Wednesday, August 5, 2020
The Academy of Legal Studies in Business is in the midst of its annual conference. And, not surprisingly, it’s completely online. Although we aren’t able to meet in person this year, the event has been a really great, remarkably smooth experience. Pre-pandemic, the Program Chair, Professor Robert Bird, at the University of Connecticut School of Business, presciently selected the theme of “Managing Disruption.”
For me, one highlight of the conference thus far has been the opportunity to hear guest speaker Lee Buchheit’s remarks to the ALSB’s International Section on the “State of the Art of Sovereign Debt Restructuring.” Buchheit is arguably the world’s leading expert on sovereign debt restructuring. As an FT Alphaville piece put it: Buchheit “has represented nearly every country that has gone bankrupt since the 1980s, sparring with aggrieved creditors and cajoling stricken governments back to fiscal health — and in the process almost single-handedly building up an entire field of international law.” He didn’t disappoint, giving us a fascinating overview of the major disruption the pandemic is causing in the sovereign debt arena, and the likely challenges that lie ahead, including the risk of a systemic sovereign debt crisis such as happened in the 1980s. For readers interested in learning more about Buchheit’s perspectives on the impending issues in sovereign debt markets, a few places to start are here and here.
Afterwards, the International Section elected a new officer, Professor Justin Evans, to serve the Section, along with Professor Kevin Fandl (President) and myself (Vice-President). A total, but quick, fun digression: Fandl has led several faculty development trips in international business to Chile to study innovation in Chile focused on wine. Watch out for the next iteration!
Our Section meeting was followed by presentations for the ALSB Ralph Bunche Award for Best International Paper. This Award aims to recognize excellent, unpublished research in the area of international business law. There were many exceptional submissions, and it was difficult to select the finalists. Professor Abbey Stemler presented Regulation of Sharing Economy Platforms: A Multi-Country Comparative Study. Professors Brian Feinstein and Kevin Werbach discussed The Impact of Regulation on Global Cryptocurrency Trading (here). Professor Tim Samples, the winner of the Award for 2020, spoke about Investment Disputes and Federal Power in Foreign Relations (here).
Finally, I want to send a big THANK YOU to outgoing President Professor Stephen Park! With his tireless work for, and commitment to, the Section, he did a great job of modeling for future officers excellence in this role.