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The Pro Bono Collaborative Project Spotlight: Rwu Law Alums Providing Pro Bono Through The Pbc (September 20, 2018), Roger Williams University School Of Law Sep 2018

The Pro Bono Collaborative Project Spotlight: Rwu Law Alums Providing Pro Bono Through The Pbc (September 20, 2018), Roger Williams University School Of Law

Pro Bono Collaborative Staff Publications

No abstract provided.


Contracts As Organizations, D. Gordon Smith, Brayden G. King Mar 2011

Contracts As Organizations, D. Gordon Smith, Brayden G. King

Faculty Scholarship

Empirical studies of contracts have become more common over the past decade, but the range of questions addressed by these studies is narrow, inspired primarily by economic theories that focus on the role of contracts in mitigating ex post opportunism. We contend that these economic theories do not adequately explain many commonly observed features of contracts, and we offer four organizational theories to supplement-and in some instances, perhaps, challenge-the dominant economic accounts. The purpose of this Article is threefold: first, to describe how theoretical perspectives on contracting have motivated empirical work on contracts; second, to highlight the dominant role of ...


Entity And Identity, Usha Rodrigues Jan 2011

Entity And Identity, Usha Rodrigues

Scholarly Works

The function, indeed the very existence, of nonprofit corporations is undertheorized. Recent literature suggests that only preferential tax treatment adequately accounts for the persistence of the nonprofit form. This explanation is incomplete. Drawing on psychology’s social identity theory, this Article posits that the nonprofit form can create a special “warm-glow” identity that cannot be replicated by the for-profit form. For example, a local nonprofit food cooperative sells more than the free-range eggs or organic strawberries that Whole Foods and other for-profits market so effectively. The co-op offers community participation and an investment in local farms, a distinctive ethos that ...


The Pivotal Mechanism And Organizational Control, Yair Listokin Mar 2009

The Pivotal Mechanism And Organizational Control, Yair Listokin

Faculty Scholarship Series

Organizations with multiple individuals typically make decisions by following the will of the majority of some subset of stakeholders that are entitled to vote. This paper examines an alternative decision-making mechanism—the “pivotal” mechanism developed by Groves and Clarke. Unlike voting, the pivotal mechanism produces efficient outcomes in the presence of heterogeneous voter preferences. Moreover, the mechanism allows control rights to be allocated more widely, reducing the costs of opportunism when a controlling class of stakeholders has interests adverse to another class. These benefits come with costs. The pivotal mechanism’s efficiency diminishes in the presence of collusion between voters ...


Corporate Law And The Rhetoric Of Choice, Kent Greenfield Feb 2009

Corporate Law And The Rhetoric Of Choice, Kent Greenfield

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Rhetorically, the notion of choice has always been a powerful one in politics and law. This essay is intended to offer a note of caution about its use. Despite its progressive hue of individual freedom, the rhetoric of choice increasingly tends to be a notion used to defend and uphold existing matrices of economic and social power. This is because the rhetoric of choice is an excellent way to support exiting power relationships. The assertion that people acting within such power relationships are simply choosing their current situation undermines efforts to change those relationships. The powerful stay powerful; the weak ...


Two Ways To Think About The Punishment Of Corporations, Albert Alschuler Jan 2009

Two Ways To Think About The Punishment Of Corporations, Albert Alschuler

Faculty Working Papers

This article compares the criminal punishment of corporations in the twenty-first century with two ancient legal practices—deodand (the punishment of animals and objects that have produced harm) and frankpledge (the punishment of all members of a group when one member of the group has avoided apprehension for a crime). It argues that corporate criminal punishment is a mistake but that viewing it as frankpledge is less ridiculous than viewing it as deodand. The article considers the implications of the choice between these concepts for standards of corporate guilt and for the sentencing of corporate offenders. After a brief historical ...


Do Delaware Ceos Get Fired?, Murali Jagannathan, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2008

Do Delaware Ceos Get Fired?, Murali Jagannathan, Adam C. Pritchard

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Critics have charged that state competition in corporate law, which Delaware dominates, leads to a “race to the bottom” making management unaccountable. One metric of management accountability is forced CEO turnover, which we use to test the race to the bottom hypothesis. We compare California firms that choose to incorporate in California – the state with arguably the most restrictive corporate law rules – with those that incorporate in Delaware. We show that aspects of Delaware law attract firms that plan to grow through merger or acquisition and are vulnerable to shareholder lawsuits. We also document differences in corporate governance that correlate ...


Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts From An Ex-Regulator, Catharine P. Wells Dec 2006

Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts From An Ex-Regulator, Catharine P. Wells

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper recounts a number of lessons learned in the course of serving as the Director of Public Charities for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It incorporates these lessons into a discussion of the proper analysis of charitable organizations. Should charities be analogized to for-profit firms or are they something that is essentially different? The paper argues that they lack many of the attributes of Coasian firms and that they should be considered as “consumption groups” that have different methods of accountability.


Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2006

Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Large audit firms may believe that they are too big to fail. Arthur Andersen’s 2002 criminal indictment reduced their number from five to four, and the government decided in 2005 to avoid indicting KPMG for crimes it admitted committing. If audit firms interpret the government’s reluctance to indict as signaling aversion to tough action against them, moral hazard arises. This offsets auditing improvements mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that are designed to strengthen auditors’ reputations with managers for thoroughness and improve financial statement reliability. Neutralizing this moral hazard requires a credible alternative industry structure so that ...


Law, Media, & Environmental Policy: A Fundamental Linkage In Sustainable Democratic Governance, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Sep 2006

Law, Media, & Environmental Policy: A Fundamental Linkage In Sustainable Democratic Governance, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The functional linkages between law and media have long been signficant in shaping American democratic governance. Over the past thirty-five years, environmental analysis has similarly become essential to shaping international and domestic governmental policy. Environmentalism—focusing as it does on realistic interconnected accounting of the full potential negative consequences as well as benefits of proposed actions, policies, and programs, over the long term as well as the short term, with careful consideration of all realistic alternatives— provides a legal perspective important for societal sustainability. Because environmental values and norms are often in tension with established industrial interests that resist public ...


The Story Of Nlrb V. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co.: The High Cost Of Solidarity, Thomas C. Kohler, Julius G. Getman Aug 2006

The Story Of Nlrb V. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co.: The High Cost Of Solidarity, Thomas C. Kohler, Julius G. Getman

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In 1938, in NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., the Supreme Court offered one of its earliest interpretations of the National Labor Relations Act. Although the Court’s holding provided that employers may not discriminate against employees for their union activity when the strike is over and workers are reinstated, dicta in the opinion also provided that under the NLRA employers enjoy an unrestricted right to replace strikers. In the 70 years since the Court’s announcement, scholars remain baffled by the contradictions presented by the “Mackay doctrine”—a rule that forbids employers from discharging legally protected strikers while, at ...


The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown May 2006

The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The federal gratuities statute, 18 USC § 201(c), continues to be a source of confusion and contention. The confusion stems largely from problems of draftsmanship within the statute, as well as uncertainty concerning the relationship of the gratuities offense to bribery. Both offenses are contained in the same statute; the former is often seen as a lesser-included offense variety of the latter. The controversy stems from broader concerns about whether the receipt of gratuities by public officials, even from those they regulate, should be a crime. The argument that such conduct should not be criminalized can be traced to, and ...


Language, Deals And Standards: The Future Of Xml Contracts, Lawrence A. Cunningham May 2006

Language, Deals And Standards: The Future Of Xml Contracts, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

eXtensible Markup Language (XML) structures information in documentary systems ranging from financial reports to medical records and business contracts. XML standards for specific applications are developed spontaneously by self-appointed technologists or entrepreneurs. XML’s social and economic stakes are considerable, especially when developed for the private law of contracts. XML can reduce transaction costs but also limit the range of contractual expression and redefine the nature of law practice. So reliance on spontaneous development may be sub-optimal and identification of a more formal public standard setting model necessary. To exploit XML’s advantages while minimizing risks, this Article envisions creating ...


The Notion Of Solidarity And The Secret History Of American Labor Law, Thomas C. Kohler Apr 2006

The Notion Of Solidarity And The Secret History Of American Labor Law, Thomas C. Kohler

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

“Solidarity,” a term not overly familiar to Americans, sometimes seems to have as many meanings as it has users. The concept became incorporated into American thought during the 19th and 20th century waves of Catholic and Jewish immigration. It provides a European vision of communitarian social order that competes with the “unencumbered self”—America’s unique brand of individualism. Among philosophers, politicians, religious thinkers, and social activists, solidarity theory sought to redefine the then-prevailing views of social bonds. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the American labor movement, which espouses as its core values the principles of unity and ...


The Fed’S New Model Of Supervision For “Large Complex Banking Organizations”: Coordinated Risk-Based Supervision Of Financial Multinationals For International Financial Stability, Cynthia C. Lichtenstein Jan 2006

The Fed’S New Model Of Supervision For “Large Complex Banking Organizations”: Coordinated Risk-Based Supervision Of Financial Multinationals For International Financial Stability, Cynthia C. Lichtenstein

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Large internationally active financial institutions, in particular multinational banks, have the capacity to create profound disturbances in the globalized financial markets in the event of failure. For that reason, these entities are supervised and examined in a manner that is completely different than the ordinary business corporation. This piece describes the new methodology that has been developed by the United States' central bank, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or "the Fed" for short, since 1995, for examining what the Fed calls "large complex banking organizations" or LBCOs and indicates how the system in fact carries out ...


Migrating Lawyers And The Ethics Of Conflict Checking, Paul R. Tremblay Sep 2005

Migrating Lawyers And The Ethics Of Conflict Checking, Paul R. Tremblay

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Lawyers often leave a practice setting and move to a new practice as their career paths advance or change. The incidence of lawyer migration has increased dramatically in the past decade, as law firms recruit more lateral hires and offer fewer partnership opportunities to their associates. As a lawyer prepares to change employment settings, her prospective new law firm asks her about the clients she has represented in the past. The new law firm must insist on this information, for without it the firm could not screen for possible conflicts of interest. Were the firm to hire a lawyer without ...


A Bridle, A Prod And A Big Stick: An Evaluation Of Class Actions, Shareholder Proposals And The Ultra Vires Doctrine As Methods For Controlling Corporate Behavior, Adam Sulkowski, Kent Greenfield Jun 2005

A Bridle, A Prod And A Big Stick: An Evaluation Of Class Actions, Shareholder Proposals And The Ultra Vires Doctrine As Methods For Controlling Corporate Behavior, Adam Sulkowski, Kent Greenfield

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Written for the recent conference at St. John’s University Law School on “People of Color, Women, and the Public Corporation,” this paper evaluates recently applied methods of influencing corporate behavior on employment practices and recommends that a dormant legal doctrine be revitalized and added to the “tool box” of activists and concerned shareholders. The methods of influencing corporate behavior that are evaluated include class action lawsuits and shareholder proposals to amend corporate policy. In both contexts, there are procedural hurdles to achieving success. Even when success is achieved, there are limits to the actual changes in organizational behavior that ...


New Principles For Corporate Law, Kent Greenfield Apr 2005

New Principles For Corporate Law, Kent Greenfield

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The fundamental assumptions of corporate law have changed little in decades. Accepted as truth are the notions that corporations are voluntary, private, contractual entities, that they have broad powers to make money in whatever ways and in whatever locations they see fit. The primary obligation of management is to shareholders, and shareholders alone. Corporations have broad powers but only a limited role: they exist to make money. Those who maintain these principles – a group that includes most of the legal scholars who teach and write in the area – have derived the narrow role of corporations in one of two ways ...


New Business Entities In Evolutionary Perspective, Henry Hansmann, Reiner Kraakman, Richard Squire Jan 2005

New Business Entities In Evolutionary Perspective, Henry Hansmann, Reiner Kraakman, Richard Squire

Faculty Scholarship

The new types of business forms that have developed over the past thirty years all combine the freedom of contracting that is traditional to the partnership with the pattern of creditors' rights that is traditional to the business corporation. Legal scholars differ on the issue of whether these new business forms are more partnership-like or corporation-like. Those taking the partnership-like view argue that the degree of freedom of contract is the essential difference between the traditional corporation and partnership forms, while those adhering to the corporation-like view argue that the pattern of creditors' rights is the essential difference. The authors ...


Finance Theory And Accounting Fraud: Fantastic Futures Versus Conservative Histories, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jan 2005

Finance Theory And Accounting Fraud: Fantastic Futures Versus Conservative Histories, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Intellectual tension between the fields of finance and accounting may help to explain explosion of public company frauds. Finance theory diminishes the relevance of accounting information. Enron exploited this consequence while the SEC bought into it. After widespread frauds were exposed, Congress passed laws that address symptoms of finance's futurism, not disease. Laws essentially prohibit pro forma financial reporting and regulate the selective flow of futuristic information to financial analysts. Untouched is the underlying disease of regulatory mandates requiring extensive disclosure of forward-looking information. Until the 1970s, the SEC prudently prohibited such futuristic disclosure as inherently unreliable; assisted by ...


Strict Liability For Gatekeepers: A Reply To Professor Coffee, Frank Partnoy Oct 2004

Strict Liability For Gatekeepers: A Reply To Professor Coffee, Frank Partnoy

University of San Diego Law and Economics Research Paper Series

This article responds to a proposal by Professor John C. Coffee, Jr. for a modified form of strict liability for gatekeepers. Professor Coffee’s proposal would convert gatekeepers into insurers, but cap their insurance obligations based on a multiple of the highest annual revenues the gatekeepers recently had received from their wrongdoing clients. My proposal, advanced in 2001, would allow gatekeepers to contract for a percentage of issuer damages, after settlement or judgment, subject to a legislatively-imposed floor. This article compares the proposals and concludes that a contractual system based on a percentage of the issuer’s liability would be ...


A Model Financial Statement Insurance Act, Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2004

A Model Financial Statement Insurance Act, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Building on companion work investigating the efficacy of financial statement insurance (FSI) as an alternative to traditional auditor liability, this Article presents the terms of a national enabling statute to implement this concept. The Model Financial Statement Insurance Act uses the architecture of the U.S. Trust Indenture Act of 1939. It authorizes issuer application for qualification, in connection with annual proxy statement filings, of policies of financial statement insurance. The Model FSI Act deems a series of provisions necessary to achieve securities law objectives to be part of all financial statement insurance policies so proposed, and requires insurers to ...


Choosing Gatekeepers: The Financial Statement Insurance Alternative To Auditor Liability, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jun 2004

Choosing Gatekeepers: The Financial Statement Insurance Alternative To Auditor Liability, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Positioned in a lively current debate concerning how to design auditor incentives to optimize financial statement auditing, this Article presents the more ambitious financial statement insurance alternative. This breaks from the existing securities regulation framework to draw directly on insurance markets and law. Based on upon an evaluation of major structural and policy-related features of the concept, the assessment prescribes a framework to permit companies, on an experimental-basis and with investor approval, to use financial statement insurance as an optional alternative to the existing model of financial statement auditing backed by auditor liability. The financial statement insurance concept, pioneered by ...


Facilitating Auditing’S New Early Warning System: Control Disclosure, Auditor Liability And Safe Harbors, Lawrence A. Cunningham Apr 2004

Facilitating Auditing’S New Early Warning System: Control Disclosure, Auditor Liability And Safe Harbors, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article considers the interplay between new auditing standards governing audits of internal control over financial reporting and pre-existing legal standards governing auditor liability for audit failure. The interplay produces skewed liability incentives that, if unadjusted, threaten to impair the objective of this new control-audit regime. The regime’s objective is, in part, to provide an early warning to financial statement users when current financial statements are reliable but control weaknesses indicate material risk of a company’s future inability to produce reliable financial statements. To be meaningful, auditor disclosure of material weaknesses and potential effects is necessary. While liability ...


A New Product For The State Corporation Law Market: Audit Committee Certifications, Lawrence A. Cunningham Mar 2004

A New Product For The State Corporation Law Market: Audit Committee Certifications, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Audit committees of corporate boards of directors are central to corporate governance for many corporations. Their effectiveness in supervising financial managers and overseeing the financial reporting process is important to promote reliable financial statements. This centrality suggests that it is likewise important for investors and others to have a basis for justifiable confidence in audit committee effectiveness. At present, there is no such mechanism. This Article explains why, considers a way states can provide it and assesses as low the likelihood that states will do so. In the swirling corporate governance reforms led by SOX, the SEC, SROs and PCAOB ...


An Uncertain Risk And An Uncertain Future: Assessing The Legal Implications Of Mercury Amalgram Fillings., Mary Ann Chirba, Carolyn M. Welshhans Jan 2004

An Uncertain Risk And An Uncertain Future: Assessing The Legal Implications Of Mercury Amalgram Fillings., Mary Ann Chirba, Carolyn M. Welshhans

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Trying to buy a mercury thermometer at the local pharmacy these days will result in a deluge of information regarding the risks of mercury and the proper disposal protocol for mercury thermometers as hazardous waste. Yet, inquiring about the risks of placing mercury in one’s mouth, in the form of a dental filling, is likely to meet with resounding assurances of safety from the dental profession. While such comforting disclaimers are meant to ease patient concerns, many continue to worry about the safety of dental mercury. This article will begin by describing the many safety concerns that surround the ...


Improving Charitable Accountability, James J. Fishman Jan 2003

Improving Charitable Accountability, James J. Fishman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This Article focuses upon a persistent problem of the nonprofit sector--its lack of accountability to the public. Director, officer, and organizational responsibilities will be analyzed. Past and current approaches to secure accountability of charitable assets will be discussed, and a proposal for improving charitable accountability will be suggested through the creation of public-private charity commissions at the state level under the aegis of the attorney general.


One Nation Among Many: Policy Implications Of Cross-Border Tax Arbitrage, Diane M. Ring Dec 2002

One Nation Among Many: Policy Implications Of Cross-Border Tax Arbitrage, Diane M. Ring

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Cross-border tax arbitrage arises where a transaction is subject to two or more countries’ differing tax regimes. Conflicts between the tax rules create unique opportunities for the parties to engage in profitable tax planning – opportunities that would not be available if the transaction occurred entirely domestically in one of the countries. These opportunities have been a growing feature of the multi-jurisdictional business world and have raised issues concerning whether and how countries, such as the United States, should respond. This Article examines cross-border tax arbitrage in the context of both domestic tax policy and of other international tax issues, and ...


Entrepreneurs And The Estate Tax, James R. Repetti Jan 1999

Entrepreneurs And The Estate Tax, James R. Repetti

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This article analyzes the claims of a recent commentary by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, The Death Tax: Investments, Employment and Entrepreneurs, in 84 Tax Notes 782 (Aug. 2, 1999) that the estate tax discourages entrepreneurs from investing their resources in their entrepreneurial activities. The article concludes that the effects of the estate tax on entrepreneurs investing their resources are minimal for two reasons. First, the effective federal estate tax rates applicable to the yield from an investment when the entrepreneur is under age 60 are quite small (0.3% for investors under age 60, 0.1% for investors under age 50). The ...


The Misuse Of Tax Incentives To Align Management-Shareholder Interests, James R. Repetti Jan 1997

The Misuse Of Tax Incentives To Align Management-Shareholder Interests, James R. Repetti

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The U.S. tax system contains many provisions which are intended to align management of large publicly traded companies more closely to stockholders. This article shows that many of the tax provisions that have been adopted are of questionable effectiveness because they fail to address the complexities of stockholder-management relations in attempting to motivate management to act in the best interests of stockholders. The article proposes that rather than Congress attempting to identify the best way that it can use the tax system to motivate management, Congress should eliminate tax provisions which subsidize management's inefficiencies in order to encourage ...