Monday, June 18, 2018
June has been a busy month for me. I look forward to catching my breath after the National Business Law Scholars Conference this coming Thursday and Friday at the University of Georgia School of Law. Today, having already written about the biennial transactional law and skills conference at Emory Law a few weeks ago, I will briefly outline three of my more recent forays: (1) a conference on Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing—in the US and Beyond organized by the Impact Investing Legal Working Group and NYU Law's Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship; (2) the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting and Conference, Law at the Crossroads: Le Droit à la Croisée des Chemins; and (3) a town hall meeting of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at the Georgia State University College of Law.
I had a super opportunity to speak at the Grunin Center conference this year, helping to construct and guide a discussion on whether definitions matter to the developing fields of impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Sadly, my travel got bolloxed up by a plane with mechanical difficulties, and I missed the first half of the panel discussion at the conference. But I was glad (and truly lucky under the circumstances) to get the chance to participate for the last half. My co-panelists and I are featured in the photo above. What a great group, featuring varied perspectives. The entire conference program was fabulous. A highlight for me was a panel on social enterprise acquisitions featuring an NYU Law alum who is retiring from the board of directors of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings Inc this year having seen the firm through from independent private ownership to its acquisition by Unilever.
At the Law and Society Association conference, I used up almost every ounce of my remaining energy for the week participating in two author-meets-reader panels, delivering a talk on a paper panel, and serving as a moderator/discussant on a fourth panel (pictured here--note the jerry-rigged "podium" since we were stuck in a hotel room for this panel). But it was all great work! Our Collaborative Research Network (CRN) featured ten programs on corporate and securities law this year, spread over a three-day period. Kudos to our program coordinator, Darren Rosenblum, for getting and keeping us organized.
The SEC town hall meeting was a real treat. All five commissioners were in attendance and spoke, both as part of a public plenary session and as featured panelists on various subjects ranging from cryptocurrencies to small business finance. Several hundred members of the public were in attendance. I had the privilege and honor of visiting with four of the five commissioners after the town hall meeting at a private reception. I had met Commissioner Stein at UT Law two years ago and Commissioner Jackson a number of years ago, but I had not personally met the others--although I follow Commissioner Peirce on Twitter (@HesterPeirce). Each of them offered time and attention to so many people that day. Three of them have academic experience of one kind or another in law or economics and offered special time and attention to those of us in the academy that day as well. Hats off to them all. They are working hard to resolve some tough issues and deserve our support. Thanks to BLPB Contributing Editor Anne Tucker, her dean, and her colleagues for their hospitality at Georgia State Law that day.
That's it for my report for the past two weeks. Working as a business law professor is truly my calling and my privilege. I feel that when I have the opportunity to walk among the likes of our industrious colleagues in academia and government, as I did these past two weeks.