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Full-Text Articles in Law

Individual Autonomy In Corporate Law, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2018

Individual Autonomy In Corporate Law, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

The field of corporate law is riven with competing visions of the corporation. This Article seeks to identify points of broad agreement by negative implication. It examines two developments in corporate law that have drawn widespread criticism from corporate law scholars: the Supreme Court's recognition of corporate religious rights in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and the Nevada legislature's decision to eliminate mandatory fiduciary duties for corporate directors and officers. Despite their fundamental differences, both resulted in expanding individual rights or autonomy within the corporation-for shareholders and managers, respectively.

The visceral critiques aimed at these two developments suggest a ...


Will Delaware Be Different? An Empirical Study Of Tc Heartland And The Shift To Defendant Choice Of Venue, Ofer Eldar, Neel U. Sukhatme Jan 2018

Will Delaware Be Different? An Empirical Study Of Tc Heartland And The Shift To Defendant Choice Of Venue, Ofer Eldar, Neel U. Sukhatme

Faculty Scholarship

Why do some venues evolve into litigation havens while others do not? Venues might compete for litigation for various reasons, such as enhancing their judges’ prestige and increasing revenues for the local bar. This competition is framed by the party that chooses the venue. Whether plaintiffs or defendants primarily choose venue is crucial because, we argue, the two scenarios are not symmetrical.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods illustrates this dynamic. There, the Court effectively shifted venue choice in many patent infringement cases from plaintiffs to corporate defendants. We use TC Heartland to empirically ...


Delaware's Retreat: Exploring Developing Fissures And Tectonic Shifts In Delaware Corporate Law, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2018

Delaware's Retreat: Exploring Developing Fissures And Tectonic Shifts In Delaware Corporate Law, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In less than a decade, Delaware’s legislature has overruled its courts and reshaped Delaware corporate law on two different occasions, with proxy access bylaws in 2009 and with shareholder litigation bylaws in 2015. Having two dramatic interventions in quick succession would be puzzling under any circumstances. The interventions are doubly puzzling because with proxy access, Delaware’s legislature authorized the use of bylaws or charter provisions that Delaware’s courts had banned; while with shareholder litigation, it banned bylaws or charter provisions that the courts had authorized. This Article attempts to unravel the puzzle.

I start with corporate law ...


The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton Jan 2017

The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A half century ago, corporate legal theory pursued an institutional vision in which corporations and the law that creates them protect people from the ravages of volatile free markets. That vision was challenged on the ground during the 1980s, when corporate legal institutions and market forces came to blows over questions concerning hostile takeovers. By 1990, it seemed like the institutions had won. But a different picture has emerged as the years have gone by. It is now clear that the market side really won the battle of the 1980s, succeeding in entering a wedge between corporate law and social ...


Regulatory Competition And The Market For Corporate Law, Ofer Eldar, Lorenzo Magnolfi Jan 2017

Regulatory Competition And The Market For Corporate Law, Ofer Eldar, Lorenzo Magnolfi

Faculty Scholarship

This article develops an empirical model of firms’ choice of corporate laws under inertia. Delaware dominates the incorporation market, though recently Nevada, a state whose laws are highly protective of managers, has acquired a sizable market share. Using a novel database of incorporation decisions from 1995- 2013, we show that most firms dislike protectionist laws, such as anti-takeover statutes and liability protections for officers, and that Nevada’s rise is due to the preferences of small firms.Our estimates indicate that despite inertia, Delaware would lose significant market share and revenues if it adopted protectionist laws. Our findings support the ...


The Role Of Social Enterprise And Hybrid Organizations, Ofer Eldar Jan 2017

The Role Of Social Enterprise And Hybrid Organizations, Ofer Eldar

Faculty Scholarship

Recent years have brought remarkable growth in hybrid organizations that combine profit-seeking and social missions. Despite popular enthusiasm for such organizations, legal reforms to facilitate their formation and growth—particularly, legal forms for hybrid firms—have largely been ineffective. This shortcoming stems in large part from the lack of a theory that identifies the structural and functional elements that make some types of hybrid organizations more effective than others. In pursuit of such a theory, this Article focuses on a large class of hybrid organizations that has been effective in addressing development problems, such as increasing access to capital and ...


Market Information And The Elite Law Firm, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2017

Market Information And The Elite Law Firm, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

As a subcategory of contract negotiations, corporate transactions present information problems that have not been fully analyzed. In particular, the literature does not address the possibility that parties may simply be unaware of value-increasing transaction terms or their outside option. Such unawareness can arise even for transactions that attract many competing parties, if the bargaining process is such that (1) the price terms are negotiated and fixed prior to the non-price terms, contrary to the standard assumption; and (2) some of the non-price terms remain private for some period of time.

A simple bargaining model shows that, when such unawareness ...


Brief Of Professors At Law And Business Schools As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Respondents, James D. Cox, J. Robert Brown Jr., Lyman Johnson, Lawrence W. Treece, Joan Macleod Heminway Jan 2017

Brief Of Professors At Law And Business Schools As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Respondents, James D. Cox, J. Robert Brown Jr., Lyman Johnson, Lawrence W. Treece, Joan Macleod Heminway

Faculty Scholarship

This Amicus Brief was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of nearly 50 law and business faculty in the United States and Canada who have a common interest in ensuring a proper interpretation of the statutory securities regulation framework put in place by the U.S. Congress. Specifically, all amici agree that Item 303 of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Regulation S-K creates a duty to disclose for purposes of Rule 10b-5(b) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The Court’s affirmation of a duty to disclose would have little effect on existing practice ...


Corporate Officers As Agents, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2017

Corporate Officers As Agents, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

Although officers are crucial to corporate operations, scholarly and theoretical accounts tend to slight officers and amalgamate them with directors into a single category, "managers." This essay anchors officers within the common law of agency-as does black-letter law-which crisply differentiates officers from directors. Understanding that agency is central of the legal account of officers' positions and responsibilities is crucial to seeing why, like directors, officers are fiduciaries, but distinctively so, not as instances of generic "corporate fiduciaries." Officers, like directors, owe duties of loyalty, but also particularized duties of care, competence, and diligence. Additionally, officers' duties of performance encompass two ...


How Corporate Governance Is Made: The Case Of The Golden Leash, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Sean J. Griffith, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2016

How Corporate Governance Is Made: The Case Of The Golden Leash, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Sean J. Griffith, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article presents a case study of a corporate governance innovation—the incentive compensation arrangement for activist-nominated director candidates colloquially known as the “golden leash.” Golden leash compensation arrangements are a potentially valuable tool for activist shareholders in election contests. In response to their use, several issuers adopted bylaw provisions banning incentive compensation arrangements. Investors, in turn, viewed director adoption of golden leash bylaws as problematic and successfully pressured issuers to repeal them.

The study demonstrates how corporate governance provisions are developed and deployed, the sequential response of issuers and investors, and the central role played by governance intermediaries—activist ...


Corporate Darwinism: Disciplining Managers In A World With Weak Shareholder Litigation, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2016

Corporate Darwinism: Disciplining Managers In A World With Weak Shareholder Litigation, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

Because representative shareholder litigation has been constrained by numerous legal developments, the corporate governance system has developed new mechanisms as alternative means to address managerial agency costs. We posit that recent significant governance developments in the corporate world are the natural consequence of the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of shareholder suits to address certain genre of managerial agency costs. We thus argue that corporate governance responses evolve to fill voids caused by the inability of shareholder suits to monitor and discipline corporate managers.

We further claim that these new governance responses are themselves becoming stronger due in part to the rising ...


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 ...


The End Of Class Actions?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2015

The End Of Class Actions?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In this Article, I give a status report on the life expectancy of class action litigation following the Supreme Court's decisions in Concepcion and American Express. These decisions permitted corporations to opt out of class action liability through the use of arbitration clauses, and many commentators, myself included, predicted that they would eventually lead us down a road where class actions against businesses would be all but eliminated. Enough time has now passed to make an assessment of whether these predictions are coming to fruition. I find that, although there is not yet solid evidence that businesses have flocked ...


The Responsible Corporation: Its Historical Roots And Continuing Promise, Larry D. Thompson Jan 2015

The Responsible Corporation: Its Historical Roots And Continuing Promise, Larry D. Thompson

Scholarly Works

The article focuses on the on the history of American corporations from the colonization period and its impact on private corporations such as venture capitalism. Topics discussed include legal and sustainable approach to corporate responsibility, role of laws in shaping corporate duties and behavior and devastating effect of excessive dividend payments. It also discusses the cases in which courts refuse to interfere with management's long-term decision making.


Addressing Agency Costs Through Private Litigation In The U.S: Tensions, Disappointments, And Substitutes, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2015

Addressing Agency Costs Through Private Litigation In The U.S: Tensions, Disappointments, And Substitutes, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

Many scholars argue that over the past seventy years, shareholder representative litigation has acted as an important policing mechanism of managerial abuses at U.S. public companies. Different types of representative litigation have had their moment in the sun – derivative suits early on, followed by federal securities class actions, and most recently merger litigation – often producing benefits for shareholders, but posing difficult challenges as well. In particular, the benefits are qualified by another concern, the litigation agency costs that surround shareholder suits. This form of agency costs arises since the suits are invariably representative with no requirement that the named ...


Corporate Law And The Limits Of Private Ordering, James D. Cox Jan 2015

Corporate Law And The Limits Of Private Ordering, James D. Cox

Faculty Scholarship

Solomon-like, the Delaware legislature in 2015 split the baby by amending the Delaware General Corporation Law to authorize forum-selection bylaws and to prohibit charter or bylaw provisions that would shift to the plaintiff defense costs incurred in connection with shareholder suits that were not successfully concluded. The legislature acted after the Boilermakers Local 154 Retirement Fund. v. Chevron Corp ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund, broadly empowered the board vis-à-vis the shareholders through the board’s power to amend the bylaws. Repeatedly the analysis used by each court referenced the contractual relationship the shareholders had through the articles of ...


Brief Of Corporate Law Professors As Amici Curie In Support Of Respondents, John C. Coates, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Bernard S. Black, John C. Coffee, James D. Cox, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Lawrence Hamermesh, Henry B. Hansmann, Robert J. Jackson Jr., Marcel Kahan, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, Michael Klausner, Reinier H. Kraakman, Donald C. Langevoort, Brian Jm Quinn, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, Helen S. Scott Jan 2015

Brief Of Corporate Law Professors As Amici Curie In Support Of Respondents, John C. Coates, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Bernard S. Black, John C. Coffee, James D. Cox, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Lawrence Hamermesh, Henry B. Hansmann, Robert J. Jackson Jr., Marcel Kahan, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, Michael Klausner, Reinier H. Kraakman, Donald C. Langevoort, Brian Jm Quinn, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, Helen S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court has looked to the rights of corporate shareholders in determining the rights of union members and non-members to control political spending, and vice versa. The Court sometimes assumes that if shareholders disapprove of corporate political expression, they can easily sell their shares or exercise control over corporate spending. This assumption is mistaken. Because of how capital is saved and invested, most individual shareholders cannot obtain full information about corporate political activities, even after the fact, nor can they prevent their savings from being used to speak in ways with which they disagree. Individual shareholders have no “opt ...


The Mess At Morgan: Risk, Incentives And Shareholder Empowerment, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2015

The Mess At Morgan: Risk, Incentives And Shareholder Empowerment, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The financial crisis of 2008 focused increasing attention on corporate America and, in particular, the risk-taking behavior of large financial institutions. A growing appreciation of the “public” nature of the corporation resulted in a substantial number of high profile enforcement actions. In addition, demands for greater accountability led policymakers to attempt to harness the corporation’s internal decision-making structure, in the name of improved corporate governance, to further the interest of non-shareholder stakeholders. Dodd-Frank’s advisory vote on executive compensation is an example.

This essay argues that the effort to employ shareholders as agents of public values and, thereby, to ...


Bankers And Chancellors, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2014

Bankers And Chancellors, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Delaware Chancery Court recently squared off against the investment banking world with a series of rulings that tie Revlon violations to banker conflicts of interest. Critics charge the Court with slamming down fiduciary principles of self-abnegation in a business context where they have no place or, contrariwise, letting culpable banks off the hook with ineffectual slaps on the wrist. This Article addresses this controversy, offering a sustained look at the banker-client advisory relationship. We pose a clear answer to the questions raised: although this is nominally fiduciary territory, both banker-client relationships and the Chancery Court’s recent interventions are ...


The Development And Evolution Of The U.S. Law Of Corporate Criminal Liability, Sara Sun Beale Jan 2014

The Development And Evolution Of The U.S. Law Of Corporate Criminal Liability, Sara Sun Beale

Faculty Scholarship

In the United States, corporate criminal liability developed in response to the industrial revolution and the rise in the scope and importance of corporate activities. This article focuses principally on federal law, which bases corporate criminal liability on the respondeat superior doctrine developed in tort law. In the federal system, the formative period for the doctrine of corporate criminal liability was the early Twentieth Century, when Congress dramatically expanded the reach of federal law, responding to the unprecedented concentration of economic power in corporations and combinations of business concerns as well as new hazards to public health and safety. Both ...


The Tort Foundation Of Duty Of Care And Business Judgment, Robert J. Rhee Jan 2013

The Tort Foundation Of Duty Of Care And Business Judgment, Robert J. Rhee

Faculty Scholarship

This Article corrects a misconception in corporation law – the belief that principles of tort law do not apply to the liability scheme of fiduciary duty. A board’s duty of care implies exposure to liability, but the business judgment rule precludes it. Tort law finds fault; corporation law excuses it. The conventional wisdom says that the tort analogy fails. This dismissal of tort prinicples is wrong. Although shareholder derivative suits and ordinary tort cases properly yield systemically antipodal outcomes, they are bound by a common analytical framework. The principles of board liability are rooted in tort doctrines governing duty, customs ...


Adapting To The New Shareholder-Centric Reality, Edward B. Rock Jan 2013

Adapting To The New Shareholder-Centric Reality, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After more than eighty years of sustained attention, the master problem of U.S. corporate law—the separation of ownership and control—has mostly been brought under control. This resolution has occurred more through changes in market and corporate practices than through changes in the law. This Article explores how corporate law and practice are adapting to the new shareholder-centric reality that has emerged.

Because solving the shareholder–manager agency cost problem aggravates shareholder–creditor agency costs, I focus on implications for creditors. After considering how debt contracts, compensation arrangements, and governance structures can work together to limit shareholder–creditor ...


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 ...


Potentially Perverse Effects Of Corporate Civil Liability, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2011

Potentially Perverse Effects Of Corporate Civil Liability, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Inadequate civil regulatory liability can be an incentive for public enforcers to pursue criminal cases against firms. This incentive is undesirable in a scheme with overlapping forms of liability that is meant to treat most cases of wrongdoing civilly and to reserve the criminal remedy for the few most serious institutional delicts. This effect appears to exist in the current scheme of liability for securities law violations, and may be present in other regulatory structures as well. In this chapter for a volume on "Prosecutors in the Boardroom," the author argues that enhancements of the SEC's enforcement processes likely ...


The Accidental Elegance Of Aronson V. Lewis, David A. Skeel Jr. Oct 2007

The Accidental Elegance Of Aronson V. Lewis, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Unlike many key corporate law decisions, the 1984 Delaware Supreme Court decision in Aronson v. Lewis was not heralded by stories in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, nor in any other newspaper of note. Even now, few people other than corporate law experts are likely to recognize the name. Yet Aronson plays a pivotal role in many corporate law decisions that do get a lot more attention. Aronson established the parameters for filing derivative litigation against the directors of a corporation (or a third party, but derivative suits against third parties are now rare). A shareholder who ...


The Fall And Rise Of Federal Corporation Law, Richard A. Booth Jan 2007

The Fall And Rise Of Federal Corporation Law, Richard A. Booth

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Specific Investment: Explaining Anomalies In "Corporate Law", Margaret M. Blair, Lynn A. Stout Jan 2006

Specific Investment: Explaining Anomalies In "Corporate Law", Margaret M. Blair, Lynn A. Stout

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article has two goals: to praise Professor Robert Clark as a remarkable corporate scholar, and to explore how his work has helped to advance our understanding of corporations and corporate law. Clark wrote his classic treatise at a time when corporate scholarship was dominated by a principal-agent paradigm that viewed shareholders as the principals or sole residual claimants in public corporations and treated directors as shareholders' agents. This view naturally led contemporary scholars to believe that the chief economic problem of interest in corporate law was the "agency cost" problem of getting corporate directors to do what shareholders wanted ...


Capital Requirements In United States Corporation Law, Richard A. Booth Marbury Research Professor Of Law Dec 2005

Capital Requirements In United States Corporation Law, Richard A. Booth Marbury Research Professor Of Law

Faculty Scholarship

This paper focuses on corporation law in the United States as it relates to capital contributions and capital maintenance. In other words, the paper addresses the provisions of corporation law relating to (1) the obligation of investors to contribute to the corporation a specified amount of capital and (2) the obligation of the corporation to maintain a specified amount of capital (and not to pay it back to the stockholders in the form of dividends or payments to repurchase or redeem shares). Traditionally, the amount of capital that must be contributed to and maintained by a corporation is called the ...


Welfare, Dialectic, And Mediation In Corporate Law, William W. Bratton Jan 2005

Welfare, Dialectic, And Mediation In Corporate Law, William W. Bratton

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Bill Klein extends an idealistic and progressive invitation with the Criteria for Good Laws of Business Association (the Criteria). The structure of our debates, he says, prevents us from joining the issue. The discourse will move forward if we can isolate core components on which we agree and disagree. The invitation, thus directed, is well-constructed. To facilitate engagement, each criterion is set out as pari passu with each other. And there is a good reason for the inclusion of each listed criterion. Each has an established place in public and private law jurisprudence. Each has influenced results, coming forth as ...