Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 621

Full-Text Articles in Law

Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2022

Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Repurposing the corporation is the hot issue in corporate governance. Commentators, investors and increasingly issuers, maintain that corporations should shift their focus from maximizing profits for shareholders to generating value for a more expansive group of stakeholders. Corporations are also being called upon to address societal concerns – from climate change and voting rights to racial justice and wealth inequality.

The shareholder proposal rule, Rule 14a–8, offers one potential tool for repurposing the corporation. This Article describes the introduction of innovative proposals seeking to formalize corporate commitments to stakeholder governance. These “purpose proposals” reflect a new dynamic in the debate ...


Antitrust Interoperability Remedies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Feb 2022

Antitrust Interoperability Remedies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Compelled interoperability can be a useful remedy for dominant firms, including large digital platforms, who violate the antitrust laws. They can address competition concerns without interfering unnecessarily with the structures that make digital platforms attractive and that have contributed so much to economic growth.

Given the wide variety of structures and business models for big tech, “interoperability” must be defined broadly. It can realistically include everything from “dynamic” interoperability that requires real time sharing of data and operations, to “static” interoperability which requires portability but not necessarily real time interactions. Also included are the compelled sharing of intellectual property or ...


Selling Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Feb 2022

Selling Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust enforcers and its other defenders have never done a good job of selling their field to the public. That is not entirely their fault. Antitrust is inherently technical, and a less engaging discipline to most people than, say, civil rights or criminal law. The more serious problem is that when the general press does talk about antitrust policy it naturally gravitates toward the fringes, both the far right and the far left. Extreme rhetoric makes for better press than the day-to-day operations of a technical enterprise. The extremes are often stated in overdramatized black-and-white terms that avoid the real ...


Duty And Diversity, Chris Brummer, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2022

Duty And Diversity, Chris Brummer, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the wake of the brutal deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a slew of reforms from Wall Street to the West Coast have been introduced, all aimed at increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI”) in corporations. Yet the reforms face difficulties ranging from possible constitutional challenges to critical limitations in their scale, scope and degree of legal obligation and practical effects. In this Article, we provide an old answer to the new questions facing DEI policy, and offer the first close examination of how corporate law duties impel and facilitate corporate attention to diversity. Specifically, we show that ...


Spactivism, Sharon Hannes, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Dec 2021

Spactivism, Sharon Hannes, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay, we propose a modified version of the SPAC designed to allow the public to participate in the world of corporate activism. Unlike existing SPACs, our version is designed for investments in public companies in order to change their course of action, not in private companies in order to make them go public, and overcomes many of the problems that pertain conventional SPACs. At present, direct investment in activism is reserved to affluent individuals and other professional investors of activist hedge funds. The public at large is barred from directly entering the activist arena. The current model comes ...


Leases As Forms, David A. Hoffman, Anton Strezhnev Dec 2021

Leases As Forms, David A. Hoffman, Anton Strezhnev

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We offer the first large scale descriptive study of residential leases, based on a dataset of ~170,000 residential leases filed in support of over ~200,000 Philadelphia eviction proceedings from 2005 through 2019. These leases are highly likely to contain unenforceable terms, and their pro-landlord tilt has increased sharply over time. Matching leases with individual tenant characteristics, we show that unlawful terms are surprisingly likely to be associated with more expensive leaseholds in richer, whiter parts of the city. This result is linked to landlords' growing adoption of shared forms, originally created by non-profit landlord associations, and more recently ...


Antitrust Liability For False Advertising: A Response To Carrier & Tushnet, Susannah Gagnon, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2021

Antitrust Liability For False Advertising: A Response To Carrier & Tushnet, Susannah Gagnon, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This reply briefly considers when false advertising can give rise to antitrust liability. The biggest difference between tort and antitrust liability is that the latter requires harm to the market, which is critically dependent on actual consumer response. As a result, the biggest hurdle a private plaintiff faces in turning an act of false advertising into an antitrust offense is proof of causation – to what extent can a decline in purchase volume or other market rejection be specifically attributed to the defendant’s false claims? That requirement dooms the great majority of false advertising claims attacked as violations of the ...


Do Esg Mutual Funds Deliver On Their Promises?, Quinn Curtis, Jill E. Fisch, Adriana Z. Robertson Dec 2021

Do Esg Mutual Funds Deliver On Their Promises?, Quinn Curtis, Jill E. Fisch, Adriana Z. Robertson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporations have received growing criticism for their role in climate change, perpetuating racial and gender inequality, and other pressing social issues. In response to these concerns, shareholders are increasingly focusing on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in selecting investments, and asset managers are responding by offering a growing number of ESG mutual funds. The flow of assets into ESG is one of the most dramatic trends in asset management.

But are these funds giving investors what they promise? This question has attracted the attention of regulators, with the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC ...


Regulating New Tech: Problems, Pathways, And People, Cary Coglianese Dec 2021

Regulating New Tech: Problems, Pathways, And People, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

New technologies bring with them many promises, but also a series of new problems. Even though these problems are new, they are not unlike the types of problems that regulators have long addressed in other contexts. The lessons from regulation in the past can thus guide regulatory efforts today. Regulators must focus on understanding the problems they seek to address and the causal pathways that lead to these problems. Then they must undertake efforts to shape the behavior of those in industry so that private sector managers focus on their technologies’ problems and take actions to interrupt the causal pathways ...


Addressing The Divisions In Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2021

Addressing The Divisions In Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is the text of an interview conducted in writing by Professor A. Douglas Melamed, Stanford Law School.


Pandemic Hope For Chapter 11 Financing, David A. Skeel Jr. Nov 2021

Pandemic Hope For Chapter 11 Financing, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One of the biggest surprises of the recent pandemic from a bankruptcy perspective has been the ready availability of financing. A variety of factors—such as an estimated $2.5 trillion in available funding at the outset of the crisis and the buoyant stock market—may have contributed. In this Essay, I focus on a less widely appreciated factor, a striking shift in the capital structure of many corporate debtors. Rather than borrowing from one group of lenders, debtors now often borrow from multiple groups of diverse lenders. Although the new capital structure complexity has downsides, it also could counteract ...


The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman Nov 2021

The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One of the most notable trends of the Roberts Court is expanding corporate rights and narrowing liability or access to justice against corporate defendants. This Comment examines recent Supreme Court cases to highlight this “pro-business” pattern as well as its contradictory relationship with counter trends in corporate law and governance. From Citizens United to Americans for Prosperity, the Roberts Court’s jurisprudence could ironically lead to a situation in which it has protected corporate political spending based on a view of the corporation as an “association of citizens,” but allows constitutional scrutiny to block actual participants from getting information about ...


Third Party Moral Hazard And The Problem Of Insurance Externalities, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Nov 2021

Third Party Moral Hazard And The Problem Of Insurance Externalities, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Insurance can lead to loss or claim-creation not just by insureds themselves, but also by uninsured third parties. These externalities—which we term “third party moral hazard”—arise because insurance creates opportunities both to extract rents and to recover for otherwise unrecoverable losses. Using examples from health, automobile, kidnap, and liability insurance, we demonstrate that the phenomenon is widespread and important, and that the downsides of insurance are greater than previously believed. We explain the economic, social and psychological reasons for this phenomenon, and propose policy responses. Contract-based methods that are traditionally used to control first-party moral hazard can be ...


Optimizing The World’S Leading Corporate Law: A 20-Year Retrospective And Look Ahead, Lawrence Hamermesh, Jack B. Jacobs, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2021

Optimizing The World’S Leading Corporate Law: A 20-Year Retrospective And Look Ahead, Lawrence Hamermesh, Jack B. Jacobs, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In a 2001 article (Function Over Form: A Reassessment of Standards of Review in Delaware Corporation Law) two of us, with important input from the other, argued that in addressing issues like hostile takeovers, assertive institutional investors, leveraged buyouts, and contested ballot questions, the Delaware courts had done exemplary work but on occasion crafted standards of review that unduly encouraged litigation and did not appropriately credit intra-corporate procedures designed to ensure fairness. Function Over Form suggested ways to make those standards more predictable, encourage procedures that better protected stockholders, and discourage meritless litigation, by restoring business judgment rule protection for ...


Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch Oct 2021

Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When Roberta Karmel wrote the articles that are the subject of this symposium, she was skeptical of both the potential value of shareholder voting and the emerging involvement of institutional investors in corporate governance. In the ensuing years, both the increased role and engagement of institutional investors and the heightened importance of shareholder voting offer new reasons to take Professor Karmel’s concerns seriously. Institutional investors have taken on a broader range of issues ranging from diversity and political spending to climate change and human capital management, and their ability to influence corporate policy on these issues has become more ...


Nowhere To Run To, Nowhere To Hide, Praveen Kosuri, Lynnise Pantin Oct 2021

Nowhere To Run To, Nowhere To Hide, Praveen Kosuri, Lynnise Pantin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As the COVID-19 global pandemic ravaged the United States, exacerbating the country’s existing racial disparities, Black and brown small business owners navigated unprecedented obstacles to stay afloat. Adding even more hardship and challenges, the United States also engaged in a nationwide racial reckoning in the wake of the murder of George Floyd resulting in wide-scale protests in the same neighborhoods that initially saw a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and harming many of the same Black and brown business owners. These business owners had to operate in an environment in which they experienced recurring trauma, mental anguish and uncertainty, along ...


Herbert Hovenkamp As Antitrust Oracle: Appreciating The Overlooked Contributions Of The New Harvard School, Christopher S. Yoo Jul 2021

Herbert Hovenkamp As Antitrust Oracle: Appreciating The Overlooked Contributions Of The New Harvard School, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

My colleague, Herbert Hovenkamp, is almost universally recognized as the most cited and the most authoritative US antitrust scholar. Among his many honors, his status as the senior author of the authoritative Areeda and Hovenkamp treatise makes him the unquestioned leader of the New Harvard School, which has long served as the bellwether for how courts are likely to resolve emerging issues in modern antitrust doctrine. Unfortunately, its defining tenets and its positions on emerging issues remain surprisingly obscure. My contribution to this festschrift explores the core commitments that distinguish the New Harvard School from other approaches to antitrust. It ...


President Biden's Executive Order On Promoting Competition: An Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2021

President Biden's Executive Order On Promoting Competition: An Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In July, 2021, President Biden signed a far ranging Executive Order directed to promoting competition in the American economy. This paper analyzes issues covered by the Order that are most likely to affect the scope and enforcement of antitrust law. The only passage that the Executive Order quoted from a Supreme Court antitrust decision captures its antitrust ideology well – that the Sherman Act:

rests on the premise that the unrestrained interaction of competitive forces will yield the best allocation of our economic resources, the lowest prices, the highest quality and the greatest material progress, while at the same time providing ...


Taking Stock Of Chapter 11, David A. Skeel Jr. May 2021

Taking Stock Of Chapter 11, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay, written for a symposium honoring Sam Gerdano, I offer an assessment of current Chapter 11 theory and practice. The most distinctive feature of current Chapter 11 practice is the extent to which the parties now enter into intercreditor agreements, restructuring support agreements and other actual contracts governing their rights and responsibilities. One question raised by the dramatic shift in bankruptcy practice is whether the leading normative theory of bankruptcy, the Creditors’ Bargain Theory, is now obsolete, as some scholars have suggested. The Creditors’ Bargain Theory explains bankruptcy as a solution to coordination problems that might lead to ...


Secured Transactions Law Reform In Japan: Japan Business Credit Project Assessment Of Interviews And Tentative Policy Proposals, Megumi Hara, Kumiko Koens, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Apr 2021

Secured Transactions Law Reform In Japan: Japan Business Credit Project Assessment Of Interviews And Tentative Policy Proposals, Megumi Hara, Kumiko Koens, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article summarizes key findings from the Japan Business Credit Project (JBCP), which involved more than 30 semi-structured interviews conducted in Japan from 2016 through 2018. It was inspired by important and previously unexplored questions concerning secured financing of movables (business equipment and inventory) and claims (receivables)—“asset-based lending” or “ABL.” Why is the use of ABL in Japan so limited? What are the principal obstacles and disincentives to the use of ABL in Japan? The interviews were primarily with staff of banks, but also included those of government officials and regulators, academics, and law practitioners. The article proposes reforms ...


The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Apr 2021

The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the “value” a PBC form provides for publicly-traded corporations. We analyze the structure of the PBC form and find that other than requiring a designated social purpose it does not differ significantly in siting control and direction with shareholders. We also examine the purpose statements in the charters of the most economically significant PBCs. We find that, independent of structural limitations on accountability, these purpose statements are, in most cases, too vague and aspirational to be legally significant, or even to serve as a reliable checks on PBC behavior. We theorize, and provide evidence, that without a legal ...


Vertical Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2021

Vertical Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust litigation often requires courts to consider challenges to vertical “control.” How does a firm injure competition by limiting the behavior of vertically related firms? Competitive injury includes harm to consumers, labor, or other suppliers from reduced output and higher margins.

Historically antitrust considers this issue by attempting to identify a market that is vertically related to the defendant, and then consider what portion of it is “foreclosed” by the vertical practice. There are better mechanisms for identifying competitive harm, including a more individualized look at how the practice injures the best placed firms or bears directly on a firm ...


Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch Mar 2021

Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance through dual-class voting structures, forum selection provisions and tailored limitations on the duty of loyalty. Courts have accepted these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm, and statutes, in many cases, explicitly endorse their use. Commentators too support private ordering for its capacity to facilitate innovation and enhance efficiency.

Private ordering typically occurs through firm-specific charter and bylaw provisions. VC-funded startups, however, frequently use an alternative tool – shareholder agreements. These agreements, which have largely ...


Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax Mar 2021

Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The rise in shareholder activism is one of the most significant recent phenomena in corporate governance. Shareholders have successfully managed to enhance their power within the corporation, and much of that success has resulted from corporate managers and directors voluntarily acceding to shareholder demands. Directors’ voluntary acquiescence to shareholder demands is quite simply remarkable. Remarkable because most of the changes reflect policies and practices that directors have vehemently opposed for decades, and because when opposing such changes directors stridently insisted that the changes were not in the corporation’s best interest. In light of that insistence, and numerous statements from ...


A Lesson From Startups: Contracting Out Of Shareholder Appraisal, Jill E. Fisch Mar 2021

A Lesson From Startups: Contracting Out Of Shareholder Appraisal, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Appraisal is a controversial topic. Policymakers have debated the goals served by the appraisal remedy, and legislatures have repeatedly revised appraisal statutes in an effort to meet those goals while minimizing the cost and potential abuse associated with appraisal litigation. Courts have struggled to determine the most appropriate valuation methodology and the extent to which that methodology should depend on case-specific factors. These difficulties are exacerbated by variation in the procedures by which mergers are negotiated and the potential for conflict-of-interest transactions.

Private ordering offers a market-based alternative to continued legislative or judicial efforts to refine the appraisal remedy. Through ...


Lifting Labor’S Voice: A Principled Path Toward Greater Worker Voice And Power Within American Corporate Governance, Leo E. Strine Jr., Aneil Kovvali, Oluwatomi O. Williams Feb 2021

Lifting Labor’S Voice: A Principled Path Toward Greater Worker Voice And Power Within American Corporate Governance, Leo E. Strine Jr., Aneil Kovvali, Oluwatomi O. Williams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In view of the decline in gain sharing by corporations with American workers over the last forty years, advocates for American workers have expressed growing interest in allowing workers to elect representatives to corporate boards. Board level representation rights have gained appeal because they are a highly visible part of codetermination regimes that operate in several successful European economies, including Germany’s, in which workers have fared better.

But board-level representation is just one part of the comprehensive codetermination regulatory strategy as it is practiced abroad. Without a coherent supporting framework that includes representation from the ground up, as is ...


A Public Option For Employer Health Plans, Allison K. Hoffman, Howell E. Jackson, Amy Monahan Feb 2021

A Public Option For Employer Health Plans, Allison K. Hoffman, Howell E. Jackson, Amy Monahan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Following the 2020 presidential election, health care reform discussions have centered on two competing proposals: Medicare for All and an individual public option (“Medicare for all who want it”). Interestingly, these two proposals take starkly different approaches to employer-provided health coverage, long the bedrock of the U.S. health care system and the stumbling block to many prior reform efforts. Medicare for All abolishes employer-provided coverage, while an individual public option leaves it untouched.

This Article proposes a novel solution that finds a middle ground between these two extremes: an employer public option. In contrast to the more familiar public ...


Are All Risks Created Equal? Rethinking The Distinction Between Legal And Business Risk In Corporate Law, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Feb 2021

Are All Risks Created Equal? Rethinking The Distinction Between Legal And Business Risk In Corporate Law, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Should corporate legal risk be treated similarly to corporate business risks? Currently, the law draws a clear-cut distinction between the two sources of risk, permitting the latter type of risk and banning the former. As a result, fiduciaries are shielded from personal liability in the case of business risk and are entirely exposed to civil and criminal liability that arises from legal risk-taking. As corporate law theorists have underscored, the differential treatment of business and legal risk is highly problematic from the perspective of firms and shareholders. To begin with, legal risk cannot be completely averted or eliminated. More importantly ...


Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article reconsiders the dominant account of corporate law’s duty of loyalty, which asserts that the courts have steadily relaxed standards of fiduciary scrutiny applied to self-dealing by corporate managers across more than a century of history—to the great detriment of the shareholder interest. The account originated in Harold Marsh, Jr.’s foundational article, Are Directors Trustees? Conflicts of Interest and Corporate Morality, published in The Business Lawyer in 1966. Marsh’s showing of historical lassitude has been successfully challenged in a recent book by Professor David Kershaw. This Article takes Professor Kershaw’s critique a step further ...


Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker Jan 2021

Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Insurance ideas inform legal thought: from tort law, to health law and financial services regulation, to theories of distributive justice. Within that thought, insurance is conceived as an ideal type in which insurers distribute determinable risks through contracts that fix the parties’ obligations in advance. This ideal type has normative appeal, among other reasons because it explains how tort law might achieve in practice the objectives of tort theory. This ideal type also supports a restrictive vision of liability-based regulation that opposes expansions and supports cutbacks, on the grounds that uncertainty poses an existential threat to insurance markets.

Prior work ...