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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Reconstructing The Corporation: A Mutual-Control Model Of Corporate Governance, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2019

Reconstructing The Corporation: A Mutual-Control Model Of Corporate Governance, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

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The consensus around shareholder primacy is crumbling. Investors, long assumed to be uncomplicated profit-maximizers, are looking for ways to express a wider range of values in allocating their funds. Workers are agitating for greater voice at their workplaces. And prominent legislators have recently proposed corporate law reforms that would put a sizable number of employee representatives on the boards of directors of large public companies. These rumblings of public discontent are echoed in recent corporate law scholarship, which has cataloged the costs of shareholder control, touted the advantages of nonvoting stock, and questioned whether activist holders of various stripes are ...


Crowdfunding Capital In The Age Of Blockchain Based Tokens, Patricia H. Lee Jan 2019

Crowdfunding Capital In The Age Of Blockchain Based Tokens, Patricia H. Lee

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Less than three years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted investment crowdfunding regulations (“Reg. CF”) to facilitate small companies’ efforts to raise capital and jumpstart employment, providing companies potentially one of the most disruptive transformations in capital markets.

As the lion share of securities are offered under public offerings or Reg. D safe harbor exemptions, outcomes and impacts of Reg. CF offerings are not studied or monitored to the same extent. One line of inquiry is the scope of Reg. CF, including questions about the level of company participation, the types of businesses seeking capital formation, and the ...


Shareholder Voting And The Symbolic Politics Of Corporation As Contract, Matthew T. Bodie, Grant M. Hayden Jan 2018

Shareholder Voting And The Symbolic Politics Of Corporation As Contract, Matthew T. Bodie, Grant M. Hayden

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American corporations are structured in such a way that shareholders, and shareholders alone, have the right to vote in all significant corporate decisions. Over the years, this exclusive shareholder franchise has been supported by an ongoing procession of justifications. But as those arguments have fallen by the wayside, shareholder primacists have circled back and latched upon a final argument for the special voting status of shareholders, arguing that this fundamental feature of corporate governance is the product of the set of freely-bargained-for agreements among all corporate constituents. Because this set of agreements reflects the preferences of all parties to the ...


The Supreme Court's Theory Of The Fund, William Birdthistle Nov 2012

The Supreme Court's Theory Of The Fund, William Birdthistle

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Just as the firm has long served as the foundational molecule of the U.S. capitalist economy, theories of the firm have for more than a century dominated legal and economic discourse. Ever since Ronald Coase published The Nature of the Firm in 1937 and asked why firms should exist in an efficient market, classicists and neoclassicists have competed to develop theories — predominantly managerialist and contractual — that best explain the structure and behavior of business organizations.

The investment fund, by contrast, has languished at the margins of corporate theory, relegated as simply a minor, if somewhat curious, example of the ...


Becoming The Fifth Branch, William Birdthistle, M. Todd Henderson Oct 2012

Becoming The Fifth Branch, William Birdthistle, M. Todd Henderson

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Observers of our federal republic have long acknowledged that a fourth branch of government comprising administrative agencies has arisen to join the original three established by the Constitution. In this article, we focus our attention on the emergence of perhaps yet another, comprising financial self-regulatory organizations. In the late eighteenth century, long before the creation of state and federal securities authorities, the financial industry created its own self-regulatory organizations. These private institutions then coexisted with the public authorities for much of the past century in a complementary array of informal and formal policing mechanisms. That equilibrium, however, appears to be ...


The Bizarre Law & Economics Of 'Business Roundtable V. Sec', Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2012

The Bizarre Law & Economics Of 'Business Roundtable V. Sec', Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

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Corporations are legal entities designed to foster certain kinds of collective economic activity. The decisionmaking power within a corporation ultimately rests with a board of directors elected by shareholders. Shareholders, however, do not use anything like a conventional ballot in these elections; instead, they fill out a “proxy ballot,” delivered to them by the incumbent board. This proxy ballot lists only the incumbent board’s chosen nominees, very often the board members themselves. If a shareholder wants to run for director or propose another nominee for the board, she needs to provide all other shareholders with a separate proxy ballot ...


American Legal History Survey: Syllabus, Anders Walker Jan 2012

American Legal History Survey: Syllabus, Anders Walker

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This syllabus provides an overview of American Legal History, focusing on the manner in which law has been used to organize American society. Several themes will be traced through the semester, including law’s role in encouraging innovation and regulating social relations, in part through the elaboration of legal disciplines like property, tort, contract, criminal law, tax, business associations, administrative law, environmental law, securities regulation, commercial law, immigration, and health law. Emphasis will also be placed on the origins and evolution of constitutional law, from the founding to the present.


What's In A Name? - The Tale Of Louis Wolfson's Affirmed, Alan M. Weinberger Jan 2011

What's In A Name? - The Tale Of Louis Wolfson's Affirmed, Alan M. Weinberger

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Why would someone choose to name a thoroughbred racehorse "Affirmed" after his conviction for federal securities laws violations had been affirmed on appeal? This inquiry is the basis for exploring the enigmatic life and spectacular career of Louis E. Wolfson, owner and breeder of the last winner of horse racing's Triple Crown.

Perhaps best known as the central figure in the scandal that resulted in the forced resignation of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, Wolfson left a sizable footprint on corporate legal history. He has been described as the original corporate raider, the inventor of the market for corporate ...


Imitation Or Improvement? The Evolution Of Shareholder Derivative Litigation In The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, And Australia, Ann M. Scarlett Jan 2011

Imitation Or Improvement? The Evolution Of Shareholder Derivative Litigation In The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, And Australia, Ann M. Scarlett

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Shareholder derivative litigation is a target of constant criticism within the United States (U.S.). Many scholars advocate for its abolition and others propose strict limitations on its use. If shareholder derivative litigation were universally disfavored, one would expect countries to be abandoning such litigation through legislative enactments or judicial rulings. Instead, many countries are expanding shareholder derivative litigation.

This Article compares the shareholder derivative action as developed in the U.S. with such actions in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The U.S. has the most recognized and frequent uses of shareholder derivative actions, whereas such actions are ...


Breaking Bucks In Money Market Funds, William A. Birdthistle Jan 2010

Breaking Bucks In Money Market Funds, William A. Birdthistle

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This Article argues that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s first and most significant response to the economic crisis increases rather than decreases the likelihood of future failures in money market funds and the broader capital markets. In newly promulgated regulations addressing the "breaking of the buck" in the $3 trillion money market - a debacle at the fulcrum of the 2008 financial meltdown - the SEC endorses practices that obfuscate rather than illuminate the capital markets, including fixed pricing for money market funds, potentially riskier portfolio requirements, and the continued use of discredited ratings agencies. These policies, premised implicitly upon doubt ...


Breaking Bucks: Sec Regulation By Obfuscation, William A. Birdthistle Jan 2010

Breaking Bucks: Sec Regulation By Obfuscation, William A. Birdthistle

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This Article argues that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s first and most significant response to the economic crisis profoundly contradicts widely accepted theoretical and regulatory approaches to financial oversight. More alarmingly, the SEC’s newest rules increase rather than decrease the likelihood of future failures in money market funds and the broader capital markets.

Scholars – of both neoclassical and behavioral economic theory – have long insisted that transparency and disclosure play essential roles in ensuring efficient capital markets and sound financial regulation. Professors Gilson and Kraakman notably argued that the efficient capital market hypothesis, and its reliance on a market ...


Investment Indiscipline: A Behavioral Approach To Mutual Fund Jurisprudence, William A. Birdthistle Jan 2010

Investment Indiscipline: A Behavioral Approach To Mutual Fund Jurisprudence, William A. Birdthistle

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Next Term, in Jones v. Harris, the Supreme Court will be called upon to resolve philosophical divergences on a massive, critical, yet academically slighted subject: the dysfunctional system through which almost one hundred million Americans attempt to save more than ten trillion dollars for their retirement. When this case was in the Seventh Circuit, two of the foremost theorists of law and economics, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judge Richard Posner, disagreed vociferously on competing analyses of the investment industry. The Supreme Court’s ruling will not only resolve the intricate fiduciary and doctrinal issues of this dispute but also ...


The Case For Employee Referenda On Transformative Transactions As Shareholder Proposals, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2010

The Case For Employee Referenda On Transformative Transactions As Shareholder Proposals, Matthew T. Bodie

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This Comment describes and advocates for employee referenda as implemented through a SEC Rule 14a-8 shareholder proposal. The proposal provides for a nonbinding referendum amongst all employees whenever the corporation's shareholders must vote to approve a merger, acquisition, sale of substantially all assets, or other transformative transaction. The purpose of the referendum is to provide employees with a voice in the transaction and to provide shareholders with a mechanism for tapping into employee sentiment. Because the referendum would be nonbinding, it is best viewed as an informational tool for shareholders and employees to use in policing management's transactions ...


Shareholder Democracy And The Curious Turn Toward Board Primacy, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2010

Shareholder Democracy And The Curious Turn Toward Board Primacy, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

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Corporate law is consumed with a debate over shareholder democracy. The conventional wisdom counsels that shareholders should have more voice in corporate governance, in order to reduce agency costs and provide democratic legitimacy. A second set of theorists, described as “board primacists,” advocates against greater shareholder democracy and in favor of increased board discretion. These theorists argue that shareholders need to delegate their authority in order to provide the board with the proper authority to manage the enterprise and avoid short-term decision making.

In the last few years, the classical economic underpinnings of corporate law have been destabilized by a ...


One Hat Too Many? Investment Desegregation In Private Equity (Symposium) (With M. Henderson), William A. Birdthistle Jan 2009

One Hat Too Many? Investment Desegregation In Private Equity (Symposium) (With M. Henderson), William A. Birdthistle

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The nature of private equity investing has changed significantly as two dynamics have evolved in recent years: portfolio companies have begun to experience serious financial distress, and general partners have started to diversify and desegregate their investment strategies. Both developments have led private equity shops - once exclusively interested in acquiring equity positions through leveraged buyouts - to invest in other tranches of the investment spectrum, most particularly public debt. By investing now in both private equity and public debt of the same issuer, general partners are generating a host of new conflicts of interest between themselves and their limited partners, between ...


Arrow's Theorem And The Exclusive Shareholder Franchise, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2009

Arrow's Theorem And The Exclusive Shareholder Franchise, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

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In this essay, we contest one of the main arguments for restricting corporate board voting to shareholders. In justifying the limitation of the franchise to shareholders, scholars have repeatedly turned to social choice theory—specifically, Arrow’s theorem—to justify the exclusive shareholder franchise. Citing to the theorem, corporate law commentators have argued that lumping different groups of stakeholders together into the electorate would result in a lack of consensus and, ultimately, the lack of coherence that attends intransitive social choices, perhaps even leading the corporation to self-destruct. We contend that this argument is misguided. First, we argue that scholars ...


Corporate Environmental Reporting And Climate Change Risk: The Need For Reform Of Securities And Exchange Commission Disclosure Rules, Constance Z. Wagner Jan 2009

Corporate Environmental Reporting And Climate Change Risk: The Need For Reform Of Securities And Exchange Commission Disclosure Rules, Constance Z. Wagner

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This article argues for strengthened Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules mandating the disclosure by businesses of the impacts of climate change on their operations. The author surveys the existing SEC regulatory scheme and concludes that it is insufficient since few companies are currently disclosing climate change risks in their SEC filings. Alternative approaches to filling the environmental risk disclosure gap are examined, but found to be poor alternatives to enhanced SEC requirements, since they fail to provide a scheme for uniform and consistent disclosures across companies.


The Fortunes And Foibles Of Exchange-Traded Funds: A Positive Market Response To The Problems Of Mutual Funds, William A. Birdthistle Jan 2008

The Fortunes And Foibles Of Exchange-Traded Funds: A Positive Market Response To The Problems Of Mutual Funds, William A. Birdthistle

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One of the most dynamic and complex new investment vehicles on the market today is the exchange-traded fund (ETF), a security that provides the diversification of a mutual fund but trades on a securities exchange like a stock. In just fifteen years, the number of ETFs has proliferated to well over 600, attracting more than half a trillion dollars in investment. The majority of that expansion has occurred in just the past two years, largely as a consequence of recent difficulties in the mutual fund industry. With ETF sponsors aggressively seeking to create novel kinds of ETFs and to add ...


Workers, Information, And Corporate Combinations: The Case For Non-Binding Employee Referenda In Transformative Transactions, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2008

Workers, Information, And Corporate Combinations: The Case For Non-Binding Employee Referenda In Transformative Transactions, Matthew T. Bodie

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Employees present a curious puzzle for corporate law. The success of a corporation depends on its employees, from the chief executive officer down to the front-line production or service worker. But for the most part, corporate law relegates employees to the sidelines. Perhaps nowhere is this difference as dramatic as in the realm of mergers, acquisitions, and other transformative transactions. Such transactions are usually negotiated at the highest levels of management, approved by the board, and ultimately approved by the shareholders. In contrast, employees at most may be able to bargain about the effects of the merger through union representatives ...


The False Promise Of One Share, One Vote, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2008

The False Promise Of One Share, One Vote, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

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Shareholder democracy has blossomed. The once moribund shareholder franchise is now critical in takeover contests, merger decisions, and board oversight. However, the mechanisms of this vote remain largely under theorized. In this Article, we use voting rights and social choice theory to develop a new approach to the corporate franchise. Political democracies typically tie the right to vote to the level of a person's interest in the outcome of the election. Corporate democracies, on the other hand, tend to define the requisite institutional interest quite narrowly, and thus restrict the right to vote to shareholders alone. This restriction has ...


Mother Jones Meets Gordon Gekko: The Complicated Relationship Between Labor And Private Equity, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2008

Mother Jones Meets Gordon Gekko: The Complicated Relationship Between Labor And Private Equity, Matthew T. Bodie

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In 2007 private equity firms came under increasing scrutiny for the favorable tax treatment accorded to their fund managers' compensation. Labor, particularly the Service Workers International Union (SEIU), was instrumental in bringing this issue to the attention of the media and the public. However, SEIU's private equity campaign is just one way in which the union is pursuing its primary concern: increasing the ranks of its members. This Article examines the role that the SEIU private equity campaign plays both in the overall debate about private equity taxation as well as the union's negotiations with private equity firms ...


Compensating Power: An Analysis Of Rents And Rewards In The Mutual Fund Industry, William A. Birdthistle Feb 2006

Compensating Power: An Analysis Of Rents And Rewards In The Mutual Fund Industry, William A. Birdthistle

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The allegations of malfeasance in the investment management industry - market timing, late trading, revenue sharing, and several others - involve a broad range of mutual fund operations. This Article seeks to explain the common source of these irregularities by focusing upon a trait they share: the practice of investment advisers' capitalizing upon their managerial influence to increase assets under management in order to generate greater fees from those assets. This Article extends theories of executive compensation into the context of investment management to understand the extraction of rents by mutual fund advisers. Investment advisers, as collective groups of portfolio managers, interact ...


Aol Time Warner And The False God Of Shareholder Primacy, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2005

Aol Time Warner And The False God Of Shareholder Primacy, Matthew T. Bodie

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The blockbuster merger between AOL and Time Warner, in the twilight of the dot-com boom, is now characterized as perhaps the worst business combination ever. Shareholders lost over $200 billion in value; the deal's architects were forced out in disgrace; and the surviving executives jettisoned the AOL name as if towipe clean our collective memory. Despite the merger's seismic effects, relatively little has been written about its potential legal ramifications. In this article, I suggest that the collapse of AOL Time Warner is a cautionary tale for those who would advocate greater adherence to the norm of shareholder ...


Public Company Shareholders Acting As Owners: Three Reforms--Introducing The "Oversight Shareholder" (With E. Fogel & D. Addis), Edward C. Harris Feb 2004

Public Company Shareholders Acting As Owners: Three Reforms--Introducing The "Oversight Shareholder" (With E. Fogel & D. Addis), Edward C. Harris

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No abstract provided.


Enron, Watergate And The Regulation Of The Legal Profession, Arnold Rochvarg Oct 2003

Enron, Watergate And The Regulation Of The Legal Profession, Arnold Rochvarg

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The most famous scandal of the twentieth century was the Watergate scandal, which most notably led to the resignation of Richard Nixon as President of the United States. The significance of Watergate, however, extends further than the resignation of Nixon. Because Watergate involved so many lawyers, it had a great impact on the regulation of the legal profession. Although the twenty-first century has just started, the strongest contender for this century's most famous scandal is the Enron scandal. Although the Enron scandal is identified mostly with misconduct by accountants and corporate officials, it too involved lawyers and has impacted ...


Aligning Incentives With Equity: Employee Stock Options And Rule 10b-5, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2003

Aligning Incentives With Equity: Employee Stock Options And Rule 10b-5, Matthew T. Bodie

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When the Internet boom was in full swing and the stock markets skyrocketed to new levels, companies new and old used stock options to attract and retain employees. Implicit in those options was the promise that employees could participate in the growth of a company's value. However, as the scandals involving WorldCom, Enron, and Global Crossing demonstrate, corporate managers were not always honest with employees or public investors about the company's true value. Public investors can seek civil remedies for securities fraud through a private action under the Securities and Exchange Commission's Rule 10b-5. The Rule's ...


Revised Article 9 Meets The Bankruptcy Code: Policy And Impact, (With C. Mooney, Jr.)., Steven L. Harris Feb 2001

Revised Article 9 Meets The Bankruptcy Code: Policy And Impact, (With C. Mooney, Jr.)., Steven L. Harris

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No abstract provided.


Securities Fraud In Cyberspace: Reaching The Outer Limits Of The Federal Securities Laws, Constance Z. Wagner Jan 2001

Securities Fraud In Cyberspace: Reaching The Outer Limits Of The Federal Securities Laws, Constance Z. Wagner

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This article discusses the increasing use of the Internet for securities transactions, the growth of securitiesfraud perpetrated through that medium and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) enforcement program initiated to combat it. The author critiques the position taken by the SEC that the existing anti-fraudprovisions of the federal securities laws can be stretched to cover Internet fraud. Using an enforcement action brought by the SEC against an online stock trading guru named Tokyo Joe as an example of the confused jurisprudence that results when pre-cyberspace law is applied to securities fraud in cyberspace, the author proposes a different regulatory ...


Filing And Enforcement Under Revised Article 9, (With C. Mooney, Jr.)., Steven L. Harris Feb 1999

Filing And Enforcement Under Revised Article 9, (With C. Mooney, Jr.)., Steven L. Harris

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No abstract provided.


How Successful Was The Revision Of U.C.C. Article 9?: Reflections Of The Reporters,(With C. Mooney, Jr.)., Steven L. Harris Feb 1999

How Successful Was The Revision Of U.C.C. Article 9?: Reflections Of The Reporters,(With C. Mooney, Jr.)., Steven L. Harris

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No abstract provided.