Wednesday, July 20, 2005

SEALS Conference

At the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference, Professor Joan Hemingway of University of Tennessee Law School led a wonderful discussion titled, "Corporate and Securities Fraud Update." In addition to moderating the panel, she offered her own comments that "put a face on corporate fraud," specifically discussing the securities aspect of the Martha Stewart case.Some interesting points made by the panelists -

Professor Marleen O’Connor (Stetson University College of Law) spoke about "Gender, Ego, & Power" - the gladiator or "winner take all" corporate culture. She discussed women in the "tournament" environment of the corporate world. She looked at women’s behavioral traits and the makeup of women superstars in the corporate world. She noted differences from traditional traits of women to those who progress to higher positions (the "women superstars") in the corporate world.("The game is rigged against her from the start.").

Professor Erica Beecher-Monas (Wayne State University Law School) focused on how we help directors make better decisions. Her talk looked at issues of accountability in small groups.

Professor Lisa Fairfax (University of Maryland Law School) moved the discussion to the state level, discussing how states look at independent directors.

Professor Jayne Barnard (William & Mary School of Law) spoke about small retail frauds and recidivism by white collar offenders in this particular category of white collar crime.  In this regard she looked at who these individuals were, their skill set, and other characteristics.  She offered recommendations for better enforcement.

Comment - Professor Barnard's talk presented an interesting irony in that high sentences are being given to corporate offenders with no track record of criminality and little recidivism in this category (Jamie Olis, Bernard Ebbers, etc.), while the recidivist small retail fraud offenders might walk out with a comparatively insignificant sentence.   


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