Friday, June 21, 2019

2019 National Business Law Scholars - A Masterful Jill Fisch Keynote

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Today, the 10th annual National Business Law Scholars Conference concluded.  Jill Fisch gave today's keynote lecture at lunchtime.  She masterfully (really) tied together the scholarship of the far-and-away vast majority of the business law scholars attending the conference by weaving together corporate purpose, private ordering, and choice of entity.  In tying these themes together, she encouraged us all to use our scholarship to serve multiple audiences--including the judiciary, the law practice community, and industry.

This talk resonated with me from start to finish.  I was riveted.  I knew Jill was talking directly to me and so many others in the room who have plumbed the core of corporate governance and tried to address multiple audiences with our work.  She validated, and encouraged us to continue (and expand), our work in these somewhat unsettled (and sometimes unsettling!) areas of business law.

Take me for example (since I know myself best . . . ).  As Jill talked about corporate purpose, I heard her to be validating part of my article on Corporate Purpose and Litigation Risk in Publicly Held U.S. Benefit Corporations.  When she addressed private ordering, I understood her to be endorsing my observations on that subject (as well as corporate purpose!) in Shareholder Wealth Maximization as a Function of Statutes, Decisional Law, and Organic Documents.  And when she extolled the virtues of scholarship on choice of entity, I realized she was supporting work like mine in Let's Not Give Up on Traditional For-Profit Corporations for Sustainable Social Enterprise.  In each of those pieces, I was talking to audiences that include those outside the business law academy.  I have recently focused more direct attention on these additional audiences in essays like Why Can't We Be Friends? A Business Finance Lawyer's Plaintive Plea to Entrepreneurs and Professional Responsibility in an Age of Alternative Entities, Alternative Finance, and Alternative Facts.  I know that others in the audience saw similar reflections of Jill's words in their own work.

Mike Guttentag observed in summary that Jill's words represented both a "call to action" and a celebration.  I could not have summed Jill's talk up any better than that.  (And she seemed pleased by that summary--indicating that if she had achieved those objectives, she had done the job she set out to do.)

I left the keynote program uplifted and, frankly, jazzed up about what I have done, am doing, and plan to continue to do.  The great comments I got on my insider trading project in the session right after her talk were icing on this beautiful cake.  Thank you, Jill, for your rousing endorsement of business law scholarship.

June 21, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, Research/Scholarhip | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 17, 2019

Grunin Center Conference 2019

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Earlier this month, I attended and presented at the 2019 Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing–in the US and Beyond conference co-organized by the Impact Investing Legal Working Group and the Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship at the NYU School of Law.  My friends Deb Burand and Helen Scott (also my Corporations and Securities Regulation professor when I was at NYU Law) co-direct the Grunin Center.  They organized a super conference this year.  Each year, the conference draws more folks--and with good reason.

I presented as part of a panel that compared and contrasted the use of different forms of entity for social enterprise businesses.  My role was (perhaps predictably, given that I wrote this piece) to defend the use of traditional for-profit corporations for this purpose.  I got some love from the panel and the audience, but so did others with different views . . . .

One of the nifty features of this conference is the use of lunchtime slots for "table talks" (roundtable discussions) and workshops.  I attended a table talk entitled "Gender Lens Investing: A Year in Review and A Look Ahead" and a workshop on "Re-Designing Legal Education for Lawyers, Social Entrepreneurs, and Impact Investors in the US and Beyond."  (The latter, which involved a design-thinking exercise to work on a course plan/syllabus, has spawned an ongoing informal working group that met again earlier today on Zoom.)  The conference attracts both lawyers and folks from industry.

For me, a wonderful part of this conference--and the scholar convening that followed on the day after the conference--was the inspiration of a new ideas for research and writing.  In my view, a good conference routinely does that, without fanfare. I hope to report out on the details of some of those ideas in the future.

During the week before the Grunin Center conference, I was at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting.  I presented my ongoing insider trading research at that meeting.  I will again be presenting that work (with some updates) at the National Business Law Scholars Conference later this week.  I hope to see many of our readers there and share my insider trading research in later posts.

June 17, 2019 in Conferences, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 3, 2019

Delaware's Standards of Review in Fiduciary Duty Actions - A Philosophical Moment?

At the 2019 Law and Society Association Annual Meeting last week, Geeyoung Min presented her paper Governance by Dividends.  In the paper, she focuses attention on stock dividends.  Near the end of her presentation, Geeyoung trod over ground on which so many of us also have trod--relating to judicial standards of review in fiduciary duty actions.  As familiar as the story was, she helped me to see something I had not seen before.  Perhaps many of you already have identified this.  If so, I am sorry to bore you with my new insight.

Essentially, what I came to realize during her talk--and develop with her and members of the audience in the ensuing discussion--was that Delaware's judiciary may have (and I may be quoting Geeyoung or someone else who was there, since I wrote this down long-form in my contemporaneous notes) muddied the waters by seeking clarity.  What do I mean by that?  Well, by addressing relatively clearly the circumstances in which the business judgment rule, on the one hand, or entire fairness, on the other, govern the judicial review of corporate fiduciary duty allegations, the Delaware judiciary has effectively made the interstitial space between the two--intermediate tier scrutiny--less clear.

As I reflected a bit more, I realized that an analogy could be made to the development of the substantive law of corporate fiduciary duties in Delaware.  The overall story?  Judicial refinement of the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty has left the duty of good faith somewhat more indeterminate.  

I am not sure where all this goes from here, but there may be lessons in these musings for both judicial and legislative rule-makers, among others. As always, your thoughts are welcomed.

June 3, 2019 in Conferences, Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Call for Panelist (Self-Nominations)- Pedagogy Session-AALS Section on Transactional Law and Skills- Markets and Regulation: The Shifting Context of Transactional Practice

The AALS Section on Transactional Laws and Skills is pleased to announce its program, “Markets and Regulation: The Shifting Context of Transactional Practice,” to be held (per the draft program) from 8:30-10:30 on Sat. Jan. 4 at the AALS 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. on “Pillars of Democracy: Law, Representation, and Knowledge.” This session will explore the changing regulatory context of transactional legal practice, which is rapidly evolving in response to new innovations and challenges across a range of markets. Emerging issues range from privacy law and cybersecurity, to national security concerns, antitrust, and international trade and investment, to the prospect of new regulatory responses to climate change and other environmental threats. The forms these regulatory responses take are also diverse, including not only traditional public regulation, but also private governance, which draws upon the efforts of NGOs, trade associations, and international organizations.

Pedagogy Panel: In addition to paper presentations from our Call for Papers (circulated separately), the program will feature a panel of 3-4 speakers who will focus on how to incorporate regulatory concepts and issues across the transactional curriculum, including in clinics and other experiential courses, as well as in doctrinal courses. Our Section is proud to announce that this program will be co-sponsored by the Section on Business Associations and the Section on Securities Regulation.

Panelist (Self-) Nomination Information: We invite any full-time faculty member of an AALS member school, whether or not they are a member of the Section, who would like to participate on the pedagogy panel to email (i) a brief statement of interest of no more than 300 words indicating their approach; and (ii) their CV to Virginia Harper Ho, Chair of the Section, at vharperho@ku.edu on or before May 18, 2019. Invited panelists will be notified by no later than June 10, 2019. All presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee, hotel, and travel expenses. Any inquiries about this Call for Nominations should be submitted to the Section Chair Virginia Harper Ho, University of Kansas School of Law, at vharperho@ku.edu or (785) 864-9217.

May 17, 2019 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers - 2020 AALS Section of Transactional Law & Skills: Markets & Regulation

AALS SECTION ON TRANSACTIONAL LAW AND SKILLS Markets & Regulation: The Shifting Context of Transactional Practice 2020 AALS Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.

The AALS Section on Transactional Laws and Skills is pleased to announce a call for papers for its program, “Markets and Regulation: The Shifting Context of Transactional Practice,” to be held at the AALS 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. on “Pillars of Democracy: Law, Representation, and Knowledge.” This session will explore the changing regulatory context of transactional legal practice, which is rapidly evolving in response to new innovations and challenges across a range of markets. Emerging issues range from privacy law and cybersecurity, to national security concerns, antitrust, and international trade and investment, to the prospect of new regulatory responses to climate change and other environmental threats. The forms these regulatory responses take are also diverse, including not only traditional public regulation, but also private governance, which draws upon the efforts of NGOs, trade associations, and international organizations.

In addition to paper presentations, the program will feature a panel focusing on how to incorporate regulatory concepts and issues across the transactional curriculum, including in clinics and other experiential courses, as well as in doctrinal courses. This program will be co-sponsored by the Section on Business Associations and the Section on Securities Regulation.

Submission Information: The Section on Transactional Law and Skills invites any full-time faculty member of an AALS member school who has written an unpublished paper, or who is interested in writing a paper on this topic, to submit a 1 or 2-page proposal or full draft to Virginia Harper Ho, Chair of the Section, at vharperho@ku.edu on or before August 15, 2019. Papers accepted for publication but that will not yet be published as of the 2019 meeting are also welcome. Please remove the author’s name and identifying information from the submission and instead include the author’s name and contact information in the submission email. Up to two papers will be selected after review by members of the Executive Committee of the Section. Authors of selected papers will be notified by September 15, 2019. The Call for Paper presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee, hotel, and travel expenses. Any inquiries about the Call for Papers should be submitted to the Section Chair Virginia Harper Ho, University of Kansas School of Law, at vharperho@ku.edu or (785) 864-9217.

May 17, 2019 in Call for Papers, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Managing Compliance Across Borders Conference at the University of Miami- June 26-28

 

 

 

Join me in Miami, June 26-28.

 

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Managing Compliance Across Borders

June 26-28, 2019

Managing Compliance Across Borders is a program for world-wide compliance, risk and audit professionals to discuss current developments and hot topics (e.g. cybersecurity, data protection, privacy, data analytics, regulation, FCPA and more) affecting compliance practice in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Latin America. Learn more

See a Snapshot: Who Will Be There?
You will have extensive networking opportunities with high-level compliance professionals and access to panel discussions with major firms, banks, government offices and corporations, including:

  • BRF Brazil
  • Carnival Corporation
  • Central Bank of Brazil
  • Endeavor
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Ingram Micro
  • Jones Day
  • Kaufman Rossin
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Laureate Education, Inc.

 

  • MasterCard Worldwide
  • MDO Partners
  • Olin Corporation
  • PwC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises
  • Tech Data
  • The SEC
  • TracFone Wireless
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Univision
  • UPS
  • XO Logistics
  • Zenith Source

 

Location
Donna E. Shalala Student Center
1330 Miller Drive
Miami, FL 33146

 

CLE Credit
Upwards of 10 general CLE credits in ethics and technology applied for with The Florida Bar

 

Program Fee: $2,500 $1,750 until June 1 
Use promo code “MCAB2019” for discount 

Non-profit and Miami Law Alumni discounts are available, please contact:
Hakim A. Lakhdar, Director of Professional Legal Programs, for details

Learn More: Visit the website for updated speaker information, schedule and topic details.

This program is designed and presented in collaboration with our partner in Switzerland

University of St. Gallen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2019 in Compliance, Conferences, Corporate Governance, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Ethics, Financial Markets, International Business, Law Firms, Law School, Marcia Narine Weldon, White Collar Crime | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Petition to Create AALS Section Community Economic Development

My friend and colleague, Priya Baskaran, asked me to post the following, which I am happy to do: 

Over the past year, a critical mass of law school faculty and staff have expressed interest in establishing an AALS Section on Community Economic Development (CED). The proposed section will provide a dynamic, collaborative environment to enhance the scholarship, activism, and direct legal work of CED-focused faculty and professional staff. Notably, the section will help bridge existing gaps between various actors in the CED universe by increasing opportunities for networking and enabling greater synergy and collaboration between scholars and experts in various substantive subjects and disciplines related to CED. Interested faculty and professional staff are invited to read the full petition.

I think this is a great idea, and I will be signing the petition (here).  I have been working with an interdisciplinary group on my campus, WVU Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization (CIGRU). We are a multidisciplinary group of researchers who are experts in science, engineering, environmental, policy, law, and finance. The CIGRU conducts research and services relevant to gas, oil, and chemicals. Our experimental research includes broad areas covering catalysis, reaction engineering, material science, power generation, and gas turbine. The CIGRU undertakes U.S. government- and industry-funded research projects developing clean and renewable energy technologies. Our services include air emission control, regulatory and policy, law and finance relevant to shale gas.

I have been leading CIGRU's Economic and Community Development Group for the past few years.  About 18 months ago, CIGRU earned a five-year seed grant awarded by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, under its Research Challenge Grant program. The WVU gas utilization team includes eight CIGRU researchers, working in partnership with Marshall University, the WVU Energy Institute, the WVU Bureau for Business and Economic Research, the West Virginia Chemical Alliance Zone, Morgantown’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center. So, this idea resonates with me. I think this is a great idea, and it has my support. If you agree, I hope you'll sign on, too.  

For anyone interested, CIRGUs grant announcement and a description of the program are available after the jump. 

Continue reading

April 16, 2019 in Conferences, Current Affairs, Entrepreneurship, Joshua P. Fershee, Law School, Service | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Second Annual Women’s Leadership in Legal Academia Conference, July 18-19, 2019

More on leadership!  It must be in the air . . . .

Last year, I blogged about the inaugural Women's Leadership in Academia Conference.  It was an amazing event.  The second conference is just a few months away (July 18-19), and organizer Leslie Kendrick (Vice Dean and David H. Ibbeken '71 Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law) recently circulated important information about the 2019 conference that I want to share here.

Specifically, she has encouraged folks to register and has offered three ways to engage with the conference at this juncture.  They are (and I am quoting her here):

Propose a panel: We’ve gotten some great proposals and would love to hear from you! The link for proposing a panel is on the website and here. Proposals are due by May 1.

Request a travel scholarship: If you could use financial assistance to defray the costs of attending the conference, please apply for a travel scholarship on the conference website or here. We’d love to hear from you. If at all possible, it would be helpful to receive requests by June 1.

Extend the welcome: Our mailing list includes attendees of our AALS events and last year’s conference, but we want to reach everyone possible. Please forward this information to friends and colleagues and disseminate it at your schools. We’d love to see everyone on July 18! 

Leslie has invited folks to contact her about the conference.  So, if you have any questions that the website does not answer, I suggest you send her a message or give her a call.  Regardless, I hope that you will consider attending and, if you are so inclined, suggesting a panel topic and speakers.

April 8, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Call for Papers - Takeovers and Value Creation: Comparative Perspectives

This "just in" from BLPB friends Beate Sjåfjell and Afra Afsharipour:

We are thrilled to co-organise a workshop at UC Davis School of Law on 26 April 2019, with the aim of facilitating an in-depth comparative analysis of the relationship between takeovers and value creation.

We invite submissions on themes concerning takeovers and value creation from any jurisdiction around the world as well as comparative contributions. Themes include but are not limited to:

What are the implications of a takeover on sustainability efforts?

What is the scope for using sustainability arguments as a defense by the target board in a takeover?

What should be the role of the bidder board?

What are the implications of large M&A transactions for building/growing a culture of sustainability at a firm?

Is there a distinct difference between planned mergers and uninvited takeovers?

How could takeovers be regulated to promote sustainable value creation?

We especially encourage female scholars and scholars from diverse backgrounds to submit abstracts. Participation at the workshop will be limited to the presenters, to facilitate in-depth discussions. Deadline for submission of abstracts: 27 March 2019!

Please feel free to send this call for papers on to colleagues who may be interested, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

This looks like a great opportunity for those of us who work in the M&A space.  But the deadline is fast upon us!  Another thing to consider as a Spring Break activity . . . . 

March 11, 2019 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Corporate Finance, Joan Heminway, M&A | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Call for Papers: Finance for Sustainability (Daughters of Themis)

Received today from BLPB friends Beate Sjåfjell and María Jesús Muñoz Torres:

Happy International Women’s Day! We celebrate this day by issuing the call for papers for the 5th international workshop of Daughters of Themis: International Network of Female Business Scholars. The theme is Finance for Sustainability; a highly topical theme! The deadline is 26 March, and we hope that the brief window of opportunity will be large enough for all interested to respond.

We appreciate if you would circulate this call to any interested colleagues identifying as female business scholars, including junior scholars (PhD candidates) as well as colleagues in lower-income countries. Please note that we this year do have some, very limited, funds available so that we can contribute to the funding for one or two participants based on financial hardship.

For those unfamiliar with Daughters of Themis: our annual workshop is the heart of our network, and you can read more here, reporting back from our three last workshops here: 2018, 2017 and 2016.

Please feel free to contact Beate or María Jesús with any questions you might have.

Unfortunately, this workshop overlaps a bit with the Grunin Center's annual conference (which focuses in on "Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing").  But if you are a business finance/law person who focuses on sustainability, you should be at one event or another!  

March 8, 2019 in Business Associations, Call for Papers, Conferences, Corporate Finance, Joan Heminway, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Conference Announcement -- Artificial Intelligence: Thinking About Law, Law Practice, and Legal Education

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:

Thinking About Law, Law Practice, and Legal Education

Hosted by the Duquesne University School of Law

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Friday & Saturday, April 26-27, 2019

Developments in artificial intelligence are changing virtually all aspects of our world, ranging from autonomous vehicles to robotic surgery, and from smartphones to smart speakers.  Lawyers, legal educators, and policymakers are already experiencing the effects of computers that aid and, in some cases, replace the often-tedious work done by lawyers and other members of society.  Law school graduates will need to understand how intelligent systems can enhance and streamline the work that they do, and how their careers may be changed in the future.  Furthermore, artificial intelligence technology will likely call for greater government oversight, result in new laws, and trigger litigation. 

This two-day conference will feature presentations by educators, practitioners, policymakers, and computer scientists that will demonstrate how the development of artificial intelligence is affecting society, the law, the legal profession, and legal education.   The Duquesne Law Review will dedicate space in its Winter 2019 symposium issue to publishing papers from this conference. 

Presenters & Agenda, Day One (Law and Law Practice):

  • Dean Alderucci (Carnegie Mellon Univ.): Customized Artificial Intelligence Techniques for the Patent Field
  • Kevin Ashley (Univ. of Pittsburgh): Connecting Case Texts and Computational Models of Legal Reasoning
  • Kristen Baginski (Lexis): Lexis Advance and the Use of AI and Analytics: A Brief Overview of Recent and Upcoming AI and Analytic Enhancements to the Lexis Advance Platform
  • Kishor Dere (Indian Society of International Law): Role of Artificial Intelligence in Predicting the Speed and Results of Judicial Decision-Making
  • Tabrez Y. Ebrahim (California Western Univ.): Autonomous Vehicles Ethics & Law: An Artificial Intelligence Trolley Problem
  • Brian S. Haney (Martian Technologies): The Optimal Agent: The Future of Autonomous Vehicles & Liability Theory
  • Patrick Juola (Duquesne Univ.): Specificity and Sensitivity in Discovery: What Artificial Intelligence Can Offer
  • Ganes Kesari (Gramener, Inc.): Smart Contract Risk Identification with AI
  • Timothy Lau, Esq. (Federal Judicial Center): Educating Federal Judges on AI
  • Oliver Round, Esq., Seema Phekoo, Esq., & Kyle Johnson (BNY Mellon), & Scott Curtis (Deloitte LLP): Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Corporate Legal Departments
  • Emile Loza de Siles, Esq. (Technology & Cybersecurity Law Group): Algorithmic Justice: A New Proposal Toward the Identification and Reduction of Discriminatory Bias in Artificial Intelligence Systems
  • Igor Vuletić (Josip Juraj Strossmayer Univ.): Criminal Law Facing Challenges of Autonomous Technology: Who Is Liable for a Traffic Accident Caused by an Autonomous Vehicle?

Presenters & Agenda, Day Two (Legal Education):

  • Dionne E. Anthon, Prof. Anna P. Hemingway, & Prof. Amanda Sholtis (Widener Law Commonwealth): Practice-Ready Millennials: Technology Training for Efficient and Effective Communication
  • Jamie J. Baker (Texas Tech Univ.): Legal Research and The Duty of Technology Competence: Regulating Algorithms in Law
  • Randy J. Diamond (Univ. of Missouri): Technology Skills for Lawyers
  • Kristi Gedid (Mylan), Virginia L. Zaccari (Duquesne Univ.), & Kevin Miller (LegalSifter): How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Legal Sector
  • Emily Janoski-Haehlen & Librarian Sarah Starnes (Univ. of Akron): From AI to IoT: Using Legal Innovations to Teach Legal Technology Competency Across the Curriculum
  • Kate Norton (Duquesne Univ.): Artificial Intelligence as a Path to Closing the Justice Gap
  • Julie Oseid (Univ. of St. Thomas), Prof. Melissa Love Koenig (Marquette Univ.), & Amy Vorenberg (Univ. of New Hampshire): OK Google, Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Lawyering?
  • Teresa Godwin Phelps (American Univ.) & Richard B. Phelps (Broadcast Media):“Alexa, Write a Memo”: The Promise and Challenges of AI and Legal Writing
  • James B. Schreiber & Prof. Ashley London (Duquesne Univ.): Considerations Surrounding the Data Science World We Are In
  • Drew Simshaw (Georgetown Univ.): Teaching Legal Research and Writing in an Era of Artificial Intelligence

Conference Registration Fees: 

  • Presenters and Duquesne faculty – Free
  • Other registrants with a full-time academic or government agency affiliation - $50 per day
  • All others, including attorneys seeking CLE credits -- $90 per day (yielding three hours of CLE credit each day)

Duquesne will provide free on-site parking to conference attendees. A continental breakfast, snacks, and lunch will be provided each day, and a conference-closing reception will take place in the Bridget and Alfred Peláez Legal Writing Center, the home of Duquesne’s Legal Research and Writing Program.

Pittsburgh is an easy drive or short flight from many cities.  Duquesne has arranged for blocks of discounted rooms at two hotels near to campus, within walking distance of the law school and downtown Pittsburgh. Attendees can enjoy Pittsburgh area attractions, including our architectural treasures, museums, art collections, shopping, and world-class professional sports teams.

 

For more information, and to complete the online registration for the conference and hotels, please visit https://www.law.duq.edu/news/artificial-intelligence-conference-april-26-27th-2019. Hotel registration will close soon, so please make your reservations now.

February 19, 2019 in Conferences, Joshua P. Fershee | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 4, 2019

ABA Request for Examples of Errors in Transactional Documents

Our friend and colleague Dan Kleinberger sent the following request along to me a few days ago on behalf of the LLCs, Partnerships and Unincorporated Entities Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association:

At the Spring meeting of the ABA Business Law Section in Vancouver, on Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 2:30pm – 4:30pm, the LLCPUE Committee is sponsoring a panel entitled, “Lessons from the Trenches for Transactional Lawyers.” Here is a brief description:

Avoiding errors in transactional documents -- insights from attorneys who have seen errors play out in litigation: two litigators (including one who defends attorney malpractice claims), a transactional lawyer who often plays clean up, and an expert witness who frequently testifies in cases arising from problematic language in deal documents.

If you have some examples of problematic language, favorite (or disfavored) cases, or “occasions of sin” to share in, the panel would be grateful. The presentation will not be merely war stories. Instead, the panelists will present various categories of errors and occasions for error, as well as practical suggestions for avoiding error. However, the more examples the panel has from which to work, the more useful the categorizations will be.

Redact as you see fit or transform examples into illustrations. Please send info to: daniel.kleinberger@mitchellhamline.edu. We will not identify the sources of examples unless you ask for attribution.

Thank you for your consideration.

I hope that some of our readers have valuable examples to contribute and will send them on to Dan.

February 4, 2019 in Conferences, Contracts, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

ComplianceNet2 - Business Ethics - Last Call for "Early Bird" Registration!

ComplianceNet2 Conference Invitation Announcement: Early Bird Registration Deadline is THIS FRIDAY, January 25th!

The second-annual ComplianceNet conference will take place on June 3-4, 2019. Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law and its Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance will host the conference. Like the highly successful inaugural conference at UC Irvine in 2018, this conference will allow scholars from across disciplines and different legal and regulatory topics to exchange research and explore connections for collaboration.

The timing of this year’s conference is designed to follow on the heels of the Law & Society meeting in nearby Washington, D.C. If you are already headed to Law & Society, Villanova is a short train-ride away and easily accessible by public transportation. Regardless of whether you will be attending Law & Society, Villanova is in a beautiful location right outside Philadelphia, easily serviced by major international airports (Philadelphia (PHL), Newark (EWR), Baltimore (BWI), two more in NYC, and two more in DC); 90 minutes from NYC; and two hours from D.C.

The theme of this year's conference is "Business Ethics", although we welcome additional papers discussing compliance across diverse settings. This year’s theme seeks to engage the question of how to run ethical companies, and how to encourage ethical behavior within organizations. The conference welcomes attempts to explore the strengths and limitations of various approaches, to identify how measurement strategies have shaped practices, and to understand how we can improve outcomes, for instance through new technology and combining methods. Submissions do not need to align with the meeting theme, but we encourage you to consider relating to it. The conference is also open to scholars and other experts who want to attend without presenting a paper.

The conference will host a business meeting of ComplianceNet, during which members may discuss future activities. To register for the conference either as a presenter or attendee, please fill out the form by following this link. The URL is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-second-annual-compliancenet-conference-tickets-50784542935.

For individual papers, please submit the paper title and abstract (up to about 200 words). For panels (3 papers minimum with a maximum of 5 per panel), please submit an integrative statement explaining the panel (approximately 200 words), the titles of each paper and their authors, and an abstract for each paper (approximately 200 words). At our website, ComplianceNet.org, there is also a form to nominate papers for awards. Papers may be considered for awards whether they come through the nomination link or are presented at the conference.

The early registration discount deadline to submit papers and panels is January 25, 2019. The regular registration deadline for papers and panels is February 22, 2019. The registration deadline to attend without a paper or panel (as space available) is March 29, 2019. Registration for the conference includes the yearly membership in ComplianceNet. If you have questions regarding the call for proposals or about the conference, please contact Benjamin van Rooij (bvanrooij@law.uci.edu).

January 22, 2019 in Compliance, Conferences, Ethics, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Insider Trading and the Blockchain at the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting

My frequent academic partner and friend John Anderson and I organized and moderated a discussion session on insider trading in the blockchain transactional environment at this year’s AALS annual meeting. The session, entitled “Insider Trading and Cryptoassests: The Future of Regulation in the Blockchain Era,” featured teacher-scholar participants from academic backgrounds in white collar crime, corporate law, securities regulation, intellectual property, cyberlaw, and ethics/compliance. The program description is as follows:

As the cryptoasset ecosystem shows signs of emerging from its “Wild West” phase, insider trading has become a principal concern for trading platforms, investors, and regulators. Insider trading cases concerning cryptoassets present challenges, however, because the legal understanding of both cryptoassets and the markets in which they are generated, bought, and sold has been significantly outpaced by their development, expansion, and innovation. In the United States, market professionals, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and others debate whether virtual currencies are securities, contracts, currencies, commodities, or something else. Both the SEC and CFTC assert jurisdiction over cryptoassets, but (at this writing) neither has precisely defined the scope or nature of its purported regulatory oversight. This commercial and regulatory uncertainty leaves a number of questions about insider trading in cryptoassets unanswered. This Discussion Group considers these and other related concerns regarding insider trading in cryptoassets.

The short papers submitted by the participants and the related commentary reflected the diverse areas of expertise of the participants and were engaging and thoughtful.  Constructive audience participation also was a highlight of the program.

We focused the discussion initially on whether, and if so how, insider trading in cryptoassets currently is regulated.  We also discussed whether regulation of that activity should be undertaken.  Then, assuming regulation, we considered whether existing regulatory tools could and should be used.  Finally, as part of that discussion, we began to assess who and exactly what should be regulated.  The dialogue was energizing, even if inconclusive.

Marcia Narine Weldon has written here at the BLPB at various times in the past six months on blockchain technology and its intersection with business and business law, including here, here, and here. In the first of those linked posts, she advises us that we ignore the blockchain at our peril. I agree.

But I also want to note that whether you believe that the blockchain is an awesome and promising new technology or a pernicious computer-based contrivance, its interactions with business law provide us all with opportunity: the chance to use our expertise to identify and resolve new legal and regulatory issues. As I learned from my experience in studying the regulatory context of crowdfunding in its early days, once the innovation train has left the station and is rolling down the tracks, it compels study and benefits from open, enlightened debate. Business lawyers are uniquely qualified to provide the necessary examination, dialogue, and guidance.  Let's get to it!

January 14, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway, Marcia Narine Weldon | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Call For Proposals - Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Summer Conference

ILT&LHeader

CALL FOR PRESENTATION PROPOSALS

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Summer Conference
“Teaching Today’s Law Students”
June 3-5, 2019
Washburn University School of Law
Topeka, Kansas

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law professors and administrators are reaching today’s law students.   With the ever-changing and heterogeneous nature of law students, this topic has taken on increased urgency for professors thinking about effective teaching strategies. 

The conference theme is intentionally broad and is designed to encompass a wide variety of topics – neuroscientific approaches to effective teaching; generational research about current law students; effective use of technology in the classroom; teaching first-generation college students; classroom behavior in the current political climate; academic approaches to less prepared students; fostering qualities such as growth mindset, resilience, and emotional intelligence in students; or techniques for providing effective formative feedback to students.

Accordingly, the Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme. Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and when they return to their campuses. Presenters should model effective teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants.  The Institute Co-Directors are glad to work with anyone who would like advice on designing their presentations to be interactive.

To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one page (maximum), single-spaced, and include the following information:

  • The title of the workshop;
  • The name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s); and
  • A summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
  • A description of the techniques the presenter will use to engage workshop participants and make the workshop interactive.

The proposal deadline is February 15, 2019.  Submit proposals via email to Professor Emily Grant, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at emily.grant@washburn.edu.

January 7, 2019 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conference and Memorial Service Honoring Lynn Stout

The following comes from our friend Saule Omarova at Cornell Law.  I hope that many can arrange to attend one or both events to honor Lynn's life and work.

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Please join us on February 1-2, 2019, in New York City, for a special two-part event celebrating the life and work of our colleague and friend, Professor Lynn Stout.

On February 1, 2019, Cornell University Law School will hold the Lynn Stout Memorial Conference, honoring Professor Stout’s scholarly work and significant impact in corporate governance. The conference will feature a series of cutting-edge paper presentations and discussion panels; the conference celebrates Professor Stout’s scholarship and highlights the lasting impact of her ideas and writings on the present and future trajectory of legal research in corporate law, securities and derivatives regulation, law and economics, and law and ethics. 

The conference will take place at the Cornell Club in New York City (6 East 44th Street, New York, NY 10017).

On February 2, 2019, at 10 a.m., an informal memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church Wall Street (209 Broadway, New York, NY 10007).

The agenda and RSVP information can be found at:

LYNN STOUT MEMORIAL CONFERENCE

Please note that capacity is limited for this event, so please RSVP before January 25.

LynnStout

 

January 7, 2019 in Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Getting Back to B Corporations and Benefit Corporations . . . .

Haskell Murray, this one's for you (and many others who work with B corporations and benefit corporations)!

Friend of the BLPB Tamara Belinfanti recently sent me a link to an article in which she was quoted.  The premise of the article is clear from its title: To B or not to B? That’s the question for companies who seek to "balance profit and purpose."  Familiar proposition; great article title.  It's certainly worth a quick read, even if it says nothing new.  (Although it does seem to imply that Justice Strine is no longer the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court . . . .)

In the article, various folks (including Justice Strine) comment about whether B corporation certification and/or benefit corporations are "needed" for social enterprise firms.  This is a question that I love to think about (especially if it can keep me from grading papers for a bit . . . ).  Some of you may remember my post on this topic from a few years ago.  It also is an issue that I have approached at times in pieces of my academic writing, including in the article featured in this post.

Next summer, at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools annual meeting/conference, I am moderating a discussion group on the subject to continue and enrich the conversation.  The title and brief abstract are set forth below.

Discussion Group: Benefit Corporation (or Not)? Establishing and Maintaining Social Impact Business Firms

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.

To date, the participants include domestic and international law professors (clinical and doctrinal) and a practitioner, too!  Let me know if you would like to join this group.  The conference runs from July 28 - August 3 and will be held this year at the Boca Resort and Beach Club.

I will be interested in the discussion.  In the mean time, as someone who does not recommend the benefit corporation form, I am opening the BLPB "floor" for discussion here.  I am interested in your views.

December 14, 2018 in Conferences, Corporate Governance, Haskell Murray, Joan Heminway, Social Enterprise | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Storytelling is for Business Lawyers, Too

A number of years ago, I attended the Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling.  It was a super event.  I came out of the conference with amazing ideas for teaching and scholarship.  I am thinking of taking my spring research project (on friends and family insider trading) to the conference in 2019.  Will you come join me?

Typically, the conference principally attracts legal writing instructors and clinicians. But more of us should be jumping on this bandwagon.   Storytelling and narrative more generally—which are (of course) a part of all advocacy and dispute resolution—also are used in transaction-building and negotiation.  Accordingly, I am hoping that some of you will consider attending the conference with me this coming summer.  Here are the details from the call for proposals.

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Call for Proposals

Seventh Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling

Boulder, Colorado, July 9–11 2019

Hosted by the University of Colorado School of Law,
University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and University of Wyoming School of Law, and coordinated by the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Scholarship Group

This is the call for proposals for the seventh biennial conference on Applied Legal Storytelling. We are offering two deadlines for submitting proposals: January 21, 2019 (priority deadline) and March 11, 2019 (extended deadline).

About the Conference

The Applied Legal Storytelling Conference brings together academics, judges, andpractitioners. The conference has previously convened in 2007 (London), 2009 (Portland),2011 (Denver), 2013 (London), Seattle (2015), and Washington D.C. (2017). We are veryexcited to bring it back to the Mountain West (Boulder) in July 2019.

Applied Legal Storytelling (AppLS) examines the use of stories—and of storytelling or narrative elements—in law practice, legal education, and the law.

This definition is intentionally broad in order to allow people creativity in the way theythink and present on the topic. Such topics may include: the ways in which fiction-writing techniques or narrative theory can inform legal storytelling; stories in the law, or law as stories; legal storytelling and metaphor; client story advocacy; legal storytelling and cognitive science; and ethical considerations in legal storytelling.

In an effort to continue the storytelling conversation for this seventh conference, and to welcome new attendees, we are providing resources for those interested in submitting a proposal and who wish to generate ideas or respond to others’. The first is a list of topicsfrom past conferences, available athttps://www.lwionline.org/sites/default/files/TopicsfrompastAppLSconferences.pdf. The second is a link to a bibliography on AppLS, including articles that have emerged from previous storytelling conferences, available at http://www.alwd.org/wp-contentuploads20151108-rideout_article2015-pdf/. We are also happy to answer questions and offer you suggestions—if you are a newcomer and interested in becoming involved, please reach out.

Continue reading

December 11, 2018 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 7, 2018

Do Investors Really Care About Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors?

In January 2018, Larry Fink of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, shocked skeptics like me when he told CEOs:

In the current environment, these stakeholders are demanding that companies exercise leadership on a broader range of issues. And they are right to: a company’s ability to manage environmental, social, and governance matters demonstrates the leadership and good governance that is so essential to sustainable growth, which is why we are increasingly integrating these issues into our investment process. Companies must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological change? Are we providing the retraining and opportunities that our employees and our business will need to adjust to an increasingly automated world? Are we using behavioral finance and other tools to prepare workers for retirement, so that they invest in a way that will help them achieve their goals?

In October 2018, Blackrock declared, “sustainable investing is becoming mainstream investing.” The firm bundled six existing ESG EFT funds and launched six similar funds in Europe and looked like the model corporate citisen.

So does Blackrock actually divest from companies with human rights violations or that do not provide meaningful disclosures on human trafficking, child slavery, forced labor, or conflict minerals? The company did not publicly divest from gun manufacturers although it did “speak with” them in February after the Parkland school shooting; the company has stated that due to fiduciary concerns, it cannot divest from single companies in a portfolio. 

In theory, a behemoth like Blackrock could have a significant impact on a firm’s ESG practices, if it so chose. It could set an example for companies and for other institutional investors by seeking (1) additional information after reviewing disclosures and/or (2) demanding changes in management if companies did not in fact, show a true commitment to ESG.

But I shouldn’t pick on Blackrock. Based on what I heard last week in Geneva at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, other investors outside of the SRI arena aren’t pressuring companies either.  I attended the Forum for the fourth time with over 2,000 members from the business, NGO, civil society, academic, and governmental communities. There was a heavy focus this year on supply chain issues because 80% of the world’s goods travel through large, international companies.The Responsible Business Alliance and others stressed the importance of eradiating forced labor. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Amnesty International focused on tech companies, artificial intelligence, and human rights implications. Rio Tinto and Nestle allowed an NGO to publicly criticize their disclosure reports in painstaking detail. An activist told the entire plenary that states needed to stop killing human rights defenders. In other words, business as usual at the Forum. Here are some of the takeaways from some of the sessions:

  1. NGO PODER warned that investors should not divest when companies are not living up to their responsibilities  but instead should engage companies on ESG factors and demand board seats.
  2. The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights observed that rating agencies can and should be a fast track to the board on ESG issues. 
  3. A representative from the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, a joint initiative of UNCTAD, PRI, the UN Global Compact, and UNEP-FI, indicated that investors want to know if ESG information is material. It may be salient, but not material to some. 79 stock exchanges around the world have partnered with the SSEI. 39 have voluntary ESG disclosures and 16 have mandatory disclosures.
  4. The Business and Human Rights Resources Center noted that of 7,200 corporate statements mandated by the UK Modern Slavery Act, only 25% met the minimum requirements required by law. As they shocked the audience with this statistic, news alerts went out the Australia had finally passed its own anti slavery law.
  5. 40% of companies in apparel, agricultural, and extractive industries have a 0 (zero) score for human rights due diligence, indicating weak implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The average score in the benchmark was only 27%.
  6. French companies must respond to the French Duty of Vigilance Law and the EU Nonfinancial Disclosure regulations, which have different approached to identifying risks. It could take six months to do an audit to do the disclosure, but investors rarely question the companies directly or the data. 
  7. SAP Ariba found that 66% of consumers believe they have a duty to buy goods that are good for society and the environment and that sustainability is mostly driven by millennials and generation Z consumers. 
  8. Nestle, the biggest food and beverage company in the world, requires its 165,000 suppliers to follow responsible sourcing standard especially for child and forced labor. The conglomerate partners with NGOs to conduct human rights impact assessments for their upstream suppliers. 
  9. Apple has returned 30 million USD in recruitment fees to workers since 2008 to address forced labor and illegal practices. HP has also returned fees. The hotel industry has banded together to fight forced labor. Most responsible businesses have banned the use of recruitment fees but many workers still pay them to personnel agencies in the hopes of getting jobs with large companies. 
  10. Many companies are now looking at human rights and ESG issues throughout their own supply chains but also with their joint venture, merger, and other key business partners.
  11. Rae Lindsay of Clifford Chance noted that avoiding legal risk is not the main role of human rights due diligence but lawyers working across disciplines can make sure that clients don’t inadvertently add to legal risk in deals. She encourages deal lawyers to become familiar with the risks and law and business students to learn about these issues. 

So do investors care about ESG? Are these disclosure rules working? You wouldn’t think so by hearing the speakers at the Forum. On the other hand, proxy advisory firm ISS recently launched an Environmental and Social Quality Score to better evaluate the ESG risks in its portfolio companies. I’ll keep an eye out for any divestments or shareholder proposals. 

I’m not holding my breath for too much progress next year at the Forum. While I was encouraged by the good work of many of the companies that attended, I remain convinced that the disclosure regime is ineffective in effectuating meaningful change in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Unless governments, rating agencies, investors, or consumers act, too many companies will continue to pay lip service to their human rights commitments.  

 

 

 

December 7, 2018 in Compliance, Conferences, Corporate Governance, Corporations, CSR, Current Affairs, Human Rights, International Business, International Law, Marcia Narine Weldon, Shareholders | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

10th Annual National Business Law Scholars Conference - Call for Papers

It seems like it's "Call for Papers Week" for me.  Here's one near and dear to my heart, as you all must know . . . .

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National Business Law Scholars Conference (NBLSC)
June 20-21, 2019
Call for Papers

The National Business Law Scholars Conference (NBLSC) will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 20-21, 2019, at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

This is the tenth 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.

To submit a presentation, email Professor Eric C. Chaffee at eric.chaffee@utoledo.edu with an abstract or paper by February 15, 2019. Please title the email “NBLSC Submission – {Your Name}.” If you would like to attend, but not present, email Professor Chaffee with an email entitled “NBLSC Attendance.” Please specify in your email whether you are willing to serve as a moderator. 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:
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 Heminway (The University of Tennessee College of Law)
Kristin N. Johnson (Tulane University Law School)
Elizabeth Pollman (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles)
Jeff Schwartz (University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law)

 

 

November 29, 2018 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Joan Heminway | Permalink | Comments (0)