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Full-Text Articles in Law

Private Equity's Governance Advantage: A Requiem, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2019

Private Equity's Governance Advantage: A Requiem, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

Private equity’s original purpose was to optimize companies’ governance and operations. Reuniting ownership and control in corporate America, the leveraged buyout (or the mere threat thereof) undoubtedly helped reform management practices in a broad swath of U.S. companies. Due to mounting competitive pressures, however, private equity is finding relatively fewer underperforming companies to fix. This is particularly true of U.S. public companies, which are continuously dogged by activist hedge funds and other empowered shareholders looking for any sign of slack.

In response, private equity is shifting its center of gravity away from governance reform, towards a dizzying ...


Is There A First-Drafter Advantage In M&A?, Adam B. Badawi, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2019

Is There A First-Drafter Advantage In M&A?, Adam B. Badawi, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Rethinking Corporate Governance For A Bondholder Financed, Systemically Risky World, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2017

Rethinking Corporate Governance For A Bondholder Financed, Systemically Risky World, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This Article makes two arguments that, combined, demonstrate an important synergy: first, including bondholders in corporate governance could help to reduce systemic risk because bondholders are more risk averse than shareholders; second, corporate governance should include bondholders because bonds now dwarf equity as a source of corporate financing and bond prices are increasingly tied to firm performance.


The Responsibility Gap In Corporate Crime, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2017

The Responsibility Gap In Corporate Crime, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

In many cases of criminality within large corporations, senior management does not commit the operative offense — or conspire or assist in it — but nonetheless bears serious responsibility for the crime. That responsibility can derive from, among other things, management’s role in cultivating corporate culture, in failing to police effectively within the firm, and in accepting lavish compensation for taking the firm’s reins. Criminal law does not include any doctrinal means for transposing that form of responsibility into punishment. Arguments for expanding doctrine — including broadening of the presently narrow “responsible corporate officer” doctrine — so as to authorize such punishment ...


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 ...


Quieting The Sharholders' Voice: Empirical Evidence Of Pervasive Bundling In Proxy Solicitations, James D. Cox, Fabrizio Ferri, Colleen Honigsberg, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2016

Quieting The Sharholders' Voice: Empirical Evidence Of Pervasive Bundling In Proxy Solicitations, James D. Cox, Fabrizio Ferri, Colleen Honigsberg, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

The integrity of shareholder voting is critical to the legitimacy of corporate law. One threat to this process is proxy “bundling,” or the joinder of more than one separate item into a single proxy proposal. Bundling deprives shareholders of the right to convey their views on each separate matter being put to a vote and forces them to either reject the entire proposal or approve items they might not otherwise want implemented.

In this Paper, we provide the first comprehensive evaluation of the anti-bundling rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in 1992. While we find that the ...


Accessory Disloyalty: Comparative Perspectives On Substantial Assistance To Fiduciary Breach, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2016

Accessory Disloyalty: Comparative Perspectives On Substantial Assistance To Fiduciary Breach, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

Culpable participation in a fiduciary's breach of duty is independently wrongful. Much about this contingent form of liability is open to dispute. In the United States, well-established general doctrine defines the elements requisite to establishing accessory liability, which is categorized as a tort and often referred to as "aiding-and abetting" liability. What's controversial is how the tort applies to particular categories of actors, most recently investment banks that advise boards of target companies in M&A transactions. In the United Kingdom, in contrast, accessory liability in connection with a breach of trust or fiduciary duty is controversial because ...


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 ...


Agency Costs In Law-Firm Selection: Are Companies Under-Spending On Counsel?, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2016

Agency Costs In Law-Firm Selection: Are Companies Under-Spending On Counsel?, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

A growing body of literature examines whether corporate clients derive sufficient value from the law firms that they engage. Yet little attention has been paid to whether clients optimally select among law firms in the first place. One entry-point is to identify discrepancies in the quality of counsel selected by different corporate clients for the very same work. Using a large sample of loans, this Article finds that major U.S. public companies select lower-ranked law firms for their financing transactions than do private equity-owned companies, controlling for various deal characteristics. While some of this discrepancy can be attributed to ...


The Development And Evolution Of The U.S. Law Of Corporate Criminal Liability And The Yates Memo, Sara Sun Beale Jan 2016

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

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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 ...


Law Firm Selection And The Value Of Transactional Lawyering, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2015

Law Firm Selection And The Value Of Transactional Lawyering, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

Following the contraction in demand for law firms’ services during the Great Recession, “Big Law” was widely diagnosed as suffering from several maladies that would spell its ultimate demise, including excessive fees, excessive size, increased competition from in-house counsel, the commoditization of legal work, and the decline in demand for “relationship firms.” While each of these market pressures is only too real for certain segments of the law-firm population, their threat to the most elite U.S. law firms has been largely misunderstood. Even as many firms reduce their fees and contract in size, we should expect certain firms to ...


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 ...


Keynote Reflections: The Public Governance Duty, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2015

Keynote Reflections: The Public Governance Duty, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Firms must take ever greater risks to try to innovate and create value in our increasingly competitive and complex global economy. Corporate governance law generally delegates control over excessive risk-taking to the firm’s investors, principally its risk-seeking shareholders. But this does not cover the type of risk-taking that led to the global financial crisis and that is becoming ever more common - risk-taking that could have systemic consequences to the financial system. I argue for a “public governance duty,” requiring managers of systemically important firms to assess the impact of risk-taking on the public as well as on investors, and ...


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 ...


Corporate Risk-Taking And The Decline Of Personal Blame, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2015

Corporate Risk-Taking And The Decline Of Personal Blame, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Agency In The Alternatives: Common-Law Perspectives On Binding The Firm, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2015

Agency In The Alternatives: Common-Law Perspectives On Binding The Firm, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter in a forthcoming book examines the external aspects of agency law in the context of unincorporated firms, that is, the capacity of actors associated a firm to bind it to the legal consequences of interactions with third parties. The chapter focuses in particular on the impact of acts done by a representative for which the representative lacked actual authority. The chapter differentiates the terminology and concepts associated with partnership law from the common law of agency, in particular, a partner's capacity to bind the firm albeit the partner lacks actual authority, which the chapter terms the partner ...


Forum-Selection Bylaws Refracted Through An Agency Lens, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2015

Forum-Selection Bylaws Refracted Through An Agency Lens, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

Both praise and controversy surround director-adopted bylaws that affect shareholders' litigation rights. Recent bylaws specify an exclusive forum for litigation of corporate governance claims, limit shareholder claims to resolution through arbitration, and (most controversially) impose a one-way regime of fee shifting on shareholder litigants. To one degree or another, courts have legitimated each development, while commentators differ in their assessments. This Article brings into clear focus issues so far blurred in debates surrounding these types of bylaws. Focusing on forum-selection bylaws, and on Delaware precedents, I argue that beginning from the standpoint of common law agency reveals the attenuated and ...


Excessive Corporate Risk-Taking And The Decline Of Personal Blame, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2015

Excessive Corporate Risk-Taking And The Decline Of Personal Blame, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Government agencies and prosecutors are being criticized for seeking so few indictments against individuals in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis and its resulting banking failures. This article analyzes why — contrary to a longstanding historical trend — personal liability may be on the decline, and whether agencies and prosecutors should be doing more. The analysis confronts fundamental policy questions concerning changing corporate and social norms. The public and the media perceive the crisis’s harm as a “wrong” caused by excessive risk-taking. But that view can be too simplistic, ignoring the reality that firms must take greater risks to try ...


The Governance Structure Of Shadow Banking, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2014

The Governance Structure Of Shadow Banking, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Does Board Independence Reduce The Cost Of Debt?, Michael Bradley, Dong Chen Jan 2014

Does Board Independence Reduce The Cost Of Debt?, Michael Bradley, Dong Chen

Faculty Scholarship

Using the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the associated change in listing standards as a natural experiment, we find that while board independence decreases the cost of debt when credit conditions are strong or leverage low, it increases the cost of debt when credit conditions are poor or leverage high. We also document that independent directors set corporate policies that increase firm risk. These results suggest that, acting in the interest of shareholders, independent directors are increasingly costly to bondholders with the intensification of the agency conflict between these two stakeholders.


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 ...


A Difficult Conversation: Corporate Directors On Race And Gender, Kimberly D. Krawiec, John M. Conley, Lissa L. Broome Jan 2014

A Difficult Conversation: Corporate Directors On Race And Gender, Kimberly D. Krawiec, John M. Conley, Lissa L. Broome

Faculty Scholarship

This symposium essay summarizes our ongoing ethnographic research on corporate board diversity, discussing the central tension in our respondents’ views – their overwhelmingly enthusiastic support of board diversity coupled with an inability to articulate coherent accounts of board diversity benefits that might rationalize that enthusiasm. As their reactions make clear, frank dialogue about race and gender – even a seemingly benign discussion of diversity’s benefits – can be a difficult conversation.