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Washington and Lee University School of Law

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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Social Activism Through Shareholder Activism, Lisa M. Fairfax Nov 2019

Social Activism Through Shareholder Activism, Lisa M. Fairfax

Washington and Lee Law Review

This article is based on the author's keynote address at the 2018-2019 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium: Civil Rights and Shareholder Activism at Washington and Lee University School of Law, February 15, 2019.

In 1952, the SEC altered the shareholder proposal rule to exclude proposals made “primarily for the purpose of promoting general economic, political, racial, religious, social or similar causes.” The SEC did not reference civil rights activist James Peck or otherwise acknowledge that its actions were prompted by Peck’s 1951 shareholder proposal to Greyhound for desegregating seating. Instead, the SEC indicated that its change simply reflected ...


From Public Policy To Materiality: Non-Financial Reporting, Shareholder Engagement, And Rule 14a-8’S Ordinary Business Exception, Virginia Harper Ho Nov 2019

From Public Policy To Materiality: Non-Financial Reporting, Shareholder Engagement, And Rule 14a-8’S Ordinary Business Exception, Virginia Harper Ho

Washington and Lee Law Review

This article builds upon the author's remarks at the 2018-2019 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium: Civil Rights and Shareholder Activism at Washington and Lee University School of Law, February 15, 2019.

In 2017, shareholder proposals urging corporate boards to report on their climate-related risk made headlines when they earned majority support from investors at ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, and PPL. The key to this historic vote was the support of Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard, which broke with management and cast their votes behind the proposals. The 2018 proxy season saw several more climate-related proposals earn majority support, and in ...


Chancery’S Greatest Decision: Historical Insights On Civil Rights And The Future Of Shareholder Activism, Omari Scott Simmons Nov 2019

Chancery’S Greatest Decision: Historical Insights On Civil Rights And The Future Of Shareholder Activism, Omari Scott Simmons

Washington and Lee Law Review

This article builds upon the author's remarks at the 2018-2019 Lara D. Gass Annual Symposium: Civil Rights and Shareholder Activism at Washington and Lee University School of Law, February 15, 2019.

Shareholder activism—using an equity stake in a corporation to influence management—has become a popular tool to effectuate social change in the twenty-first century. Increasingly, activists are looking beyond financial performance to demand better corporate performance in such areas as economic inequality, civil rights, human rights, discrimination, and diversity. These efforts take many forms: publicity campaigns, litigation, proxy battles, shareholder resolutions, and negotiations with corporate management. However ...


How Did We Get Here? Dissecting The Hedge Fund Conundrum Through An Institutional Theory Lens, Cary Martin Shelby Jul 2019

How Did We Get Here? Dissecting The Hedge Fund Conundrum Through An Institutional Theory Lens, Cary Martin Shelby

Scholarly Articles

This article dissects both the origins and resulting harms of what the author terms the "hedge fund conundrum," in which institutional investors, such as pension plans and endowments, have consistently increased hedge fund allocations over the past decade despite pervasive evidence of excessive fees and subpar returns. It then utilizes an historical institutionalist lens to examine how lawmakers may have enabled a conundrum of this magnitude. By and large, this phenomenon is a symptom of regulatory loopholes that have permitted the private hedge fund market to increase in "publicness" through its expanding access and subsequent harm to retail investors. Such ...


A Legal Frankenstein’S Monster: The Complete Bar Order In Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuits, Jonathan C. Stanley Apr 2018

A Legal Frankenstein’S Monster: The Complete Bar Order In Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuits, Jonathan C. Stanley

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Cash For Your Conscience: Do Whistleblower Incentives Improve Enforcement Of The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?, Amy Deen Westbrook Apr 2018

Cash For Your Conscience: Do Whistleblower Incentives Improve Enforcement Of The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?, Amy Deen Westbrook

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Gatekeepers Of Crowdfunding, Andrew A. Schwartz Apr 2018

The Gatekeepers Of Crowdfunding, Andrew A. Schwartz

Washington and Lee Law Review

Securities crowdfunding is premised on two core policy goals: inclusivity and efficiency. First, crowdfunding is conceived as an inclusive system where all entrepreneurs are given a chance to pitch their idea to the “crowd.” Second, crowdfunding is supposed to be an efficient way to channel funds from public investors to promising startup companies. There is a fundamental tension between these two policy goals, however. A totally inclusive system would ensure that platforms list any and every company that wants to participate. But platforms need to curate and select the companies they list in order to establish a reputation as a ...


The Leidos Mixup And The Misunderstood Duty To Disclose In Securities Law, Matthew C. Turk, Karen E. Woody Apr 2018

The Leidos Mixup And The Misunderstood Duty To Disclose In Securities Law, Matthew C. Turk, Karen E. Woody

Washington and Lee Law Review

This Article concerns the recent Supreme Court case, Leidos,Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System (Leidos), and examines the broader issues that it raised for securities law. The consensus among scholars and practitioners is that Leidos presented a direct conflict among the circuit courts over a core question of securities law—when a failure to comply with the SEC’s disclosure requirements can constitute fraud under Rule 10b-5. This Article provides a much different interpretation of the case. It begins by demonstrating that the circuit split which is presumed to have brought Leidos to the Supreme Court does not in ...


The Risk Of Regulatory Arbitrage: A Response To Securities Regulation In Virtual Space, Wendy Gerwick Couture Jan 2018

The Risk Of Regulatory Arbitrage: A Response To Securities Regulation In Virtual Space, Wendy Gerwick Couture

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

In Securities Regulation in Virtual Space, Eric. C. Chaffee explores the potential applicability of the securities laws to virtual transactions based on virtual activity and argues that, although many of these transactions likely qualify as “investment contracts” under S.E.C. v. W.J. Howey Co., they should be excluded under the context clause because, among other reasons, application of the securities laws would stifle creativity within this innovative space. This Response proposes a reframing of the Howey test as a response to the risk of regulatory arbitrage, argues that the context clause should only exclude transactions that do not ...


Canons Of Construction For Dysfunctional Statutes: A Comment On Bennett, Paul G. Mahoney Jan 2018

Canons Of Construction For Dysfunctional Statutes: A Comment On Bennett, Paul G. Mahoney

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Whistling Loud And Clear: Applying Chevron To Subsection 21f Of Dodd–Frank, Shaun M. Bennett Jan 2018

Whistling Loud And Clear: Applying Chevron To Subsection 21f Of Dodd–Frank, Shaun M. Bennett

Washington and Lee Law Review

This Note addresses a circuit court split arising from a portion of the anti-retaliation provisions in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Subsection 21F’s retaliation prohibitions apply to those employers whose employees make required or protected disclosures under the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) or any other rule or regulation under the SEC’s jurisdiction. SOX provides anti -retaliation protections — similar to those available under Dodd–Frank — for employees of publicly traded companies who report misconduct. However, SOX expressly affords protections to those who provide information to “a Federal regulatory or law enforcement agency ...


Comment On Whistling Loud And Clear: Applying Chevron To Subsection 21f Of Dodd–Frank, Sarah C. Haan Jan 2018

Comment On Whistling Loud And Clear: Applying Chevron To Subsection 21f Of Dodd–Frank, Sarah C. Haan

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Securities Regulation In Virtual Space, Eric C. Chaffee Jun 2017

Securities Regulation In Virtual Space, Eric C. Chaffee

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Getting Specific About The Policy And Tools Of Securities Regulation: A Limited Response To Diversifying To Mitigate Risk: Can Dodd–Frank Section 342 Help Stabilize The Financial Sector?, Joan Macleod Heminway May 2017

Getting Specific About The Policy And Tools Of Securities Regulation: A Limited Response To Diversifying To Mitigate Risk: Can Dodd–Frank Section 342 Help Stabilize The Financial Sector?, Joan Macleod Heminway

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

No abstract provided.


Justice Stevens And Securities Law, Lyman P.Q. Johnson, Jason A. Cantone Jan 2016

Justice Stevens And Securities Law, Lyman P.Q. Johnson, Jason A. Cantone

Scholarly Articles

In this Article, we tell the overlooked story of Justice Stevens's important role in Supreme Court securities law decisions. In Part I, where we briefly highlight Stevens's career before his 1975 appointment to the Supreme Court, we observe that we can identify no evident interest in or connection to federal securities law or the securities industry, making his contributions all the more remarkable. The only foreshadowing of his prolific opinion-writing on the subject of securities law was his voluminous writing of opinions, in general, while serving on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This commitment to authoring opinions ...


Is Transparency The Answer? Reconciling The Fiduciary Duties Of Public Pension Plans And Private Funds, In 2016 Private Fund Report: Public Pension Plans And Private Funds - Common Goals, Conlicting Interests (2016), Cary Martin Shelby Jan 2016

Is Transparency The Answer? Reconciling The Fiduciary Duties Of Public Pension Plans And Private Funds, In 2016 Private Fund Report: Public Pension Plans And Private Funds - Common Goals, Conlicting Interests (2016), Cary Martin Shelby

Books and Chapters

Public pension plans manage over $3 trillion in assets on behalf of millions of state and local government workers across the country. The trustees of such plans (“Trustees”) invest the bulk of these assets into a variety of equities and bonds, with the hopes of earning sufficient returns to finance the retirement of these countless public sector workers. In recent years however, Trustees have grown more creative in selecting their underlying investment allocations. Alternative investments, such as hedge funds and private equity funds for example provide unique opportunities for Trustees to maximize returns, protect against declining markets, and to diversify ...


Adding A Due Diligence Defense To § 13(B) And Rule 13b 2 – 2 Of The Securities Exchange Act Of 1934, Michael Evans Mar 2015

Adding A Due Diligence Defense To § 13(B) And Rule 13b 2 – 2 Of The Securities Exchange Act Of 1934, Michael Evans

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Brief Of Professors At Law And Business Schools As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents: Omnicare, Inc., Et Al. V. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, Et Al., Celia Taylor, Lyman P.Q. Johnson, J. Robert Brown, Joan Macleod Heminway Sep 2014

Brief Of Professors At Law And Business Schools As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents: Omnicare, Inc., Et Al. V. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, Et Al., Celia Taylor, Lyman P.Q. Johnson, J. Robert Brown, Joan Macleod Heminway

Scholarly Articles

None available.


Mad Money: Rethinking Private Placements, Abraham J.B. Cable Sep 2014

Mad Money: Rethinking Private Placements, Abraham J.B. Cable

Washington and Lee Law Review

Currently, regulations try to limit unregistered sales of stock (private placements) to the “smart money,” either by informing investors through disclosure or excluding unsophisticated investors from the market. In theory, these smart-money approaches promote the dual goals of capital formation and investor protection. But in practice, regulators have struggled to craft effective disclosure or screening mechanisms. In light of these failures, this Article advocates for a new approach—investment caps that allow every investor a limited amount of “mad money” to invest in risky private placements. This mad-money approach can protect investors by encouraging basic diversification and liquidity, while advancing ...


Docket Dividends: Growth In Shareholder Litigation Leads To Refinements In Chancery Procedures, Donald F. Parsons Jr., Jason S. Tyler Jan 2013

Docket Dividends: Growth In Shareholder Litigation Leads To Refinements In Chancery Procedures, Donald F. Parsons Jr., Jason S. Tyler

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Why Register Hedge Fund Advisers—A Comment, Lyman P.Q. Johnson Jan 2013

Why Register Hedge Fund Advisers—A Comment, Lyman P.Q. Johnson

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Is Hedge Fund Adviser Registration Necessary To Accomplish The Goals Of The Dodd–Frank Act’S Title Iv?, Luther R. Ashworth Ii Jan 2013

Is Hedge Fund Adviser Registration Necessary To Accomplish The Goals Of The Dodd–Frank Act’S Title Iv?, Luther R. Ashworth Ii

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Review: Is Hedge Fund Registration Necessary? , J. W. Verret Jan 2013

Review: Is Hedge Fund Registration Necessary? , J. W. Verret

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Contingent Capital In Executive Compensation, Wulf A. Kaal Sep 2012

Contingent Capital In Executive Compensation, Wulf A. Kaal

Washington and Lee Law Review

Contingent capital has great potential to improve corporate governance in Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs). Early initiatives by European SIFIs to include contingent convertible bonds in executive compensation packages lack governance-improving designs. This Article suggests the use of contingent convertible bonds with an early conversion trigger in executive compensation. The proposal adds an important element to the literature on inside debt and the creditor-centered approach to executive compensation. Contingent convertible bonds with early triggers could be preferable to other debt instruments because, in addition to lowering income inequality and increasing sustainability, the early trigger design can improve incentives for executives ...


Do End-Users Get The Best Of Both Worlds?—Title Vii Of Dodd–Frank And The End-User Exception, Carney Simpson Jun 2012

Do End-Users Get The Best Of Both Worlds?—Title Vii Of Dodd–Frank And The End-User Exception, Carney Simpson

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Gender And Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Lyman P.Q. Johnson, Michelle Harner, Jason A. Cantone Jan 2012

Gender And Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Lyman P.Q. Johnson, Michelle Harner, Jason A. Cantone

Scholarly Articles

The 2010 appointment of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court meant that, for the first time, three female justices would serve together on that court. Less clear is whether Justice Kagan’s gender will really matter in how she votes as a justice. This question is an especially visible aspect of a larger issue: do female judges display gendered voting patterns in the cases that come before them?

This article makes a novel contribution to the growing literature on female voting patterns. We investigated whether female justices on the United States Supreme Court voted differently than, or otherwise ...


"Patient Capital": Can Delaware Corporate Law Help Revive It?, Jack B. Jacobs Sep 2011

"Patient Capital": Can Delaware Corporate Law Help Revive It?, Jack B. Jacobs

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Citizens United And Forced Speech: Why Protecting The Dissenting Shareholder Necessitates Disclosure Of Corporate Political Expenditures After Citizens United V. Fec, Sabina Bunt Thaler Apr 2011

Citizens United And Forced Speech: Why Protecting The Dissenting Shareholder Necessitates Disclosure Of Corporate Political Expenditures After Citizens United V. Fec, Sabina Bunt Thaler

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

No abstract provided.


Corporate Governance Reform In A Time Of Crisis, Christopher M. Bruner Jan 2011

Corporate Governance Reform In A Time Of Crisis, Christopher M. Bruner

Scholarly Articles

In this article I argue that crisis-driven corporate governance reform efforts in the United States and the United Kingdom that aim to empower shareholders are misguided, and offer an explanation of why policymakers in each country have reacted to the financial crisis as they have. I first discuss the risk incentives of shareholders and managers in financial firms, and examine how excessive leverage and risk-taking in pursuit of short-term returns for shareholders led to the crisis. I then describe the far greater power and centrality that U.K. shareholders have historically possessed relative to their U.S. counterparts, and explore ...


The Legitimate Rights Of Public Shareholders, Lawrence E. Mitchell Sep 2009

The Legitimate Rights Of Public Shareholders, Lawrence E. Mitchell

Washington and Lee Law Review

In recent years there has been significant ongoing academic debate over the expansion ofpublic shareholders 'participation rights in corporate governance. The debate has accompanied a dramatic increase in institutional shareholder and hedge fund activism attempting to influence the conduct ofcorporate affairs. The legitimacy ofshareholderp articipationr ights depends upon the actual role public shareholders play in contributing to the corporation's function of providing goods and services and, ultimately, to economic growth and social welfare. Few in the debate have stopped to examine this question. This Article presents original empirical evidence that demonstrates that public shareholders do not, on net, contributec ...