Sunday, August 11, 2019
I just returned from the Annual Conference of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) in Montreal, Canada. It was a great conference, packed with a variety of panels, paper presentations, workshops, social opportunities, and events showcasing this beautiful city to the north. Hence, there’s much that could be shared! In today’s post, I’ve decided to highlight two conference panels whose format I found to be creative and intellectually exciting. Both identified an overarching theme, and then scholars with divergent interests discussed the theme in the context of their own research. Then, after panelists’ initial remarks, the moderator posed questions to panel participants before welcoming audience queries.
Stephen Park assembled and moderated a group of scholars (including me!) to discuss interconnections among global financial markets and sovereign actors, as both regulators and market participants. Tim Samples examined sovereign debt restructuring; Matthew Turk focused on the sovereign/banking nexus and interactions between governments and intergovernmental actors; Jeremy Kress discussed bank capital requirements for sovereign debt; and, I considered the use of sovereign debt to meet clearinghouse margin requirements. The panel was a lot of fun and we were all really grateful to Stephen for taking the lead in organizing it! Here’s the panel’s official description:
Financial Crisis and Reform: Sovereign Debt, Systemic Risk, and Government Insolvency. Like companies, governments participate in the financial markets in various ways, including issuing bonds. However, this shared modus operandi obscures fundamental legal differences between corporate and government financing and the deep linkages between government debt and the broader financial markets. The significance of these differences is particularly evident when governments become insolvent or when their activities pose a risk to the financial system. This panel explores the implications of these dynamics under bankruptcy, banking, securities, and international law and in the context of sovereign and municipal debt restructurings, the use of sovereign debt as collateral, and macroprudential regulation.
Sarah Light and Stephen Park organized the second panel. It centered on standard setting, collective action problems, and governance by private actors in different subject matter areas. David Zaring discussed the Equator Principles and the Santiago Principles; Kevin Kolben examined the protection of labor rights in global supply chains; Scott Shackelford considered the issue of cyber peace; Stephen Park focused the intersection of international economic law, corporate social responsibility, and financial law, particularly in regard to ESG reporting; and, Sarah Light explored efforts to insure nature by private actors. Here’s the panel’s official description:
Private Governance and the Collective Action Problems Facing Business Today. Private standards—created, monitored, and enforced by groups of non-state actors—are proliferating to address emerging risks and opportunities in business. Their appeal lies in their capacity to address collective action problems that governments are not addressing effectively on their own. Their growing influence calls for new ways of analyzing the process of lawmaking, the accountability of lawmakers, and the enforceability of standards that do not rely on coercive governmental authority. This panel will address these questions and others across several emerging areas, including labor and employment law, cybersecurity, financial regulation, international trade, environmental protection, and socially responsible investing.
In sum, both panels were thought-provoking, and followed a great format. I’m already looking forward to the 2020 ALSB Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island! And, lastly, on the flight home today, I read through half of Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (noted by co-blogger Haskell Murray). Thus far, I strongly second his recommendation!