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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 ...


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.


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 ...


Who Owns The Local Church? A Pressing Issue For Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Catharine P. Wells Nov 2005

Who Owns The Local Church? A Pressing Issue For Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Catharine P. Wells

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The recent bankruptcies of Catholic Dioceses are unprecedented. For the first time, Bankruptcy Courts must deal with the difficult question of who owns the parish church. In this paper, I will explore two possible sources of confusion about this question. The first is the non- commercial, charitable nature of the Church. The second is its organizational complexity. Resolving the confusion requires a familiarity with various different sources of law including charities law, bankruptcy law, trust law, and Canon Law. In this paper I address this issue by: 1. discussing why the equities and policies that govern charitable bankruptcies are different ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Delaware Fiduciary Duty Law After Qvc And Technicolor: A Unified Standard (And The End Of Revlon Duties?), Lawrence A. Cunningham, Charles M. Yablon Jan 1994

Delaware Fiduciary Duty Law After Qvc And Technicolor: A Unified Standard (And The End Of Revlon Duties?), Lawrence A. Cunningham, Charles M. Yablon

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article seeks to analyze and understand Paramount Communications, Inc. v. QVC Network, Inc. and Cede & Co. v. Technicolor, Inc. as part of a movement in Delaware fiduciary law toward a single, more unified standard, away from doctrinal fragmentation. In addition, the Article considers Delaware law leading up to QVC and Technicolor, tracing both the growing fragmentation of Delaware law in the 1980s and the growing judicial concern about fragmentation. This Article will argue that the concern over fragmentation and the desire for a unified standard were not the result of external pressures or policy concerns, but of internal judicial ...


The Overlooked Middle, Thomas C. Kohler Jan 1993

The Overlooked Middle, Thomas C. Kohler

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this Article, the author argues that significant elements concerning the discussion of labor law reform have been overlooked and that the steady decline of unions is not in fact an isolated occurrence. It is instead part of a much broader and deeply troubling trend, which has affected every mediating group in our society. However, our blinkered insistence on treating the deterioration of autonomous employee associations as a solitary phenomenon has precluded us from comprehending either the complexity of its causes or the full extent of its implications. The author posits, therefore, that there is a pronounced tendency to overlook ...


Corporate Integration, Tax Treaties, And The Division Of The International Tax Base: Principles And Practices., Hugh J. Ault Jun 1992

Corporate Integration, Tax Treaties, And The Division Of The International Tax Base: Principles And Practices., Hugh J. Ault

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this Article, Professor Ault begins with an examination of the evolution of treaty principles for the allocation of and restrictions on international taxing jurisdiction. He then focuses on how economically based principles dealing with the taxation of international income affect treaty policy and presents the basic structural provisions involving the taxation of foreign income and foreign investors that emerge from domestically enacted or proposed integration systems. The technical aspects of the actual treaty practices that have been implemented with respect to integration systems are then related to the theoretical discussion. Professor Ault concludes with an examination of the implications ...


Multilateral Development Banks, Environmental Diseconomies, And International Reform Pressures On The Lending Process: The Example Of Third World Dam-Building Projects, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jan 1989

Multilateral Development Banks, Environmental Diseconomies, And International Reform Pressures On The Lending Process: The Example Of Third World Dam-Building Projects, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

An "environmental" perspective on multilateral development bank (MDB) loans presents at least three points of analysis relevant to Third World development issues. First it gives some very vivid and instructive examples of how the international development loan process can go askew. Second, it demonstrates practically why and how the lending process itself has required constructive reform. Third, in reviewing legal approaches to reform, including recent pressures on MDBs, it helps clarify a latent debate about the legitimacy of donor-nation pressure on international lending institutions. This article focuses upon World Bank projects and processes, not only because they provide many useful ...


Coal Law From The Old World: A Perspective On Land Use And Environmental Regulation In The Coal Industries Of The United States, Great Britain, And West Germany, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jan 1976

Coal Law From The Old World: A Perspective On Land Use And Environmental Regulation In The Coal Industries Of The United States, Great Britain, And West Germany, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

America’s reentry into the Coal Age has been one of the major consequences of the Mideast oil-producing nations’ discovery of their collective marketing power, and in this new emphasis on coal the United States is not alone. Like the United States, many industrialized nations with domestic coal reserves had allowed their coal industries to languish under the influence of low-priced, petroleum based energy economy and are now hastening to strengthen their coal production. Different nations approach the regulation of their resurgent coal industries in varying ways, however, and these differences can be instructive to American observers, particularly as they ...