Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 81

Full-Text Articles in Law

A Cooperative Federalism Approach To Shareholder Arbitration, Zachary D. Clopton, Verity Winship Jul 2018

A Cooperative Federalism Approach To Shareholder Arbitration, Zachary D. Clopton, Verity Winship

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Arbitration dominates private law across an ever-expanding range of fields. Its latest target, however, may not be a new field as much as a new form: mandatory arbitration provisions built into corporate charters and bylaws. Recent developments in corporate law coupled with signals from the Securities and Exchange Commission suggest that regulators may be newly receptive to shareholder arbitration. What they do next may have dramatic consequences for whether and how corporate and securities laws are enforced.

The debate about the merits of arbitration is well worn, but its application to shareholder claims opens the door to a different set ...


Contested Visions: The Value Of Systems Theory For Corporate Law, Tamara Belinfanti, Lynn A. Stout Feb 2018

Contested Visions: The Value Of Systems Theory For Corporate Law, Tamara Belinfanti, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Despite the dominant role corporations play in our economy, culture, and politics, the nature and purpose of corporations remains hotly contested. This conflict was brought to the fore in the recent Supreme Court opinions in Citizens United and Hobby Lobby. Although the prevailing narrative for the past quarter-century has been that corporations “belong” to shareholders and should pursue “shareholder value,” support for this approach, which has been justified as essential for managerial accountability, is eroding. It persists today primarily in the form of the argument that corporations should seek “long-term” shareholder value. Yet, as this Article shows, when shareholder value ...


"Special," Vestigial, Or Visionary? What Bank Regulation Tells Us About The Corporation - And Vice Versa, Robert C. Hockett, Saule T. Omarova Jan 2016

"Special," Vestigial, Or Visionary? What Bank Regulation Tells Us About The Corporation - And Vice Versa, Robert C. Hockett, Saule T. Omarova

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

A remarkable yet seldom noted set of parallels exists between modern U.S. bank regulation, on the one hand, and what used to be garden-variety American corporate law, on the other hand. For example, just as bank charters are matters not of right but of conditional privilege even today, so were all corporate charters not long ago. Just as chartered banks are authorized to engage only in limited, enumerated activities even to- day, so were all corporations restricted not long ago. And just as banks are subject to strict capital regulation even today, so were all corporations not long ago ...


Rethinking Chutes: Incentives, Investment, And Innovation, Simone M. Sepe, Charles K. Whitehead Dec 2015

Rethinking Chutes: Incentives, Investment, And Innovation, Simone M. Sepe, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Eighty-two percent of public firms have golden parachutes (or “chutes”) under which CEOs and senior officers may be paid tens of millions of dollars upon their employer’s change in control. What justifies such extraordinary payouts?

Much of the conventional analysis views chutes as excessive compensation granted by captured boards, focusing on the payouts that occur following a takeover. Those explanations, if they ever were complete, miss the mark today. This Article demonstrates, theoretically and empirically, that chutes are less relevant to a firm during a takeover than they are before a takeover, particularly in relation to firms that invest ...


Damages Versus Specific Performance: Lessons From Commercial Contracts, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Mar 2015

Damages Versus Specific Performance: Lessons From Commercial Contracts, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Specific performance is a central contractual remedy but, in Anglo-American law, generally is subordinate to damages. Despite rich theoretical discussions of specific performance, little is known about parties' treatment of the remedy in their contracts. We study 2,347 contracts of public corporations to quantify the presence or absence of specific performance clauses in several types of contracts. Although a majority of contracts do not refer to specific performance, substantial variation exists in the rates of including specific performance clauses. High rates of specific performance use in the area of corporate combinations through merger (53.4 percent) or assets sales ...


The Macroprudential Turn: From Institutional 'Safety And Soundness' To Systematic 'Financial Stability' In Financial Supervision, Robert C. Hockett Jan 2015

The Macroprudential Turn: From Institutional 'Safety And Soundness' To Systematic 'Financial Stability' In Financial Supervision, Robert C. Hockett

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Since the global financial dramas of 2008-09, authorities on financial regulation have come increasingly to counsel the inclusion of macroprudential policy instruments in the standard ‘toolkit’ of finance-regulatory measures employed by financial supervisors. The hallmark of this perspective is its focus not simply on the safety and soundness of individual financial institutions, as is characteristic of the traditional ‘microprudential’ perspective, but also on certain structural features of financial systems that can imperil such systems as wholes. Systemic ‘financial stability’ thus comes to supplement, though not to supplant, institutional ‘safety and soundness’ as a regulatory desideratum.

The move from primarily micro- ...


Public Actors In Private Markets: Toward A Developmental Finance State, Robert C. Hockett, Saule T. Omarova Jan 2015

Public Actors In Private Markets: Toward A Developmental Finance State, Robert C. Hockett, Saule T. Omarova

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The recent financial crisis brought into sharp relief fundamental questions about the social function and purpose of the financial system, including its relation to the “real” economy. This Article argues that, to answer these questions, we must recapture a distinctively American view of the proper relations among state, financial market, and development. This programmatic vision – captured in what we call a “developmental finance state” – is based on three key propositions: (1) that economic and social development is not an “end-state” but a continuing national policy priority; (2) that the modalities of finance are the most potent means of fueling continuous ...


The Corporation As A Time Machine: Intergenerational Equity, Intergenerational Efficiency, And The Corporate Form, Lynn A. Stout Jan 2015

The Corporation As A Time Machine: Intergenerational Equity, Intergenerational Efficiency, And The Corporate Form, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This Symposium Article argues that the board-controlled corporation can be understood as a legal innovation that historically has functioned as a means of transferring wealth forward and sometimes backward through time, for the benefit of present and future generations. In this fashion the board-controlled corporation promotes both intergenerational equity and intergenerational efficiency. Logic and evidence each suggest, however, that the modern embrace of "shareholder value" as the only corporate objective and "shareholder democracy" as the ideal of corporate governance is damaging the corporate form's ability to serve this economically and ethically important function.


Killing Conscience: The Unintended Behavioral Consequences Of "Pay For Performance", Lynn A. Stout Apr 2014

Killing Conscience: The Unintended Behavioral Consequences Of "Pay For Performance", Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Contemporary lawmakers and reformers often argue that ex ante incentive contracts providing for large material rewards are the best and possibly only way to motivate corporate executives and other employees to serve their firms' interests. This Article offers a critique of the "pay for performance" approach. In particular, it explores why, for a variety of mutually reinforcing reasons, workplaces that rely on ex ante incentive contracts suppress unselfish prosocial behavior (conscience) and promote selfishness and opportunism. The end result may not be more efficient, but more uncooperative, unethical, and illegal employee behavior.


Lawyers And Fools: Lawyer-Directors In Public Corporations, Lubomir P. Litov, Simone M. Sepe, Charles K. Whitehead Jan 2014

Lawyers And Fools: Lawyer-Directors In Public Corporations, Lubomir P. Litov, Simone M. Sepe, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The accepted wisdom—that a lawyer who becomes a corporate director has a fool for a client—is outdated. The benefits of lawyer-directors in today’s world significantly outweigh the costs. Beyond monitoring, they help manage litigation and regulation, as well as structure compensation to align CEO and shareholder interests. The results have been an average 9.5% increase in firm value and an almost doubling in the percentage of public companies with lawyer-directors.

This Article is the first to analyze the rise of lawyer-directors. It makes a variety of other empirical contributions, each of which is statistically significant and ...


The Shareholder Value Myth, Lynn A. Stout Apr 2013

The Shareholder Value Myth, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


On The Rise Of Shareholder Primacy, Signs Of Its Fall, And The Return Of Managerialism (In The Closet), Lynn A. Stout Jan 2013

On The Rise Of Shareholder Primacy, Signs Of Its Fall, And The Return Of Managerialism (In The Closet), Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Uncertainty, Dangerous Optimism, And Speculation: An Inquiry Into Some Limits Of Democratic Governance, Lynn A. Stout Jul 2012

Uncertainty, Dangerous Optimism, And Speculation: An Inquiry Into Some Limits Of Democratic Governance, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

People are often optimistic. Nearly fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, but one survey found that 100 percent of individuals planning to get married believed they would never get divorced. Most people think they drive better than the average driver, and at one university, ninety-four percent of professors placed themselves in the top fifty percent in terms of teaching skills. We often seem to think we are like the youth of Garrison Keillor’s fictional hometown Lake Wobegon, where “all the children are above average.”

This is not always a bad thing. Optimism can be advantageous. Without optimism, Columbus ...


New Thinking On "Shareholder Primacy", Lynn A. Stout Jan 2012

New Thinking On "Shareholder Primacy", Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

By the beginning of the twenty-first century, many observers had come to believe that U.S. corporate law should, and does, embrace a "shareholder primacy" rule that requires corporate directors to maximize shareholder wealth as measured by share price. This Essay argues that such a view is mistaken.

As a positive matter, U.S. corporate law and practice does not require directors to maximize "shareholder value" but instead grants them a wide range of discretion, constrained only at the margin by market forces, to sacrifice shareholder wealth in order to benefit other constituencies and the firm itself. Although recent "reforms ...


Why Not A Ceo Term Limit?, Charles K. Whitehead May 2011

Why Not A Ceo Term Limit?, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In this Essay, I ask: Why not require a mandatory CEO term limit? My purpose is not to propose a term limit, but rather to ask why CEO term limits are out-of-bounds – not addressed within the corporate governance scholarship – when they have long been advocated for directors and, more recently, public company auditors.

The traditional answer has been that CEOs are agents of the corporation, subject to control by the board, which holds primary responsibility for the firm’s business and affairs. Senior officers are largely shielded from outside interference, permitting them to execute consistent, long-term business strategies under board ...


Derivatives And The Legal Origin Of The 2008 Credit Crisis, Lynn A. Stout Apr 2011

Derivatives And The Legal Origin Of The 2008 Credit Crisis, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Experts still debate what caused the credit crisis of 2008. This Article argues that dubious honor belongs, first and foremost, to a little-known statute called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA). Put simply, the credit crisis was not primarily due to changes in the markets; it was due to changes in the law. In particular, the crisis was the direct and foreseeable (and in fact foreseen by the author and others) consequence of the CFMA’s sudden and wholesale removal of centuries-old legal constraints on speculative trading in over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.

Derivative contracts are probabilistic bets on future ...


Sandbagging: Default Rules And Acquisition Agreements, Charles K. Whitehead Jan 2011

Sandbagging: Default Rules And Acquisition Agreements, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In the M&A world, a buyer "sandbags" a seller when, knowing the seller has materially breached a warranty, it closes the deal and then asserts a post-closing claim. Traditionally, the buyer must have relied on the warranty, without knowledge of the breach, in order to prevail. The modern trend, with some exceptions, permits the buyer to sue without regard to knowledge. Parties, in both cases, can contract around the default rule--so that the default rule should affect how acquisition agreements are structured. Yet, a survey of publicly available deals, from July 2007 to June 2011, reveals that--regardless of default ...


U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, And Bad For Business, Theodore Eisenberg Dec 2009

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, And Bad For Business, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce uses its Survey of State Liability to criticize judiciaries and seek legal change but no detailed evaluation of the survey’s quality exists. This article presents evidence that the survey is substantively inaccurate and methodologically flawed. It incorrectly characterizes state law; respondents provide less than 10 percent correct answers for objectively verifiable responses. It is internally inconsistent; a state threatened with judicial hellhole status ranked first in the survey while venues not on the list ranked lower. The absence of correlation between survey rankings and observable activity suggests that other factors drive the rankings ...


Regulate Otc Derivatives By Deregulating Them, Lynn A. Stout Oct 2009

Regulate Otc Derivatives By Deregulating Them, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

When credit markets froze up in the fall of 2008, many economists pronounced the crisis inexplicable and unforeseeable. Lawyers who specialize in financial regulation, and especially the small cadre who specialize in derivatives regulation, knew better.That's because the roots of the catastrophe lay not in changes in the markets, but changes in the law. In particular, the credit crisis can be traced to Congress's 2000 passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which radically altered the traditional legal approach to financial derivatives.

This shift in the legal treatment of financial derivatives has brought the banking system to ...


Regulate Otc Derivatives By Deregulating Them: Response To Comments, Lynn A. Stout Oct 2009

Regulate Otc Derivatives By Deregulating Them: Response To Comments, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Response to comments by Jean Helwege, Peter Wallison, and Craig Pirrong on the author's article, "Regulate OTC Derivatives By Deregulating Them." Article predates the author's affiliation with Cornell Law School.


The Evolution Of Debt: Covenants, The Credit Market, And Corporate Governance, Charles K. Whitehead Apr 2009

The Evolution Of Debt: Covenants, The Credit Market, And Corporate Governance, Charles K. Whitehead

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Changing The Paradigm Of Stock Ownership From Concentrated Towards Dispersed Ownership? Evidence From Brazil And Consequences For Emerging Countries, Érica Gorga Apr 2009

Changing The Paradigm Of Stock Ownership From Concentrated Towards Dispersed Ownership? Evidence From Brazil And Consequences For Emerging Countries, Érica Gorga

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This paper analyzes micro-level dynamics of changes in ownership structures. It investigates a unique event: changes in ownership patterns currently taking place in Brazil. It builds upon empirical evidence to advance the theoretical understanding of how and why concentrated ownership structures can change towards dispersed ownership.

Commentators argue that the Brazilian capital markets are finally taking off.

The number of listed companies and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in the São Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa) has greatly increased. Firms are migrating to Bovespa's special listing segments, which require higher standards of corporate governance. Companies have sold control in the market ...


How Deregulating Derivatives Led To Disaster, And Why Re-Regulating Them Can Prevent Another, Lynn A. Stout Jan 2009

How Deregulating Derivatives Led To Disaster, And Why Re-Regulating Them Can Prevent Another, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

When credit markets froze up in the fall of 2008, many economists pronounced the crisis both inexplicable and unforeseeable. That’s because they were economists, not lawyers.

Lawyers who specialize in financial regulation, and especially the small cadre who specialize in derivatives regulation, understood what went wrong. (Some even predicted it.) That’s because the roots of the catastrophe lay not in changes in the markets, but changes in the law. Perhaps the most important of those changes was the U.S. Congress’s decision to deregulate financial derivatives with the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) of 2000.

Prior to ...


Insource The Shareholding Of Outsourced Employees: A Global Stock Ownership Plan, Robert C. Hockett Oct 2008

Insource The Shareholding Of Outsourced Employees: A Global Stock Ownership Plan, Robert C. Hockett

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

With the American economy stalled and another federal election campaign season well underway, the “outsourcing” of American jobs is again on the public agenda. Latest figures indicate not only that claims for joblessness benefits are up, but also that the rate of American job-exportation has more than doubled since the last electoral cycle. This year’s political candidates have been quick to take note. In consequence, more than at any time since the early 1990s, continued American participation in the World Trade Organization, in the North American Free Trade Agreement, and in the processes of global economic integration more generally ...


An Overview Of Brazilian Corporate Governance, Bernard S. Black, Antonio Gledson De Carvalho, Érica Gorga Jul 2008

An Overview Of Brazilian Corporate Governance, Bernard S. Black, Antonio Gledson De Carvalho, Érica Gorga

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

We provide the first detailed picture of firm-level corporate governance practices in an emerging market. We report on the corporate governance practices of Brazilian public companies, based primarily on an extensive 2005 survey of 116 companies. Most firms have a controlling shareholder or group. Board independence is an area of weakness. The boards of most Brazilian private firms are comprised entirely or almost entirely of insiders or representatives of the controlling family or group. Many firms have no independent directors. Financial disclosure is a second area of weakness. Only a minority of firms provide a statement of cash flows or ...


Why We Should Stop Teaching Dodge V. Ford, Lynn A. Stout Apr 2008

Why We Should Stop Teaching Dodge V. Ford, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

What is the purpose of a corporation? To many people, the answer to this question seems obvious: corporations exist to make money for their shareholders. Maximizing shareholder wealth is the corporation's only true concern, its raison d'être. Devoted corporate officers and directors should direct all their efforts toward this goal.

Some find this picture of the corporation as an engine for increasing shareholder wealth to be quite attractive. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman famously praised this view of corporate purpose in his 1970 New York Times essay, "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits." To ...


Fiduciary Duties For Activist Shareholders, Iman Anabtawi, Lynn A. Stout Mar 2008

Fiduciary Duties For Activist Shareholders, Iman Anabtawi, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Corporate law and scholarship generally assume that professional managers control public corporations, while shareholders play only a weak and passive role. As a result, corporate officers and directors are understood to be subject to extensive fiduciary duties, while shareholders traditionally have been thought to have far more limited obligations. Outside the contexts of controlling shareholders and closely held firms, many experts argue shareholders have no duties at all.

The most important trend in corporate governance today, however, is the move toward "shareholder democracy." Changes in financial markets, in business practice, and in corporate law have given minority shareholders in public ...


Deconstructing Equity: Public Ownership, Agency Costs, And Complete Capital Markets, Charles K. Whitehead, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2008

Deconstructing Equity: Public Ownership, Agency Costs, And Complete Capital Markets, Charles K. Whitehead, Ronald J. Gilson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The traditional law and finance focus on agency costs presumes that the premise that diversified public shareholders are the cheapest risk bearers is immutable. In this Essay, we raise the possibility that changes in the capital markets have called this premise into question, drawn into sharp relief by the recent private equity wave in which the size and range of public companies being taken private expanded significantly. In brief, we argue that private owners, in increasingly complete markets, can transfer risk in discrete slices to counterparties who, in turn, can manage or otherwise diversify away those risks they choose to ...


Do Juries Add Value? Evidence From An Empirical Study Of Jury Trial Waiver Clauses In Large Corporate Contracts, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Nov 2007

Do Juries Add Value? Evidence From An Empirical Study Of Jury Trial Waiver Clauses In Large Corporate Contracts, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

We study jury trial waivers in a data set of 2,816 contracts contained as exhibits in Form 8-K filings by reporting corporations during 2002. Because these contracts are associated with events deemed material to the financial condition of SEC-reporting firms, they likely are carefully negotiated by sophisticated, well-informed parties and thus provide presumptive evidence about the value associated with the availability of jury trials. A minority of contracts, about 20 percent, waived jury trials. An additional 9 percent of contracts had arbitration clauses that effectively preclude jury trials though the reason for arbitration clauses need not specifically relate to ...


The Mythical Benefits Of Shareholder Control, Lynn A. Stout May 2007

The Mythical Benefits Of Shareholder Control, Lynn A. Stout

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In "The Myth of the Shareholder Franchise," Professor Lucian Bebchuk elegantly argues that the notion that shareholders in public corporations have the power to remove directors is a myth. Although a director facing a proxy contest might find this to be a bit of an overstatement, the core idea is sound. In a public company with widely dispersed share ownership, it is difficult and expensive for shareholders to overcome obstacles to collective action and wage a proxy battle to oust an incumbent board. Nor is success likely when directors can use corporate funds to solicit proxies to stay in place ...