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Teaching Business Law Through An Entrepreneurial Lens, Michelle M. Harner May 2013

Teaching Business Law Through An Entrepreneurial Lens, Michelle M. Harner

Michelle M. Harner

The legal market has changed. Although change creates uncertainty and fear, it also can create opportunity. This essay explores the opportunity for innovation in the business law curriculum, and the role of simulation to help create more practice-aware new lawyers.


Will Law Firms Go Public?, Roberta S. Karmel Apr 2013

Will Law Firms Go Public?, Roberta S. Karmel

Roberta S. Karmel

Law in the United States is a big business and big law firms are a global business. Currently, under rules of the American Bar Association (ABA) and most states law, firms are not allowed either to include non-lawyers as partners or accept equity investments from non-lawyers. This Article will argue that (even if law firms retain the form of partnerships) they eventually will accept investments from third parties, and possibly even go public, but this development could lead to a loss of professionalism, as it has with other industries, and could also lead to the end of self-regulation. Among the ...


Who Wants To Watch? A Comment On The New International Paradigm Of Financial Consumer Market Regulation, Toni Williams Mar 2013

Who Wants To Watch? A Comment On The New International Paradigm Of Financial Consumer Market Regulation, Toni Williams

Seattle University Law Review

This Article explores the capacity of the G20’s model of financial consumer protection to reconfigure relationships between financial firms and consumers, focusing in particular on the market conduct of financial firms. Although this Article does not focus directly on Adolf A. Berle’s work, it does engage with some of his enduring concerns about economic relations between corporations, regulators, and individuals; the socialcontext of those economic relations; and the role of law and legal regulation in shaping market relations. More specifically, this Article considers new international regulatory principles related to corporate social responsibility— a recurring theme of Berle’s ...


Dinner Parties During “Lost Decades”: On The Difficulties Of Rethinking Financial Markets, Fostering Elite Consensus, And Renewing Political Economy, David A. Westbrook Mar 2013

Dinner Parties During “Lost Decades”: On The Difficulties Of Rethinking Financial Markets, Fostering Elite Consensus, And Renewing Political Economy, David A. Westbrook

Seattle University Law Review

This Article addresses two groups of problems that ought to be understood in relation to one another. This Article has three movements. In Part II, I discuss conceptual obstacles to forming the new elite consensus that rethinking the role of financial markets requires. To produce policy reform, it is not enough to have new ideas; the ideas must be understood, adopted, and acted upon by people. Policy reform is thus always a function of conversations. In Part III, I discuss some possible ways the elite consensus might be formed. In Part V, the conclusion, I offer a preliminary assessment of ...


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

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

Seattle University Law Review

In their 1932 opus "The Modern Corporation and Public Property," Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means famously documented the evolution of a new economic entity—the public corporation. What made the public corporation “public,” of course, was that it had thousands or even hundreds of thousands of shareholders, none of whom owned more than a small fraction of outstanding shares. As a result, the public firm’s shareholders had little individual incentive to pay close attention to what was going on inside the firm, or even to vote. Dispersed shareholders were rationally apathetic. If they voted at all, they usually voted ...


Rebalancing Private Placement Regulation, William K. Sjostrom, Jr. Mar 2013

Rebalancing Private Placement Regulation, William K. Sjostrom, Jr.

Seattle University Law Review

Regulating securities offerings entails balancing investor protection and capital formation. Inevitably, this balance gets upset. As financial markets evolve, Congress passes new legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopts new rules, and the courts issue unanticipated opinions. These events upset the balance because they happen in an uncoordinated and haphazard manner and oftentimes produce unintended consequences.The Article proceeds as follows. To set the stage, Part II provides background on the Securities Act and describes the differences between public offerings and private placements. Part III explains why rebalancing private placement regulation may be warranted. Part IV offers proposed statutory ...


Equity Derivatives And The Challenge For Berle’S Conception Of Corporate Accountability, Janis Sarra Mar 2013

Equity Derivatives And The Challenge For Berle’S Conception Of Corporate Accountability, Janis Sarra

Seattle University Law Review

With the proliferation of equity derivatives and related structured financial products, the North American conception of corporate governance faces a new and distinct challenge to its underlying premises.This Article analyzes these developments with a focus on the implications for director and officer accountability and corporate sustainability, using the occasion of the third symposium of the Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law & Society to consider whether Berle’s analysis of corporate accountability offers any insights into how to address the uncoupling of economic interest and legal rights in corporate governance. Part II of this Article sets the context ...


Hedge Funds And Risk Decoupling: The Empty Voting Problem In The European Union, Wolf-Georg Ringe Mar 2013

Hedge Funds And Risk Decoupling: The Empty Voting Problem In The European Union, Wolf-Georg Ringe

Seattle University Law Review

The law must remain adaptive and responsive to the constantly changing challenges of our society and our business life. One of the most pressing challenges of the past years is the emergence of alternative investment funds, in particular hedge funds, which masterfully exploit the traditional categories of corporate law, financial derivatives, and risk management. This Article is only concerned with the first of these two forms— negative decoupling.9 It looks at the various forms of negative riskdecoupling strategies and tries to shed light on their overall desirability. Three distinct theoretical perspectives are used as an analytical framework to examine ...


Revisiting “Truth In Securities” Revisited: Abolishing Ipos And Harnessing Private Markets In The Public Good, A. C. Pritchard Mar 2013

Revisiting “Truth In Securities” Revisited: Abolishing Ipos And Harnessing Private Markets In The Public Good, A. C. Pritchard

Seattle University Law Review

This article's focus is the idea that the transition between private- and public company status could be less bumpy if we unify the public–private dividing line under the Securities Act and Exchange Act. Part II of this article outlines the current public–private dividing lines under the Securities Act and the Exchange Act. This part also explores Facebook’s recent transition from private to public status under that framework, as well as Congress’s recent intervention in the field with the JOBS Act. Part III explores the problems of making the transition from private to public, focusing on ...


Corporate Governance As A School Of Social Reform, Ciarán O’Kelly Mar 2013

Corporate Governance As A School Of Social Reform, Ciarán O’Kelly

Seattle University Law Review

In this paper, I present a vision of the corporation as a moral person. I point to “the separation of ownership and control” as a moment when the corporation broke away from the moral lives of ownermanagers. I then draw out the manner in which we can speak of the company as a moral person. Finally, through a discussion of social reporting in two British banks, I point to a shift in how this moral personhood is articulated, with the rise of corporate governance—or doing business well—as its own foundation of corporate responsibility. I propose a view of ...


The Common Link In Failures And Scandals At The World’S Leading Banks, Justin O’Brien, Olivia Dixon Mar 2013

The Common Link In Failures And Scandals At The World’S Leading Banks, Justin O’Brien, Olivia Dixon

Seattle University Law Review

This Article argues that both the root cause of the crisis and the route to restoring trust and confidence is to be found in ascertaining how to regulate culture across mandates, processes, and use of discretion. Part II identifies the internal and external failings of four of the most recent global banking scandals within the CEDAR matrix. Part III discusses the regulatory challenges faced when compliance serves no practical function and the consequent material risk to market integrity. This Article concludes by suggesting that it is unsustainable for regulation to be decided, implemented, and monitored at a national level. Global ...


Shareholder Social Responsibility, David Millon Mar 2013

Shareholder Social Responsibility, David Millon

Seattle University Law Review

Amidst concerns about the negative effects on long-run value and competitiveness, one overlooked consequence of short-termism is its impediment to corporate social responsibility (CSR).In this Article, Part II examines the short-termism phenomenon, first from the point of view of investors and then from that of corporate managers, and summarizes widely held views about the social costs of short-termism. Part III then shifts the focus to the impact of shorttermism on CSR, a problem that has been largely overlooked, and develops two theories or models of CSR: the “ethical” and the “strategic.” Part III also explains how short-termism presents a ...


The Financialization Of The U.S. Corporation: What Has Been Lost, And How It Can Be Regained, William Lazonick Mar 2013

The Financialization Of The U.S. Corporation: What Has Been Lost, And How It Can Be Regained, William Lazonick

Seattle University Law Review

As the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the Great Recession, the erosion of middle-class jobs and the explosion of income inequality have endured long enough to raise serious questions about whether the U.S. economy is beset by deep structural problems. My argument is that the employment problem that the United States now faces is largely structural. But the structural problem is not a labormarket mismatch between the skills that prospective employers want and the skills that potential workers have, as many economists have argued. Nor is the problem automation. Rather, the employment problem stems from changes in ...


The Modern Corporation Magnified: Managerial Accountability In Financial-Services Holding Companies, Anita K. Krug Mar 2013

The Modern Corporation Magnified: Managerial Accountability In Financial-Services Holding Companies, Anita K. Krug

Seattle University Law Review

This Article first recalls the primary contours of Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means’s acclaimed observations regarding the separation of ownership and control in the “modern corporation,” as well as their conclusions about the implications of those observations for the doctrine of shareholder primacy. Second, the Article describes how the activities of FSHCs generally differ from what we think corporations do and, certainly, from what Berle and Means conceived of as the purpose of corporations or, indeed, any business enterprise. Third, this Article articulates how those business activities render more acute the problem of the separation of ownership and control ...


Toward A More Resilient Financial System?, Joanna Gray Mar 2013

Toward A More Resilient Financial System?, Joanna Gray

Seattle University Law Review

The concept of “resilience” in the context of financial systems calls for closer analysis, as most of the current efforts to reshape financial systems seek to render them more resilient. Resilience has become a necessary complement to the paradigm shift taking place in global financial regulation toward “macroprudential” regulation—a term used to describe a new viewing platform and decisionmaking plane for financial regulation. From this new perspective, regulators can address the state of the financial system as a whole, as well as its component parts. This Article seeks to illustrate how legal and regulatory measures that foster resilience have ...


Financial Hospitals: Defending The Fed’S Role As A Market Maker Of Last Resort, José Gabilondo Mar 2013

Financial Hospitals: Defending The Fed’S Role As A Market Maker Of Last Resort, José Gabilondo

Seattle University Law Review

During the last financial crisis, what should the Federal Reserve (the Fed) have done when lenders stopped making loans, even to borrowers with sterling credit and strong collateral? Because the central bank is the last resort for funding, the conventional answer had been to lend freely at a penalty rate against good collateral, as Walter Bagehot suggested in 1873 about the Bank of England. Acting thus as a lender of last resort, the central bank will keep solvent banks liquid but let insolvent banks go out of business, as they should. The Fed tried this, but when the conventional wisdom ...


The Long Road Back: Business Roundtable And The Future Of Sec Rulemaking, Jill E. Fisch Mar 2013

The Long Road Back: Business Roundtable And The Future Of Sec Rulemaking, Jill E. Fisch

Seattle University Law Review

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) has faced a number of challenges in the last few years. Judge Rakoff’s decision in Citigroup, the Madoff scandal, and the Business Roundtable decision are just a few of the developments that have dealt lasting damage to the SEC’s reputation. Critics have scrutinized the agency’s decisionmaking on multiple fronts—from its enforcement policy to the quality of its rulemaking—and the SEC has largely come up short in the analysis. The once-revered top cop of the securities markets has taken a hit, and it is unclear whether it can ...


The Future Of Shareholder Democracy In The Shadow Of The Financial Crisis, Alan Dignam Mar 2013

The Future Of Shareholder Democracy In The Shadow Of The Financial Crisis, Alan Dignam

Seattle University Law Review

This Article argues that the U.K. regulatory response to the financial crisis, in the form of “stewardship” and shareholder engagement, is an error built on a misunderstanding of the key active role shareholders played in the enormous corporate governance failure represented by the banking crisis. Shareholders’ passivity, rather than activity, has characterized the reform perception of the shareholder role in corporate governance. This characterization led to the conclusion that if only they were more active they would be more responsible “stewards” of the corporation. If, as this Article argues, shareholder activity was part of the problem in the banks ...


Limits Of Disclosure, Steven M. Davidoff, Claire A. Hill Mar 2013

Limits Of Disclosure, Steven M. Davidoff, Claire A. Hill

Seattle University Law Review

One big focus of attention, criticism, and proposals for reform in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has been securities disclosure. Many commentators have emphasized the complexity of the securities being sold, arguing that no one could understand the disclosure. Some observers have noted that disclosures were sometimes false or incomplete. What follows these issues, to some commentators, is that, whatever other lessons we may learn from the crisis, we need to improve disclosure. How should it be improved? Commentators often lament the frailties of human understanding, notably including those of everyday retail investors—people who do not understand ...


The Market For Corporate Control: New Insights From The Financial Crisis In Ireland, Blanaid Clarke Mar 2013

The Market For Corporate Control: New Insights From The Financial Crisis In Ireland, Blanaid Clarke

Seattle University Law Review

In an ever-changing legal and economic environment, it is incumbent on us to subject all such premises to scrutiny in order to consider their continued application. This Article considers the effect of the MCC on the management of Irish credit institutions in the run-up to the financial crisis. Part II sets the background by explaining how the MCC has become an integral part of takeover regulation in Europe. The weaknesses in the efficient market hypothesis, which underlie the MCC and are summarized in Part III, appear not to have undermined the theory’s credibility in the minds of public policy ...


Banking And Competition In Exceptional Times, Brett Christophers Mar 2013

Banking And Competition In Exceptional Times, Brett Christophers

Seattle University Law Review

This Article has two main aims: to provide a critical consideration of this contemporary antitrust “revival” from an explicitly political–economic perspective and to point toward some theoretical resources that might facilitate such an assessment.Part II looks backward at the evolution and application of competition law in the banking sector over the relatively longue durée. In this Part, I invoke the concept of “exception” to understand how antitrust policy has developed, and my chief interlocutors are the perhaps unlikely figures of Giorgio Agamben and Karl Marx. Part III looks forward and considers the central question around which the recent ...


Conceptions Of Corporate Purpose In Post-Crisis Financial Firms, Christopher M. Bruner Mar 2013

Conceptions Of Corporate Purpose In Post-Crisis Financial Firms, Christopher M. Bruner

Seattle University Law Review

American “populism” has had a major impact on the development of U.S. corporate governance throughout its history. Specifically, appeals to the perceived interests of average working people have exerted enormous social and political influence over prevailing conceptions of corporate purpose—that is, the aims toward which society expects corporate decision-making to be directed. In this Article, I assess the impact of American populism upon prevailing conceptions of corporate purpose, contrasting its unique expression in the context of financial firms with that arising in other contexts. I then examine its impact upon corporate governance reforms enacted in the wake of ...


Shareholders And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Mar 2013

Shareholders And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Seattle University Law Review

This Article addresses the questions of whether and how shareholders matter for social welfare, finding that different and contrasting answers have prevailed during different periods of recent history. Observers in the mid-twentieth century believed that the socioeconomic characteristics of real-world shareholders were highly pertinent to social welfare inquiries. But those observers went on to conclude that there followed no justification for catering to shareholder interest, for shareholders occupied elite social strata. The answer changed during the twentieth century’s closing decades, when observers came to accord the shareholder interest a key structural role in the enhancement of economic efficiency even ...


Central Bank-Led Capitalism?, Andrew Bowman Et Al. Mar 2013

Central Bank-Led Capitalism?, Andrew Bowman Et Al.

Seattle University Law Review

Since the first acute episode of financial crisis in autumn 2008, the world has manifestly changed in dramatic ways that reinforce skepticism and challenge the old assumptions of political economy. Hence this Article about central banks, whose pivotal role in post-crisis capitalism has not been adequately politically or theoretically addressed in any existing literature and can now be opened up by a conjunctural analysis that recognises uncertainty and mutability. There are several reasons why this is an intellectually and politically interesting task. Central banks have become an object of controversy and public attention after being pivotally involved in crisis management ...


Making Money: Leverage And Private Sector Money Creation, Margaret M. Blair Mar 2013

Making Money: Leverage And Private Sector Money Creation, Margaret M. Blair

Seattle University Law Review

Contrary to the beliefs of most macroeconomists, the financial sector in the United States has grown too large in the last few decades as a consequence of financial innovation that has encouraged the use of too much “leverage” (financing with debt) by financial institutions (as well as by consumers and other borrowers). In Part II, I connect the dots between excessive leverage, risk, and financial market volatility. In Part III, I explore the role that the “shadow-banking sector” has had in driving leverage. In Part IV, I explain why leverage at the level of financial institutions matters for the macroeconomy ...


The Governance And Disclosure Of The Firm As An Enterprise Entity, Yuri Biondi Mar 2013

The Governance And Disclosure Of The Firm As An Enterprise Entity, Yuri Biondi

Seattle University Law Review

During recent decades, the rapid pace of financial markets involving new modes of management, governance, and regulation has framed business firms. This corporate drift toward financialization is summarized under the “shareholder value” label. What do financial markets do? Unequivocally, they organize trading on shares that are securities: tradable financial entitlements established by law, which formalize expectations, and claims of financial rents paid by the issuing company. Actually, how continued quotation on share exchanges came to be the barometer of economic or social welfare is a different matter. The latter adoption has required quite a great leap from “the euthanasia of ...


Rationales And Designs To Implement An Institutional Big Bang In The Governance Of Global Finance, Emilios Avgouleas Mar 2013

Rationales And Designs To Implement An Institutional Big Bang In The Governance Of Global Finance, Emilios Avgouleas

Seattle University Law Review

The colossal challenges facing international finance pertain to both its governance system and its dual utility and speculative functions, which have become ever more intertwined with the advent of financial innovation. In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), a number of significant reforms are under way to address the second issue, including additional capital and liquidity requirements for banks, measures to battle interconnectedness in the financial sector, new resolution regimes that would allow banks to fail more easily, and stricter frameworks for bank supervision and monitoring of systemic risk. Yet limited progress has been made with respect to ...


Framing Address: A Framework For Analyzing Financial Market Transformation, Steven L. Schwarcz Mar 2013

Framing Address: A Framework For Analyzing Financial Market Transformation, Steven L. Schwarcz

Seattle University Law Review

The title of this Symposium originally was “Rethinking Financial and Securities Markets.” It is, of course, somewhat presumptuous for scholars to try to rethink financial markets per se. Markets, including financial markets, are driven primarily by supply and demand. But scholars can and should try to influence the future of financial markets by rethinking their fundamental aspects. This Symposium presents work from leading scholars in the fields of law, economics, finance, and accounting. I will try to frame the discussion from the perspectives of these four disciplines. First, however, we need to identify what it is about financial markets that ...


Unregulated Internal Investigations: Achieving Fairness For Corporate Constituents, Bruce A. Green, Ellen S. Podgor Jan 2013

Unregulated Internal Investigations: Achieving Fairness For Corporate Constituents, Bruce A. Green, Ellen S. Podgor

Boston College Law Review

This Article focuses on the relationship between corporations and their employee constituents in the context of corporate internal investigations, an unregulated multimillion-dollar business. The classic approach provided in the 1981 Supreme Court opinion, Upjohn v. United States, is contrasted with the reality of modern-day internal investigations that may exploit individuals to achieve a corporate benefit with the government. Attorney-client privilege becomes an issue as corporate constituents perceive that corporate counsel is representing their interests, when in fact these internal investigators are obtaining information for the corporation to barter with the government. Legal precedent and ethics rules provide little relief to ...


The Law Of Corporate Purpose, David Yosifon Jan 2013

The Law Of Corporate Purpose, David Yosifon

David G. Yosifon

Delaware corporate law requires corporate directors to manage firms for the benefit of shareholders, and not for any other constituency. Delaware jurists have been clear about this in their case law, and they are not coy about it in extra-judicial settings, such as speeches directed at law students and practicing members of the corporate bar. Nevertheless, the reader of leading corporate law scholarship is continually exposed to the scholarly assertion that the law is ambiguous or ambivalent on this point, or even that case law affirmatively empowers directors to pursue non-shareholder interests. It is shocking, and troubling, for corporate law ...