Monday, March 23, 2020

2020 National Business Law Scholars Conference - CFP Deadline Extended

This follows on my post from last week regarding the 2020 National Business Law Scholars Conference, scheduled for June 18-19, 2020 at The University of Tennessee College of Law.  The planning committee conferred a few days ago and, in recognition of the current state of affairs, determined to extend the deadline for paper submissions to Friday, April 24.  We hope that this takes some pressure off faculty who would like to submit a paper for inclusion in the conference but are wrestling with new challenges and stressors in transitioning to teaching online.

Again, please contact me at jheminwa@tennessee.edu or any other member of the planing committee listed below with questions.  Eric Chaffee handles paper submissions and scheduling.  Accordingly, he is the best person to contact if you need to address specific submission issues or scheduling constraints.  His email address is eric.chaffee@utoledo.edu.

Afra Afsharipour (University of California, Davis, School of Law)
Tony Casey (The University of Chicago Law School)
Eric C. Chaffee (The University of Toledo College of Law)
Steven Davidoff Solomon (University of California, Berkeley School of Law)
Joan MacLeod Heminway (The University of Tennessee College of Law)
Kristin N. Johnson (Tulane University Law School)
Elizabeth Pollman (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School)
Jeff Schwartz (University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law)
Megan Wischmeier Shaner (University of Oklahoma College of Law)

March 23, 2020 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, March 16, 2020

2020 National Business Law Scholars Conference - CFP Deadline in Two Weeks!

Thanks to all who have been registering and submitting papers for this year's National Business Law Scholars Conference, scheduled for June 18-19 at The University of Tennessee College of Law.  I posted on the conference last month.  The conference planning committee, like so many others, is monitoring the COVID-19 situation.  At present, the conference is still a "go," and we remain excited about it!

The deadline for paper submissions is March 31.  We hope that you are inspired to submit.  The conference website can be found here.  The planning committee understands that many (most?) of us are currently subject to institutionally imposed travel restrictions.  Please know that if you submit a paper and are unable to attend due to travel restrictions, you may withdraw your paper.

Comments can be left here, or feel free to email me or any other planning committee member for more information.  Paper submission questions are best directed to Eric Chaffee.  The planning committee members are listed again below, for your convenience.

Afra Afsharipour (University of California, Davis, School of Law)
Tony Casey (The University of Chicago Law School)
Eric C. Chaffee (The University of Toledo College of Law)
Steven Davidoff Solomon (University of California, Berkeley School of Law)
Joan MacLeod Heminway (The University of Tennessee College of Law)
Kristin N. Johnson (Tulane University Law School)
Elizabeth Pollman (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School)
Jeff Schwartz (University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law)
Megan Wischmeier Shaner (University of Oklahoma College of Law)

March 16, 2020 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 24, 2020

National Business Law Scholars Conference 2020 @ The University of Tennessee College of Law

National Business Law Scholars Conference (NBLSC)

June 18-19, 2020

Call for Papers

The National Business Law Scholars Conference (NBLSC) will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 18-19, 2020, at The University of Tennessee College of Law.

This is the eleventh meeting of the NBLSC, an annual conference that draws legal scholars from across the United States and around the world. We welcome all scholarly submissions relating to business law. Junior scholars and those considering entering the academy are especially encouraged to participate. If you are thinking about entering the academy and would like to receive informal mentoring and learn more about job market dynamics, please let us know when you make your submission.

Please use the conference website to submit an abstract or paper by March 31, 2020.  If you have any questions, concerns, or special requests regarding the schedule, please email Professor Eric C. Chaffee at eric.chaffee@utoledo.edu. We will respond to submissions with notifications of acceptance shortly after the deadline. We anticipate the conference schedule will be circulated in May.

Conference Organizers:

Afra Afsharipour (University of California, Davis, School of Law)
Tony Casey (The University of Chicago Law School)
Eric C. Chaffee (The University of Toledo College of Law)
Steven Davidoff Solomon (University of California, Berkeley School of Law)
Joan MacLeod Heminway (The University of Tennessee College of Law)
Kristin N. Johnson (Tulane University Law School)
Elizabeth Pollman (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School)
Jeff Schwartz (University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law)
Megan Wischmeier Shaner (University of Oklahoma College of Law)

February 24, 2020 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

2020 ALSB Annual and Regional Conferences

At this point, we’re a bit past the New Year, but you might still be thinking about the conferences you’ll attend in 2020, right?  Here are some great ideas:   

The Academy of Legal Studies in Business has a great annual conference in early August.  This year it’s in Providence, Rhode Island, August 4-8, 2020.  I’ve never been to Providence, but I hear it’s lovely.  I can’t wait! 

The Academy also has a number of regional conferences.  Check out all the options (if I missed one, send me an email)!

Canadian ALSB Annual Conference April 30-May 2, 2020 (Toronto, Canada)

Great Lakes ALSB, Fall 2020 (Grand Rapids area, Michigan – check back for more info)

Mid-Atlantic Academy of Legal Studies in Business, April 23-25, 2020 (Atlantic City, NJ)

Mid-West Academy of Legal Studies in Business, March 26-27, 2020 (Chicago, Illinois)

North Atlantic Regional Business Law Association Annual Conference, April 4, 2020 (Easton, Massachusetts)

North East Academy of Legal Studies in Business, May 1-3, 2020 (Lakeville, Connecticut)

Pacific Northwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business, April 23-25, 2020 (Vancouver, Canada)

Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business, February 13-16, 2020 (Palm Springs, California)

Rocky Mountain Academy of Legal Studies in Business, September 25-26, 2020 (Vail, Colorado)

Southern Academy of Legal Studies in Business, March 5-7, 2020 (San Antonio, Texas)

Southeastern Academy of Legal Studies in Business [check back for 2020 updates]

Western Academy of Legal Studies in Business, March 27-29, 2020 (Lake Tahoe)

February 9, 2020 in Call for Papers, Colleen Baker, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 7, 2020

7th Biennial Conference on the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills

 

Emory2020

CALL FOR PROPOSALS AND REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is delighted to announce its seventh biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills.  The conference, entitled Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight: Transactional Law and Skills Education in the 2020s,” will be held at Emory Law, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 2020, and ending at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Come together with your colleagues and friends in Atlanta to reflect upon transactional law and skills education and ponder the answers to three vital questions:

  • Where have we been?
  • What have we learned?
  • Where are we going?

Our keynote speaker – to be announced soon – will elaborate on our theme. In addition, conference attendees will participate in a workshop to create a vision for transactional law and skills education in the 2020s (the “Vision Workshop”).  Finally, we will bestow the second Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills.  (For information about how to nominate yourself or someone else for this award, please click here.)

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

 

We are accepting proposals immediately, but in no event later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020. 

We welcome you to present on any aspect of transactional law and skills education as long as you view it through the lens of our theme.  For example, if you present about a course, curriculum, or program, tell us how it’s worked, what you’ve learned, and how you envision it evolving over time.  Alternatively, you may want to focus on just one of the three questions. For example, if you present a “Try-This” session, you may want to examine what you have learned from teaching the exercise a number of times – and even from preparing to teach it to your colleagues. 

We also welcome proposals that address the big picture.  Maybe you have a scheme to address the legal education system’s tendency to value litigation skills training above transactional skills training.  Perhaps you have experience moving a law school faculty and administration to give transactional law and skills education the attention it deserves.  Or maybe you believe that riding the wave of the future means teaching students particular topics or skills – such as how to be a leader or how to use technology.

Try-This Sessions.  Each Friday afternoon “Try-This Session” will be 45-minutes long and will feature one classroom activity and one individual presenter.

Panels.  Each Saturday session, except for one hour devoted to the Vision Workshop, will be approximately 90 minutes long and feature a panel presenting two or more topics grouped together for synergy. 

Please submit the proposal form electronically via the Emory Law website found here before 5 p.m. on March 20, 2020. 

PUBLICATION OF SELECTED MATERIALS

As in prior years, some of the conference proceedings as well as the materials distributed by the speakers will be published in Transactions:  The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, a publication of the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law of The University of Tennessee, a co-sponsor of the conference.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

Both attendees and presenters must register for the Conference and pay the appropriate registration fee: $250 (general); $200 (adjunct professor and new professor).  Note: A new professor is someone in their first three years of teaching.

The registration fee includes a pre-conference lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m., snacks, and a reception on June 5, and breakfast, lunch, and snacks on June 6. We are planning an optional Thursday evening reception (June 4) and Friday evening dinner (June 5) at an additional cost of $60 per person for the dinner.

Registration is now open for the Conference and the optional events here.

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AND HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

Attendees and presenters are responsible for their own travel arrangements and hotel accommodations. Special hotel rates for conference participants are available at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, less than one mile from the conference site at Emory Law. Subject to availability, rates are $159 per night. Free shuttle transportation will be provided between the Emory Conference Center Hotel and Emory Law.

To make a reservation at the special conference rate, call the Emory Conference Center Hotel at 800.933.6679 and mention “The Emory Law Transactional Conference.” Note: The hotel’s special conference rate expires at the end of the day on Thursday, May 14, 2020.  If you encounter any technical difficulties in submitting your proposal or in registering online, please contact Kelli Pittman, Program Coordinator, at kelli.pittman@emory.edu or 404.727.3382.

We look forward to seeing you in June!

Sue Payne                               Katherine Koops                      Kelli Pittman
Executive Director                 Assistant Director                    Program Coordinator

February 7, 2020 in Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Insider Trading Stories at UT Law

TJLP(InsiderTradingStories2019)

I was thrilled to be with so many wonderful colleagues and students (pictured above) at the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy's symposium at UT Law last Friday.  The symposium, "Insider Trading: Stories from the Attorneys," featured presentations about famous and not-so-famous insider trading cases.  Presenters included Michael Guttentag (Loyola, Los Angeles), me, Jeremy Kidd (Mercer), Ellen Podgor (Stetson), John Anderson (Mississippi College), Eric Chaffee (Toledo), Kevin Douglas (Scalia), and Donna Nagy (Maurer).  The papers presented highlight a variety of salient issues (including observations about the impact of gender and sexual orientation in specific cases or types of cases) involving or touching insider trading regulation.  They are being published in 2020 by the Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy.

The idea for the symposium came from a Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) discussion session convened last summer by John and me.  I described it in this post.  Let me or John know if you are working in the insider trading area and would like to join us for our 2020 SEALS discussion group, "Insider Trading: Is It All about the Money?"  The SEALS conference is scheduled to be held July 30 - August 5, 2020.  The discussion is always lively!

November 18, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, Securities Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tulane Symposium: The Implications of Artificial Intelligence for a Just Society

On November 8, Professor Kristin Johnson of Tulane will host Tulane Law School’s 2019 Gamm Comparative Law and Justice Symposium, focusing on The Implications of Artificial Intelligence for a Just Society. The rise of artificial intelligence introduces efficiencies and new opportunities in finance, employment, education, criminal law enforcement risk assessments, national security and the automation of the various professions, including the development of smart contracts and the automation of various skills associated with the practice of law. Recursive learning and neural networks enable machine learning algorithms to adapt beyond simple instructions and independently assess data in decision-making processes. Early evidence indicates, however, that learning algorithms may operate in a manner that leads to unfair, biased or unethical and in some cases, discriminatory outcomes.

The Gamm Symposium will explore these normative concerns and proposed solutions including proposals demanding algorithmic accountability or, more specifically, proposals encouraging explainability and transparency. Advancing the discussion beyond traditional proposals, the Symposium concludes with a panel exploring the lack of gender balance in the technology industry and capital investment in women-lead technology firms.

The event is free and open to the public, though registration is required.  More information is available here.

October 31, 2019 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Opportunities for Business Law Profs - Deadlines Approaching!

Two opportunities for business law profs crossed my desk over the past few days.  One comes from Beate Sjåfjell, and the other from Caprice Roberts.  The topics?  Sustainability and SEALS.

Beate advises that there are a few places left at an upcoming conference on Corporate Sustainability Reforms: Securing Market Actors' Contribution to Global Sustainability.  The conference will be held in Oslo, Norway on October 24, 2019 and features contributions from around the world and across disciplines. She promotes the conference as follows:

We know that we need the contribution of all market actors: business, citizens, investors, and the public sector to achieve sustainability. However, a number of barriers, gaps and incoherencies that prevents market actors from contributing has been identified by the SMART Project. At this conference we will discuss how to facilitate the transition to sustainability, with the aim of identifying concrete proposals.

The conference is open to students, scholars, policy-makers, practitioners, and journalists. The deadline to register is October 17. There is no registration fee, and a lunch and reception are included for all participants.

Caprice wrote to remind me that the submissions portal, https://www.sealslawschools.org/index.php/conference-submissions/, is open for the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) 2020 annual meeting and conference at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale July 30 - August 5.  Guidelines are accessible from the same link. SEALS hopes to have a preliminary draft of the program up in early November.
 
I have focused on generating or promoting business law offerings at SEALS for many years.  John Anderson and I are looking to organize a discussion session for the 2020 conference on what motivates insider trading, and a few people have been asking around about some other business law topics.  The more, the merrier.  Let me know if I can help you in generating ideas for discussion sessions or other SEALS programs.

October 14, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

ABA LLC Institute - Time to Register!

Some of you may remember my post from last year on the American Bar Association's LLC Institute, an annual program at which I have presented and from which I have benefitted.  This year's institute is scheduled for November 7 & 8 at the Stetson Tampa Law Center.  The registration deadline is October 25.  The registration site can be found here.

The program agenda is, as usual, amazing.  Baylor Law's Beth Miller will lead off (with others) in presenting updates on relevant decisional law.  Additional highlights include panels on "LLC Agreements That Went Wrong, and How to Fix Them: Case Studies and War Stories" and "Re-Imagining the Business Trust as a Sustainable Business Form" (the latter featuring friend and Florida Law prof Lee-Ford Tritt) and an ethics program featuring (among others) Bob Keatinge, who is always illuminating and entertaining.  Presentations by other LLC Institute favorites (including Tom Rutledge, whose message to me prompted this post) pepper the program.

On Thursday night, at the annual dinner, Mitchell Hamline School of Law Emeritus Professor Dan Kleinberger will receive the 2019 Martin I. Lubaroff Award.  Most business law profs know Dan, who has (among other things) been a tremendous servant of the academy and the bar on unincorporated business entity issues.  I have benefitted from that service.  I am sad to miss being at the institute this year to see him get that award and congratulate him in person.

The LLC Institute is where the LLC elite meet.  If you have not attended this program and research/write in the unincorporated business associations area, I recommend you check it out.  Heck, I recommend that you attend anyway.  It's a super two days of learning and networking in a lovely part of the country.  Continuing legal education credit is available.

October 12, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, LLCs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Emory Law Transactional Law and Skills Conference 2020

SAVE THE DATE

Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is excited to announce the date for its seventh biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills.  The conference will be held at Emory Law, on Friday, June 5, 2020, and Saturday, June 6, 2020.

More information will be forthcoming on the Call for Proposals, the Call for Nominations for the Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills, open registration, and travel accommodations.  We are looking forward to seeing all of you on June 5 and 6, 2020!

Emory2020(SaveDate)

October 5, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 30, 2019

What is a Merger Anyway?

BLPB2019(MergerPanel)

I want to follow on Colleen's post from yesterday with my own Business Law Prof Blog Symposium commentary.  But first, I want to thank Colleen, Ben, Josh, Doug, Haskell, and Stefan for participating with me in the symposium this year.  Our continuing legal education attendees, as well as our faculty and students, love this symposium each year.  It always turns out to be a wonderful pot pourri of business law topics that literally connect the threads of what we do as business lawyers and business law educators.

Rather than being a featured presenter this year, I chose to present panel-style with two of my UT Law colleagues.  (That's us, plus our student commentator, Dixon Babb, in the photo above.  Thanks for capturing that, Haskell!)  The panel was designed to describe different conceptions of mergers based on distinct areas of legal expertise, together with related professional responsibility commentary.  I chose my colleagues Don Leatherman and Tom Plank to join me for this session--Don a tax law practitioner and teacher and Tom a property law practitioner and teacher.  The reason for these choices was simple: the three of us had covered this issue before in an informal conversation, and I had found it really stimulating.  Don and Tom are amazingly good at what they do, are humorous in their own unique ways, and were exceedingly good sports about joining me on Friday and trying to re-create the atmosphere, as well as the content, of our prior discussion.

An edited excerpt (the introduction) from the abstract for our panel is included below.  I may have more to say about this panel in a later post.  A transcript of the full panel discussion and Q&A will be published in the spring 2020 issue of Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.  I will try to remember to post a link after that book is published.  (Last year's symposium volume can be found here, by the way.)  

Anyway, here is our introduction.  This panel discussion was so much fun to do, as you might imagine.  I can only hope others enjoyed it as much as the three of us did!

This contribution to “Connecting the Threads III,” the third annual Business Law Prof Blog symposium, involves a conversation between and among three law professors with diverse law practice backgrounds—a corporate finance lawyer, a tax lawyer, and a property lawyer who has served as bankruptcy counsel and Uniform Commercial Code sales and securitization counsel. About ten years ago, these three lawyers, all professors at The University of Tennessee College of Law, found themselves by a water cooler talking about mergers, equity sales, and assets sales. As the corporate finance lawyer recalls, the conversation moved into high gear when the property lawyer questioned her classroom depiction of merger transactions as creatures of statutory magic . . . .

In their conversation that day, the three law professors began to scope out various conceptions of mergers and acquisitions (in common parlance, M&A transactions or business combinations) based on the distinct perspectives provided by their professional backgrounds, their scholarship, and the courses they teach that intersect with M&A transactions. The conversation emanates from the distinct policy objectives (and resulting broad, conceptual substantive focuses) of different legal regimes. The observations each made—both as to their own areas of expertise and those of their colleagues—together offered an appropriately complex picture of these intricate transactions, which often are executed using a team of lawyers representing various areas of practice. As the colleagues parted company that day, one of them made mental note that the conversation should have been recorded—for her own benefit and for the benefit of students who, depending on their upper-division course selections, may not get exposure to this more complete and rich portrayal of business combinations.

At “Connecting the Threads III,” these three law professors . . . attempt to recreate and expand on the content of their impromptu water-cooler conversation. While the precise discussion cannot, after all of these years, be faithfully replicated, its overall nature—updated to reflect current legal doctrine, policy, theory, and norms—can be reconstructed. The discussion addresses a series of broad questions, the threshold one being what a merger is, from the standpoint of each professor’s area of practice, scholarship, and teaching.

September 30, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, M&A | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Announcing the Third Annual Business Law Prof Blog Symposium - "Connecting the Threads"

Screenshot 2019-09-13 21.09.15

I am pleased to announce that The University of Tennessee College of Law is again hosting editors of this blog for a symposium focusing on current topics in business law.  The website for the symposium, which is sponsored by UT Law's Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law, is here.  Faculty and students from UT Law will comment on presentations given by my fellow BLPB bloggers.  Participating editors of the BLPB in this year's program include Colleen Baker, Ben Edwards, Josh Fershee, me, Doug Moll, Haskell Murray, and Stefan Padfield.  The lunchtime panel features me and two of my UT Law colleagues exploring the legal meaning and understanding of mergers and other business combinations from various perspectives, including business associations law, bankruptcy and UCC law, and federal income tax law.  That, alone, is surely worth the price of entry!

If you live in or near Knoxville, please come and join us.  Continuing legal education credit is available to members of the Tennessee bar.  If you cannot make it to the symposium, however, a video recording of the proceedings will later be available on UT Law's website, with an expected option for online continuing legal education credits.  (Last year's program is available here with a continuing legal education credit option.)  In addition, the written proceedings of the symposium are scheduled to be published in the spring volume of Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.

I am looking forward to having many of my BLPB co-editors in town for this program.  It's always a special time when we are together.

September 16, 2019 in Colleen Baker, Conferences, Haskell Murray, Joan Heminway, Joshua P. Fershee, Stefan J. Padfield | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 9, 2019

Call for Papers - Business Law Empirical Studies - Short Timeframe

Call for Papers for Section on Law & the Social Sciences Program at the AALS Annual Meeting

The Section on Law & Social Sciences is pleased to announce a Call for Papers from which one or two additional presenters may be selected for the section’s program panel to be held during the AALS 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The panel is entitled “Empirical Research in Business Law: Works in Progress,” and the panelists will summarize the methods and/or results of their current qualitative or quantitative empirical research projects as works in progress.

Form and Length of Submission:

The Section welcomes relevant submissions in the form of research proposals, preliminary pilot studies, or even nearly completed projects with results. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to submit. Submissions should incorporate at least a brief (3-5 page) summary or abstract of the project.

Submission Method and Due Date:

Papers should be submitted electronically to David Kwok (dkwok@uh.edu). The due date for submission is September, 20, 2019. Authors selected will be notified by September 27, 2019. The Call for Papers presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee and hotel and travel expenses.

Inquiries or Questions:

Any inquiries about the Call for Papers should be submitted to David Kwok (dkwok@uh.edu).

September 9, 2019 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Beyond Bitcoin: Leveraging Blockchain to Benefit Business and Society

Have you ever wanted to learn the basics about blockchain? Do you think it's all hype and a passing fad? Whatever your view, take a look at my new article, Beyond Bitcoin: Leveraging Blockchain to Benefit Business and Society, co-authored with Rachel Epstein, counsel at Hedera Hashgraph.  I became interested in blockchain a year ago because I immediately saw potential use cases in supply chain, compliance, and corporate governance. I met Rachel at a Humanitarian Blockchain Summit and although I had already started the article, her practical experience in the field added balance, perspective, and nuance. 

The abstract is below:

Although many people equate blockchain with bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts, the technology also has the potential to transform the way companies look at governance and enterprise risk management, and to assist governments and businesses in mitigating human rights impacts. This Article will discuss how state and non-state actors use the technology outside of the realm of cryptocurrency. Part I will provide an overview of blockchain technology. Part II will briefly describe how public and private actors use blockchain today to track food, address land grabs, protect refugee identity rights, combat bribery and corruption, eliminate voter fraud, and facilitate financial transactions for those without access to banks. Part III will discuss key corporate governance, compliance, and social responsibility initiatives that currently utilize blockchain or are exploring the possibilities for shareholder communications, internal audit, and cyber security. Part IV will delve into the business and human rights landscape and examine how blockchain can facilitate compliance. Specifically, we will focus on one of the more promising uses of distributed ledger technology -- eliminating barriers to transparency in the human rights arena thereby satisfying various mandatory disclosure regimes and shareholder requests. Part V will pose questions that board members should ask when considering adopting the technology and will recommend that governments, rating agencies, sustainable stock exchanges, and institutional investors provide incentives for companies to invest in the technology, when appropriate. Given the increasing widespread use of the technology by both state and non-state actors and the potential disruptive capabilities, we conclude that firms that do not explore blockchain’s impact risk obsolescence or increased regulation.

Things change so quickly in this space. Some of the information in the article is already outdated and some of the initiatives have expanded. To keep up, you may want to subscribe to newsletters such as Hunton, Andrews, Kurth's Blockchain Legal Resource. For more general information on blockchain, see my post from last year, where I list some of the videos that I watched to become literate on the topic. For additional resources, see here and here

If you are interested specifically in government use cases, consider joining the Government Blockchain Association. On September 14th and 15th,  the GBA is holding its Fall 2019 Symposium, “The Future of Money, Governance and the Law,” in Arlington, Virginia. Speakers will include a chief economist from the World Bank and banking, political, legal, regulatory, defense, intelligence, and law enforcement professionals from around the world.  This event is sponsored by the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government, Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA) Center, and the Government Blockchain Association (GBA). Organizers expect over 300 government, industry and academic leaders on the Arlington Campus of George Mason University, either in person or virtually. To find out more about the event go to: http://bit.ly/FoMGL-914.

Blockchain is complex and it's easy to get overwhelmed. It's not the answer to everything, but I will continue my focus on the compliance, governance, and human rights implications, particularly for Dodd-Frank and EU conflict minerals due diligence and disclosure. As lawyers, judges, and law students, we need to educate ourselves so that we can provide solid advice to legislators and business people who can easily make things worse by, for example, drafting laws that do not make sense and developing smart contracts with so many loopholes that they cause jurisdictional and enforcement nightmares.

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding blockchain, I'm particularly proud of this article and would not have been able to do it without my co-author, Rachel, my fantastic research assistants Jordan Suarez, Natalia Jaramillo, and Lauren Miller from the University of Miami School of Law, and the student editors at the Tennessee Journal of Business Law. If you have questions or please post them below or reach out to me at mweldon@law.miami.edu. 

 

 

September 7, 2019 in Compliance, Conferences, Contracts, Corporate Governance, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Financial Markets, Human Rights, Law Reviews, Lawyering, Legislation, Marcia Narine Weldon, Securities Regulation, Shareholders, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 23, 2019

UN Forum on Business and Human Rights- Nov. 25-27. Registration Open

I had planned to write about the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation signed by 200 top CEOs. If you read this blog, you've likely read the coverage and the varying opinions. I'm still reading the various blog posts, statements by NGOs, and 10-Ks of some of the largest companies so that I can gather my thoughts. In the meantime, many of these same companies  will be at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights touting their records. I've been to the Forum several times, and it's worth the trip. If you're interested in joining over 2,000 people, including representatives from many of the signatories of the Statement, see below. You can register here:

The UN annual Forum on Business and Human Rights is the global platform for stock-taking and lesson-sharing on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice. As the world’s foremost gathering in this area, it provides a unique space for dialogue between governments, business, civil society, affected groups and international organizations on trends, challenges and good practices in preventing and addressing business-related human rights impacts. The first Forum was held in 2012. It attracts more than 2,000 experts, practitioners and leaders for three days of an action- and solution-oriented dialogue.The Forum was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011  “to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights, including challenges faced in particular sectors, operational environments or in relation to specific rights or groups, as well as identifying good practices” (resolution 17/4, paragraph 12).

The Forum addresses all three pillars of the Guiding Principles:

    • The State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation and adjudication;
    • The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts with which a business is involved; and
    • The need for access to effective remedy for rights-holders when abuse has occurred, through both judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms

The Forum is guided and chaired by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and organized by its Secretariat at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

If you have any questions about the value of attending the Forum, feel free to reach out to me at mweldon@law.miami.edu. 

August 23, 2019 in Conferences, Corporate Personality, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Human Rights, International Business, International Law, Marcia Narine Weldon, Shareholders, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

More ALSB Tidbits: Ethical Decision Making & the Conformity Bias + Ethics Unwrapped

Last week, I posted about the Annual Conference of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.  Since then, I reflected on Robert Prentice’s fantastic presentation at this event on Ethical Decision Making and the Conformity Bias.  So, I decided to mention the conference again both to highlight Prentice’s extensive and important work in business ethics, and to remind – and perhaps in some cases, introduce – BLPB readers of a phenomenal teaching resource: Ethics Unwrapped, a program within the Center for Leadership and Ethics (CLE) at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.

Prentice’s conference talk was entertaining, engaging, and thought-provoking.  Here’s the description: Even the best people are only boundedly ethical. A wide range of social and organizational pressures, cognitive heuristics and biases, and situational factors affect (often adversely) people’s ethical decision making. This paper explores one of these influences that is often underestimated—the conformity bias, which is the tendency that people have to take their cues as to what to think and how to act from those around them, particularly members of their in-group.  Click here to download the paper: Download Conformity Bias Paper Montreal 

One of the many videos offered by Ethics Unwrapped is on the conformity bias.  As with other videos on this site, it is also accompanied by related discussion questions, case studies, teaching notes, and additional resources.  If you’ve never browsed the website, I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with [t]his free educational program…used around the world by more than 1,200 colleges and universities, in hundreds of businesses and organizations, and by tens of thousands of ethics learners.  It will definitely be time well spent!

Revised 8/20/19

 

August 18, 2019 in Colleen Baker, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Panel Tidbits from the Annual ALSB Conference

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!      

Revised: 8/13/19

August 11, 2019 in Colleen Baker, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 5, 2019

SEALS Tidbits - 2019

I am just back from the 2019 Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference.  I participated in several different kinds of activities this year.  This post reports out on each.

I first served as a participant in a series of discussion groups tailored to provide information to aspiring law professors.  The attendees included newly minted fellows and VAPs, mid-to-later-career lawyers/judges looking to switch to full-time law faculty (some already adjuncts or visitors), and (in general) law practitioners testing the waters for possible engagement with the Association of American Law Schools faculty recruitment process.  SEALS has served selected prospective law professors with a specialized track of preparative programming for a number of years.  This set of discussion groups represents an extension of that type of programming, on a more general informational level, to a wider audience of folks interested in careers in law teaching.

I also presented in a discussion group, sponsors by West Academic, on "Teaching to Engage."  Steve Friesland of Elon Law moderated the session.  I shared some of my "first class" and assessment simulations for business law doctrinal and experiential courses.  I learned from many others who shared their own ways of engaging students.  It was a rich discussion.

The anual SEALS "Supreme Court and Legislative Update: Business and Regulatory Issues" featured a presentation from me on a few cases and things to watch for from a legislative viewpoint.  I was joined on the panel by several super-fun business and administrative law colleagues.  One of them, Lou Virelli, posted a summary of the session on the SEALS Blog.  You can find it here.

Michigan State law prof Carla Reyes's "New Scholar" presentation of her draft paper currently entitled "Autonomous Business Reality," was fascinating.  I was proud to serve as her assigned mentor for this session.  I hope I lived up to that role, considering she is a leader in law-and-technology research and I already cite to her work on blockchain technology!  Humbling to be a mentor under those circumstances, for sure.

As part of the Free Speech Workshop, I related the history and current status of student free speech issues involving registered student organizations at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, based on my experience as a faculty advisor to a controversial student organization on our campus.  That presentation was part of a larger discussion group on campus free speech issues.  My UT Law colleague David Wolitz was a co-discussant. Howard Wasserman of FIU Law summarized the session here.

Last--but certainly not least--I co-moderated/moderated two substantive law SEALS discussion groups.  

First, John Anderson of Mississippi College Law (with only a bit of help from me) organized and moderated a session entitled "Insider Trading Stories," in which participants focused on the narratives underlying insider trading cases--known and unknown.  This proved to be an incredibly robust and diverse discussion, highlighting issues in insider trading theory, policy, and doctrine.  Longer versions of some of the discussion group offerings will be presented at a symposium at UT Law in the fall, sponsored by the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy (TJLP).  The TJLP will publish the edited papers in a forthcoming volume.  I was pleased to see BLPB co-blogger Marcia Narine Weldon in the room!

Second, I moderated a discussion group entitled "Benefit Corporation (or Not)? Establishing and Maintaining Social Impact Business Firms."  The program description of the session follows:

As the benefit corporation form nears the end of its first decade of "life" as a legally recognized form of business association, it seems important to reflect on whether it has fulfilled its promise as a matter of legislative intent and public responsibility and service. This discussion group is designed to take on the challenge of engaging in that reflective process. The participating scholars include doctrinal and clinical faculty members who both favor and tend to recommend the benefit corporation form for social enterprises and those who disfavor or hesitate to recommend it.

The final group pf participants included researchers/writers from the United Kingdom and Canada as well as the United States.  BLPB co-blogger (and newly minted dean) Josh Fershee was among the group, and BLPB co-blogger Marcia Narine Weldon was again in attendance. The discussion was spirited and there were more than a few "aha" moments for me.

All-in-all, a busy--but enlightening--week's work.

It soon will be time to propose programs for the 2020 SEALS annual meeting, to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The date of the conference is likely to be moved up to start on July 30 to accommodate the very early (and getting earlier) starts for schools in the Southeastern United States (and probably elsewhere, too). If you have business law program ideas or would like to moderate or participate in a business law program, please contact me by email. I find that this conference (especially the discussion groups) helps to energize my teaching and scholarship in meaningful ways. Perhaps you also would find this a great place to jumpstart the academic year.

August 5, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, Joshua P. Fershee, Marcia Narine Weldon, Research/Scholarhip, Teaching, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Social Enterprise Lawyering: More Than Mere Legal Competence is Required . . . .

For last year's Business Law Prof Blog symposium at UT Law, I spoke on issues relating to the representation of business firms classified or classifiable as social enterprises.  Last September, I wrote a bit about my presentation here.  The resulting essay, Lawyering for Social Enterprise, was recently posted to SSRN.  The SSRN abstract follows.

Social enterprise and the related concepts of social entrepreneurship and impact investing are neither well defined nor well understood. As a result, entrepreneurs, investors, intermediaries, and agents, as well as their respective advisors, may be operating under different impressions or assumptions about what social enterprise is and have different ideas about how to best build and manage a sustainable social enterprise business. Moreover, the law governing social enterprises also is unclear and unpredictable in respects. This essay identifies two principal areas of uncertainty and demonstrates their capacity to generate lawyering challenges and related transaction costs around both entity formation and ongoing internal governance questions in social enterprises. Core to the professionalism issues are the professional responsibilities implicated in an attorney’s representation of social enterprise businesses.

To illuminate legal and professional responsibility issues relevant to representing social enterprises, this essay proceeds in four parts. First, using as its touchstone a publicly available categorization system, the essay defines and describes types of social enterprises, outlining three distinct business models. Then, in its following two parts, the essay focuses in on two different aspects of the legal representation of social enterprise businesses: choice of entity and management decision making. Finally, reflecting on these two aspects of representing social enterprises, the essay concludes with some general observations about lawyering in this specialized business context, emphasizing the importance of: a sensitivity to the various business models and related facts; knowledge of a complex and novel set of laws; well-practiced, contextual legal reasoning skills; and judgment borne of a deep understanding of the nature of social enterprise and of clients and their representatives working in that space.

I hope that this essay is relatable and valuable to both academics and practicing lawyers.  Feedback is welcomed.  So are comments.  

Also, I will no doubt be talking more about aspects of this topic at a SEALS discussion group later this week entitled "Benefit Corporation (or Not)? Establishing and Maintaining Social Impact Business Firms," which I proposed for inclusion in this year's conference and for which I will serve as a moderator.  The description of the discussion group is as follows:

As the benefit corporation form nears the end of its first decade of "life" as a legally recognized form of business association, it seems important to reflect on whether it has fulfilled its promise as a matter of legislative intent and public responsibility and service. This discussion group is designed to take on the challenge of engaging in that reflective process. The participating scholars include doctrinal and clinical faculty members who both favor and tend to recommend the benefit corporation form for social enterprises and those who disfavor or hesitate to recommend it.

As you can see from the SEALS program for the meeting, the participants represent both academics (doctrinal and clinical) and practitioners who care about social enterprise and entity formation.   If you are at SEALS, please come and join us!

July 29, 2019 in Business Associations, Compliance, Conferences, Corporate Governance, Corporations, Joan Heminway, Lawyering, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Leading from Where We Are - Women's Leadership in Legal Academia

WomensLeadership2019(IMG_1193)

Last Thursday and Friday, I had the honor and pleasure of joining a large group of women interested in law school leadership at the second annual Women's Leadership in Legal Academia conference.  The two days provided many opportunities for education and inspiration. Four of my UT Law colleagues started off the conference with a workshop focused on microaggressions.  My mini-workshop entitled "Leading from Where We Are" (picture above taken by fellow BLPB blogger Colleen Baker, who attended the session) followed.

The workshop extended my thoughts on leadership as a concept distinct from titles--thoughts I had touched on in an earlier blog post for the Leading as Lawyers blog. It also offered me the chance to describe an optimal organizational structure, with leaders at every key juncture.  In introducing my panelists, I noted leadership attributes that I had observed in each and told a related/relevant story about our relationship.  Then, we offered for discussion two hypothetical situations in which a faculty member is challenged to lead.  In each case, we started with small group work and followed through with a report-out to the "committee of the whole."  One of the hypotheticals involved a (potential) misunderstanding between the dean and the faculty, and the other related to a traumatic incident involving one or more students from one of your classes.  The small group discussions yielded excellent thoughts for consideration in the larger group forum.

Among the observations?  I will highlight just two here.  First, that the way a faculty member handles a potentially divisive situation involving the dean and the faculty may depend on the dean's leadership style (dictatorial or collaborative, e.g.) and the level of mutual trust between the dean and the faculty.  Also, in exploring the various ways in which a faculty member might address traumatic events known to the public (e.g., fires and floods) and those that are more private (e.g., a student death under unusual circumstances), we identified different levels of faculty comfort in addressing trauma in the classroom.  There was especial discomfort in addressing individual, personal trauma.

Colleen or I may have more to say about the conference in future posts.  I was thrilled with the creative energy generated by this panel.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share and learn.  What's more, organizing the session enabled me to reconnect with four fabulous leaders in legal academia and to meet many more.  A total "win" for me.

July 21, 2019 in Colleen Baker, Conferences, Joan Heminway, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0)