attend a concert (Train with Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R.--fantastic!) and visit the University of Georgia School of Law (to plan the 2018 National Business Law Scholars conference). On that trip, I saw a number of billboards with religious messages--more than I remember having seen in the past. This set me to reflecting on the use of billboards--typically commercial space--for this purpose. I share a few observations today on that topic.
The messages on the billboards I saw appear to be important to the speakers who offer them. [Note that in this paragraph I am working from memory but have tried to describe what I saw as accurately as possible.] I saw several that were just printed with the word "JESUS" (in all capital letters, as I have written it here) and one that said: "TRUST JESUS" (again, in all caps, as written here) with a faded waving American flag in the background. But the most striking billboard that I saw was one that stated: "In the beginning God created everything," a message that was accompanied on the left by a circle in which the Darwinian progression to humankind was depicted and across which there was a large "X."
On the one hand, highway billboards are a great vehicle for the exercise of free speech. We are captive in our vehicles and generally bound to certain key routes when engaged in car travel over any significant distance. Other than distinctive local flora and buildings (as well as traffic, exit, and other roadside driving guidance), billboards are the primary visual as one drives on a highway. In fact, their size often makes them more attractive than those flowers, structures, and signage. (Although I have never missed an exit for a billboard, I have come close.)
The use of billboards for religious messaging does not convert the message to commercial speech (to the extent that question may be relevant to any free speech analysis).
Monday, May 29, 2017
Memorial Day Reflections: Choosing the Non-Profit Corporate Form for Organizations Helping the Families of Fallen Warriors
Wikipedia tells us what most (if not all) of us already knew: "Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces." As I have often noted in conversations and communications with friends, regardless of one's views on the appropriateness of war in general or in specific circumstances, most of us understand the importance of honoring those who have lost their lives in serving their country. My dad, father-in-law, secretarial/administrative assistant, and many friends and students have served in the U.S. armed forces and survived the experience. Others have not been so lucky. I dedicate this post to all of them.
Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at and attending a conference on Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing—In the US and Beyond (also featuring co-blogger Anne Tucker). My presentation was part of a panel on securities crowdfunding as impact investing. But I attended many other presentations and participated in a lunch table talk on choosing the right entity for social enterprise and a brainstorming session on how legal education can better support social entrepreneurship and impact investing. The conference was fabulous, and I learned a lot by listening to the great folks invited by the organizers--including others on my panel.
As I reflected on the holiday today in light of last week's conference, my thoughts turned to organizations serving the families of fallen warriors and what types of formal entity structures they had chosen. These organizations are mission-driven and socially conscious. They exist, at least in part, to serve society. All of the ones I could think of or easily find in a Web search (among them Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, That Others May Live Foundation, and Travis Manion Foundation--although I do not intend to endorse any specific organization) are organized as non-profit corporations under various state laws and qualified as exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. One might ask why.
Monday, May 22, 2017
I ask my Advanced Business Associations students to recognize and process theory and policy and relate them to doctrine at the practical level. This is, as most of you will recognize, a tall order of business for students who have just recently learned what business associations law is and may not yet (at the time they take the course) have applied the law in a practical context outside the classroom. (The course is open to 2L and 3L students who have already taken Business Associations.)
So, when it came time to lionize my friends Lyman Johnson and David Millon at a symposium honoring their work (which, as you may recall, I first heralded on the BLPB a year ago and wrote a bit about back in October), I decided to put my scholarship pen (keyboard) where my teaching mouth is. My goal for the symposium was to write something that linked theory and policy through doctrine to law practice and, at the same time, incorporated Lyman's and David's work. The essay I produced in fulfillment of these objectives was recently released and posted to SSRN. I excerpted from it in my post on Saturday. The full SSRN abstract follows.
In context, corporate law is often credited with creating, hewing to, or reinforcing a shareholder wealth maximization norm. The now infamous opinion in Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. describes the norm in a relatively bald and narrow way: “A business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders." As a matter of theory and policy, commentators from the academy (law and business) and practice (lawyers and judges) have taken various views on this asserted norm—ranging from characterizing the norm as nonexistent or oversimplified to maintaining it as simple fact.
In an effort to broaden the conversation about the shareholder wealth maximization norm in an applied context, this essay describes shareholder wealth maximization under various state laws (in and outside Delaware) as a function of firm-level corporate governance—corporate law statutes, decisional law interpreting and filling gaps in that statutory law, and corporate charter and bylaw provisions—as applicable to both publicly held and privately held corporations in a variety of states. In this overall context, the essay considers the possibility that holders of shares in for-profit corporations may desire to maximize overall utility in their shareholdings of a particular firm, rather than merely the financial wealth arising from those holdings. To accomplish its purpose, the essay first briefly and generally addresses shareholder wealth maximization as a function of applicable statutory and decisional law and as a matter of private ordering (collecting, synthesizing, and characterizing, in each case, points made in the extant literature) before suggesting the broad implications of that analysis for corporate governance and shareholder wealth maximization and concluding. Ultimately, the essay makes a case for a more nuanced look at the shareholder wealth maximization norm. Given differences in doctrine and public policy among the states and variance in that doctrine and public policy among public, private, and statutory close or closely held corporations within individual states, answers to open questions are likely to (and should) depend on individualized facts assessed through the lens of specific statutory and decisional law and applicable public policy.
I fear that this short piece does not do the subject (or Lyman and David's amazing work) justice. But my biggest regret is that the essay went to press without the addition of thanks to two special folks in my author's footnote. I want to call those two colleagues out here.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Loyalty has been in the news lately. The POTUS, according to some reports, asked former Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") Director James Comey to pledge his loyalty. Assuming the basic veracity of those reports, was the POTUS referring to loyalty to the country or to him personally? Perhaps both and perhaps, as Peter Beinart avers in The Atlantic, the POTUS and others fail to recognize a distinction between the two. Yet, identifying the object of a duty can be important.
I have observed that the duty of government officials is not well understood in the public realm. Donna Nagy's fine work on this issue in connection with the proposal of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge ("STOCK") Act, later adopted by Congress, outlines a number of ways in which Congressmen and Senators, among others, may owe fiduciary duties to others. If you have not yet been introduced to this scholarship, I highly recommend it. If we believe that government officials are entrusted with information, among other things, in their capacity as public servants, they owe duties to the government and its citizens to use that information in authorized ways for the benefit of that government and those citizens. In fact, Professor Nagy's congressional testimony as part of the hearings on the STOCK Act includes the following in this regard:
Given the Constitution's repeated reference to public offices being “of trust,” and Members’ oath of office to “faithfully discharge” their duties, I would predict that a court would be highly likely to find that Representatives and Senators owe fiduciary-like duties of trust and confidence to a host of parties who may be regarded as the source of material nonpublic congressional knowledge. Such duties of trust and confidence may be owed to, among others:
- the citizen-investors they serve;
- the United States;
- the general public;
- Congress, as well as the Senate or the House;
- other Members of Congress; and
- federal officials outside of Congress who rely on a Member’s loyalty and integrity.
There is precious little in federal statutes, regulations, and case law on the nature--no less the object--of any fiduciary the Director of the FBI may have. The authorizing statute and regulations provide little illumination. Federal court opinions give us little more. See, e.g., Banks v. Francis, No. 2:15-CV-1400, 2015 WL 9694627, at *3 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 18, 2015), report and recommendation adopted, No. CV 15-1400, 2016 WL 110020 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2016) ("Plaintiff does not identify any specific, mandatory duty that the federal officials — Defendants Hornak, Brennan, and the FBI Director— violated; he merely refers to an overly broad duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution and to see justice done."). Accordingly, any applicable fiduciary duty likely would arise out of agency or other common law. Section 8.01 of the Restatement (Third) of Agency provides "An agent has a fiduciary duty to act loyally for the principal's benefit in all matters connect with the agency relationship."
But who is the principal in any divined agency relationship involving the FBI Director?