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The New Undue Influence, David Horton, Reid K. Weisbord 2024 University of California - Davis

The New Undue Influence, David Horton, Reid K. Weisbord

Utah Law Review

The doctrine of undue influence has long been the problem child of inheritance law. Undue influence, a hazy combination of fraud and duress, supposedly invalidates bequests that a beneficiary obtained by overriding the volition of a vulnerable testator or settlor. But because relationships are complex, concepts like free will are slippery, and challenges to do native transfers are litigated after the owner dies, courts struggle to apply the rule. Making matters worse, fact finders exploit the principle’s vagueness to protect a decedent’s family at the expense of non-traditional relationships. As a result, scholars have criticized undue influence fordecades, with some …


The Need For Corporate Guardrails In U.S. Industrial Policy, Lenore Palladino 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Need For Corporate Guardrails In U.S. Industrial Policy, Lenore Palladino

Seattle University Law Review

U.S. politicians are actively “marketcrafting”: the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act collectively mark a new moment of robust industrial policy. However, these policies are necessarily layered on top of decades of shareholder primacy in corporate governance, in which corporate and financial leaders have prioritized using corporate profits to increase the wealth of shareholders. The Administration and Congress have an opportunity to use industrial policy to encourage a broader reorientation of U.S. businesses away from extractive shareholder primacy and toward innovation and productivity. This Article examines discrete opportunities within the …


Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review

Seattle University Law Review

Table of Contents


Public Primacy In Corporate Law, Dorothy S. Lund 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Public Primacy In Corporate Law, Dorothy S. Lund

Seattle University Law Review

This Article explores the malleability of agency theory by showing that it could be used to justify a “public primacy” standard for corporate law that would direct fiduciaries to promote the value of the corporation for the benefit of the public. Employing agency theory to describe the relationship between corporate management and the broader public sheds light on aspects of firm behavior, as well as the nature of state contracting with corporations. It also provides a lodestar for a possible future evolution of corporate law and governance: minimize the agency costs created by the divergence of interests between management and …


Shareholder Primacy Versus Shareholder Accountability, William W. Bratton 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Shareholder Primacy Versus Shareholder Accountability, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

When corporations inflict injuries in the course of business, shareholders wielding environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) principles can, and now sometimes do, intervene to correct the matter. In the emerging fact pattern, corporate social accountability expands out of its historic collectivized frame to become an internal subject matter—a corporate governance topic. As a result, shareholder accountability surfaces as a policy question for the first time. The Big Three index fund managers, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, responded to the accountability question with ESG activism. In so doing, they defected against corporate legal theory’s central tenet, shareholder primacy. Shareholder primacy builds …


Stakeholder Governance As Governance By Stakeholders, Brett McDonnell 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Stakeholder Governance As Governance By Stakeholders, Brett Mcdonnell

Seattle University Law Review

Much debate within corporate governance today centers on the proper role of corporate stakeholders, such as employees, customers, creditors, suppliers, and local communities. Scholars and reformers advocate for greater attention to stakeholder interests under a variety of banners, including ESG, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and stakeholder governance. So far, that advocacy focuses almost entirely on arguing for an expanded understanding of corporate purpose. It argues that corporate governance should be for various stakeholders, not shareholders alone.

This Article examines and approves of that broadened understanding of corporate purpose. However, it argues that we should understand stakeholder governance as extending well …


Corporate Law In The Global South: Heterodox Stakeholderism, Mariana Pargendler 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Corporate Law In The Global South: Heterodox Stakeholderism, Mariana Pargendler

Seattle University Law Review

How do the corporate laws of Global South jurisdictions differ from their Global North counterparts? Prevailing stereotypes depict the corporate laws of developing countries as either antiquated or plagued by problems of enforcement and misfit despite formal convergence. This Article offers a different view by showing how Global South jurisdictions have pioneered heterodox stakeholder approaches in corporate law, such as the erosion of limited liability for purposes of stakeholder protection in Brazil and India, the adoption of mandatory corporate social responsibility in Indonesia and India, and the large-scale program of Black corporate ownership and empowerment in South Africa, among many …


A Different Approach To Agency Theory And Implications For Esg, Jonathan Bonham, Amoray Riggs-Cragun 2024 Seattle University School of Law

A Different Approach To Agency Theory And Implications For Esg, Jonathan Bonham, Amoray Riggs-Cragun

Seattle University Law Review

In conventional agency theory, the agent is modeled as exerting unobservable “effort” that influences the distribution over outcomes the principal cares about. Recent papers instead allow the agent to choose the entire distribution, an assumption that better describes the extensive and flexible control that CEOs have over firm outcomes. Under this assumption, the optimal contract rewards the agent directly for outcomes the principal cares about, rather than for what those outcomes reveal about the agent’s effort. This article briefly summarizes this new agency model and discusses its implications for contracting on ESG activities.


The Limits Of Corporate Governance, Cathy Hwang, Emily Winston 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Limits Of Corporate Governance, Cathy Hwang, Emily Winston

Seattle University Law Review

What is the purpose of the corporation? For decades, the answer was clear: to put shareholders’ interests first. In many cases, this theory of shareholder primacy also became synonymous with the imperative to maximize shareholder wealth. In the world where shareholder primacy was a north star, courts, scholars, and policymakers had relatively little to fight about: most debates were minor skirmishes about exactly how to maximize shareholder wealth.

Part I of this Essay discusses the shortcomings of shareholder primacy and stakeholder governance, arguing that neither of these modes of governance provides an adequate framework for incentivizing corporations to do good. …


Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review

Seattle University Law Review

Table of Contents


A History Of Corporate Law Federalism In The Twentieth Century, William W. Bratton 2024 Seattle University School of Law

A History Of Corporate Law Federalism In The Twentieth Century, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

This Article describes the emergence of corporate law federalism across a long twentieth century. The period begins with New Jersey’s successful initiation of charter competition in 1888 and ends with the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. The federalism in question describes the interrelation of state and federal regulation of corporate internal affairs. This Article takes a positive approach, pursuing no normative bottom line. It makes six observations: (1) the federalism describes a division of subject matter, with internal affairs regulated by the states and securities issuance and trading regulated by the federal government; (2) the federalism is an …


How To Interpret The Securities Laws?, Zachary J. Gubler 2024 Seattle University School of Law

How To Interpret The Securities Laws?, Zachary J. Gubler

Seattle University Law Review

In discussions of the federal securities laws, the SEC usually gets most of the attention. This makes some sense. After all, it is the agency charged with administrating the securities laws and regulating the industry as a whole. It makes the majority of the laws; it engages in enforcement actions; it reacts to crises; and it, or sometimes even its individual commissioners, intervene publicly in policy debates. Often overlooked in such discussion, however, is the role of the Supreme Court in shaping securities law, and a new book by Adam Pritchard and Robert Thompson demonstrates why this is an oversight. …


The Pioneers, Waves, And Random Walks Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Elizabeth Pollman 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Pioneers, Waves, And Random Walks Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Elizabeth Pollman

Seattle University Law Review

After the pioneers, waves, and random walks that have animated the history of securities laws in the U.S. Supreme Court, we might now be on the precipice of a new chapter. Pritchard and Thompson’s superb book, A History of Securities Law in the Supreme Court, illuminates with rich archival detail how the Court’s view of the securities laws and the SEC have changed over time and how individuals have influenced this history. The book provides an invaluable resource for understanding nearly a century’s worth of Supreme Court jurisprudence in the area of securities law and much needed context for …


Overseeing The Administrative State, Jill E. Fisch 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Overseeing The Administrative State, Jill E. Fisch

Seattle University Law Review

In a series of recent cases, the Supreme Court has reduced the regulatory power of the Administrative State. Pending cases offer vehicles for the Court to go still further. Although the Court’s skepticism of administrative agencies may be rooted in Constitutional principles or political expediency, this Article explores another possible explanation—a shift in the nature of agencies and their regulatory role. As Pritchard and Thompson detail in their important book, A History of Securities Law in the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court was initially skeptical of agency power, jeopardizing Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)’s ambitious New Deal plan. The Court’s acceptance …


The Sec, The Supreme Court, And The Administrative State, Paul G. Mahoney 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Sec, The Supreme Court, And The Administrative State, Paul G. Mahoney

Seattle University Law Review

Pritchard and Thompson have given those of us who study the SEC and the securities laws much food for thought. Their methodological focus is on the internal dynamics of the Court’s deliberations, on which they have done detailed and valuable work. The Court did not, however, operate in a vacuum. Intellectual trends in economics and law over the past century can also help us understand the SEC’s fortunes in the federal courts and make predictions about its future.


Three Stories: A Comment On Pritchard & Thompson’S A History Of Securities Laws In The Supreme Court, Harwell Wells 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Three Stories: A Comment On Pritchard & Thompson’S A History Of Securities Laws In The Supreme Court, Harwell Wells

Seattle University Law Review

Adam Pritchard and Robert Thompson’s A History of Securities Laws in the Supreme Court should stand for decades as the definitive work on the Federal securities laws’ career in the Supreme Court across the twentieth century.1 Like all good histories, it both tells a story and makes an argument. The story recounts how the Court dealt with the major securities laws, as well the agency charged with enforcing them, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the rules it promulgated, from the 1930s into the twenty-first century. But the book does not just string together a series of events, “one …


On The Value Of History: A Review Of A.C. Pritchard & Robert B. Thompson’S A History Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Joel Seligman 2024 Seattle University School of Law

On The Value Of History: A Review Of A.C. Pritchard & Robert B. Thompson’S A History Of Securities Law In The Supreme Court, Joel Seligman

Seattle University Law Review

A.C. Pritchard and Bob Thompson have written a splendid history of securities law decisions in the Supreme Court. Their book is exemplary because of its detailed use of the long unpublished papers of Supreme Court justices, including those of Harry Blackmun, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter and Lewis F. Powell, primary sources which included correspondence with other Justices and law clerks as well as interviews with law clerks. The use of these primary sources recounted throughout the text and 67 pages of End Notes deepens our understanding of the intentions of the Justices and sharpens our understanding of the conflicts …


Securities Regulation And Administrative Deference In The Roberts Court, Eric C. Chaffee 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Securities Regulation And Administrative Deference In The Roberts Court, Eric C. Chaffee

Seattle University Law Review

In A History of Securities Law in the Supreme Court, A.C. Pritchard and Robert B. Thompson write, “Securities law offers an illuminating window into the Supreme Court’s administrative law jurisprudence over the last century. The securities cases provide one of the most accessible illustrations of key transitions of American law.” A main reason for this is that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a bellwether among administrative agencies, and as a result, A History of Securities Law in the Supreme Court is a history of administrative law in the Supreme Court of the United States as well.


The Esg Information System, Stavros Gadinis, Amelia Miazad 2024 Seattle University School of Law

The Esg Information System, Stavros Gadinis, Amelia Miazad

Seattle University Law Review

The mounting focus on ESG has forced internal corporate decision-making into the spotlight. Investors are eager to support companies in innovative “green” technologies and scrutinize companies’ transition plans. Activists are targeting boards whose decisions appear too timid or insufficiently explained. Consumers and employees are incorporating companies sustainability credentials in their purchasing and employment decisions. These actors are asking companies for better information, higher quality reports, and granular data. In response, companies are producing lengthy sustainability reports, adopting ambitious purpose statements, and touting their sustainability credentials. Understandably, concerns about greenwashing and accountability abound, and policymakers are preparing for action.

In this …


Stakeholder Governance On The Ground (And In The Sky), Stephen Johnson, Frank Partnoy 2024 Seattle University School of Law

Stakeholder Governance On The Ground (And In The Sky), Stephen Johnson, Frank Partnoy

Seattle University Law Review

Professor Frank Partnoy: This is a marvelous gathering, and it is all due to Chuck O’Kelley and the special gentleness, openness, and creativity that he brings to this symposium. For more than a decade, he has been open to new and creative ways to discuss important issues surrounding business law and Adolf Berle’s legacy. We also are grateful to Dorothy Lund for co-organizing this gathering.

In introducing Stephen Johnson, I am reminded of a previous Berle, where Chuck allowed me some time to present the initial thoughts that led to my book, WAIT: The Art and Science of Delay. Part …


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