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The Economic (In) Significance Of Executive Pay Esg Incentives, David Walker Feb 2022

The Economic (In) Significance Of Executive Pay Esg Incentives, David Walker

Faculty Scholarship

The hottest topic in corporate governance circles today involves company commitments to and pursuit of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives in addition to the traditional pursuit of profits. One facet of this debate has to do with how to motivate executives to pursue ESG goals. Increasingly, companies tie executive pay to ESG performance, although even strong ESG advocates debate the advisability of doing so. This Article joins the fray by closely examining ESG-based CEO pay arrangements at a subset of companies with leadership positions on the Business Roundtable, an industry trade group that embraced ESG in a 2019 statement ...


Bilski And The Information Age A Decade Later, Michael Meurer Jan 2022

Bilski And The Information Age A Decade Later, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

In the years from State Street in 1999 to Alice in 2014, legal scholars vigorously debated whether patents should be used to incentivize the invention of business methods. That attention has waned just as economists have produced important new research on the topic, and just as artificial intelligence and cloud computing are changing the nature of business method innovation. This chapter rejoins the debate and concludes that the case for patent protection of business methods is weaker now than it was a decade ago.


Anonymous Companies, William J. Moon Jan 2022

Anonymous Companies, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about nefarious activities facilitated by anonymous “shell” companies. Often described as menaces to the financial system, the creation of business entities with no real operations in sun-drenched offshore jurisdictions offering “zero percent” tax rates remains in vogue among business titans, pop stars, multimillionaires, and royals. The trending headlines and academic accounts, however, have paid insufficient attention to the legal uses of anonymous companies that are both ubiquitous and almost infinite in their variations.

This Article identifies privacy as a functional feature of modern business entities by documenting the hidden virtues of anonymous companies ...


Rico Had A Birthday! A Fifty-Year Retrospective Of Questions Answered And Open, Randy D. Gordon Oct 2021

Rico Had A Birthday! A Fifty-Year Retrospective Of Questions Answered And Open, Randy D. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) came into the world in 1970, a time of great social upheaval that was accompanied by shifting attitudes towards both crime and civil litigation. From the outset, the statute’s complexity, ambiguity, and uncertain purpose have confounded courts and commentators. At least some doubts as to the statute’s meaning and application arise because it has criminal and civil components that subject it to the twin—yet antithetical—social impulses to be “tough on crime” while containing a perceived “litigation explosion.” In this Article, I situate RICO in this larger context and ...


Follow-Up Enforcement, Andrew K. Jennings Apr 2021

Follow-Up Enforcement, Andrew K. Jennings

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Pernicious Loyalty, Andrew S. Gold Mar 2021

Pernicious Loyalty, Andrew S. Gold

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Delaware's Global Competitiveness, William J. Moon Jan 2021

Delaware's Global Competitiveness, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

For about a hundred years, Delaware has been the leading jurisdiction for corporate law in the United States. The state, which deliberately embarked on a mission to build a haven for corporate law in the early twentieth century, now supplies corporate charters to over two thirds of Fortune 500 companies and a growing share of closely held companies. But Delaware’s domestic dominance masks the important and yet underexamined issue of whether Delaware maintains its competitive edge globally.

This Article examines Delaware’s global competitiveness, documenting Delaware’s surprising weakness competing in the emerging international market for corporate charters. It ...


Whistleblowers: Implications For Corporate Governance, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2021

Whistleblowers: Implications For Corporate Governance, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

Often overlooked in academic accounts of corporate governance and the actors who populate governance structures, whistleblowers are no more visible in formal governance frameworks. Within a corporation, whistleblowers may be lower-rank employees, not directors or officers; they may report perceptions of wrongdoing to others within the corporation or inform governmental or other actors who are externally situated. Nonetheless, it is striking how often retrospective accounts of corporate scandals involve episodes of internal whistleblowing associated with governance and compliance failures. This paper argues that incorporating whistleblowers into formal governance structures could spur more proactive involvement by directors in monitoring compliance with ...


The Sec's Shareholder Proposal Rule: Creating A Corporate Public Square, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2021

The Sec's Shareholder Proposal Rule: Creating A Corporate Public Square, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

In this Article, we take advantage of this Symposium’s goals to think broadly about the future of Rule 14a-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the shareholder proposal rule. We set forth a vision for the rule to address boardroom insularity by likening the shareholder proposal rule as the public square for shareholders. The existence of such a forum would redound to the benefit of investors, officers, and boards of directors as a fount of current and useful information about their investors’ and stakeholders’ concerns.


Looking Forward: Professor Roberta Karmel's Prescient Views On The Transformation Of Self-Regulatory Organizations And Of The Securities Market Structure At The Turn Of The Last Century, James Fanto Jan 2021

Looking Forward: Professor Roberta Karmel's Prescient Views On The Transformation Of Self-Regulatory Organizations And Of The Securities Market Structure At The Turn Of The Last Century, James Fanto

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Symposium Introduction: A Tribute To Roberta Karmel, James Fanto Jan 2021

Symposium Introduction: A Tribute To Roberta Karmel, James Fanto

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Professionalization Of Compliance: Its Progress, Impediments, And Outcomes, James A. Fanto Jan 2021

The Professionalization Of Compliance: Its Progress, Impediments, And Outcomes, James A. Fanto

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


A Revised Monitoring Model Confronts Today's Movement Toward Managerialism, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2021

A Revised Monitoring Model Confronts Today's Movement Toward Managerialism, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

There are many lessons to be drawn from the sweep of history. In law, the compelling story repeatedly told is the observable co-movement of law on the one hand, and economic, social, and political changes on the other hand. Aberrations, however, do arise but generally do not persist in the long term. Contemporary corporate law seems to be on the cusp of such an abnormality as legal developments and proposed reforms for corporate law are currently conflicting with the direction in which the host environment is moving. This article identifies a series of contemporary judicial and regulatory corporate governance developments ...


Beyond Profit, Emilie Aguirre Jan 2021

Beyond Profit, Emilie Aguirre

Faculty Scholarship

Etsy was a crown jewel of socially responsible businesses. It prioritized female entrepreneurship, its employees, and environmental stewardship. It was widely admired as a company pursuing social goals alongside profit goals. But after scaling up through an IPO, Etsy fell apart both socially and financially. Similar stories proliferate in the world of socially conscious business. What happened? Standard accounts point to greedy investors, capitalism, and short-termism as the culprits.

But this Paper identifies a more fundamental problem: business law is not designed to facilitate scale-ups for companies that articulate objectives beyond profit. It lacks a durable commitment mechanism for these ...


Regulating Financial Guarantors, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2021

Regulating Financial Guarantors, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

To improve financial regulation, scholars have engaged in extensive research over the past decade to try to understand why systemically important financial firms engage in excessive risk-taking. None of that research fully explains, however, the unusually excessive risk-taking by financial guarantors such as bond insurers, protection sellers under credit-default-swap (CDS) derivatives, credit enhancers in securitization transactions, and even issuers of standby letters of credit. With tens of trillions of dollars of financial guarantees outstanding, the potential for failure is massive. This Article argues that financial guarantor risk-taking is influenced by a previously unrecognized cognitive bias, which it calls “abstraction bias ...


The New Public/Private Equilibrium And The Regulation Of Public Companies, Elisabeth De Fontenay, Gabriel Rauterberg Jan 2021

The New Public/Private Equilibrium And The Regulation Of Public Companies, Elisabeth De Fontenay, Gabriel Rauterberg

Faculty Scholarship

This Symposium Article examines how the public/private divide works today and maps out some of the potential implications for major issues in securities law. Classic debates in securities law were often predicated on the idea that public companies are a coherent class of firms that differ markedly from private companies. For more than fifty years after the adoption of the federal securities laws, this view was justified. During that period, the vast majority of successful and growing private firms eventually accepted the regulatory obligations of being public in order to access a wider and deeper pool of capital, among ...


Common Ownership: Do Managers Really Compete Less?, Merritt B. Fox, Manesh S. Patel Jan 2021

Common Ownership: Do Managers Really Compete Less?, Merritt B. Fox, Manesh S. Patel

Faculty Scholarship

This Article addresses an important question in modern antitrust: when large investment funds have holdings across an industry, is competition depressed?

The question of the impact of common ownership on competition has gained much attention as the role of institutional shareholding has grown, with the funds of the three largest management companies holding in aggregate approximately 21% of the shares of a typical S&P 500 firm. It is a source of acute disagreement among scholars and policymakers, with some who believe common ownership does depress competition seeking antitrust law reforms that would significantly constrain how investment funds operate. Neglected ...


Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom portrays contracts as static distillations of parties’ shared intent at some discrete point in time. In reality, however, contract terms evolve in response to their environments, including new laws, legal interpretations, and economic shocks. While several legal scholars have offered stylized accounts of this evolutionary process, we still lack a coherent, general theory that broadly captures the dynamics of real-world contracting practice. This paper advances such a theory, in which the evolution of contract terms is a byproduct of several key features, including efficiency concerns, information, and sequential learning by attorneys who negotiate several deals over time. Each ...


Federal Corporate Law And The Business Of Banking, Lev Menand, Morgan Ricks Jan 2021

Federal Corporate Law And The Business Of Banking, Lev Menand, Morgan Ricks

Faculty Scholarship

The only profit-seeking business enterprises chartered by a federal government agency are banks. Yet there is barely any scholarship justifying this exception to state primacy in U.S. corporate law.

This Article addresses that gap. It reinterprets the National Bank Act (NBA) – the organic statute governing national banks, the heavyweights of the financial sector – as a corporation law and recovers the reasons why Congress wrote this law: not to catalyze private wealth creation or to regulate an existing industry, but to solve an economic governance problem. National banks are federal instrumentalities charged with augmenting the money supply – a delegated sovereign ...


Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality, Kate Andrias Jan 2021

Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality, Kate Andrias

Faculty Scholarship

This Article proposes an innovative approach to remedying the crisis of political inequality: using law to facilitate organizing by the poor and working class, not only as workers, but also as tenants, debtors, welfare beneficiaries, and others. The piece draws on the social-movements literature, and the successes and failures of labor law, to show how law can supplement the deficient regimes of campaign finance and lobbying reform and enable lower-income groups to build organizations capable of countervailing the political power of the wealthy. As such, the Article offers a new direction forward for the public-law literature on political power and ...


Cleaning Corporate Governance, Jens Frankenreiter, Cathy Hwang, Yaron Nili, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Cleaning Corporate Governance, Jens Frankenreiter, Cathy Hwang, Yaron Nili, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Although empirical scholarship dominates the field of law and finance, much of it shares a common vulnerability: an abiding faith in the accuracy and integrity of a small, specialized collection of corporate governance data. In this paper, we unveil a novel collection of three decades’ worth of corporate charters for thousands of public companies, which shows that this faith is misplaced.

We make three principal contributions to the literature. First, we label our corpus for a variety of firm- and state-level governance features. Doing so reveals significant infirmities within the most well-known corporate governance datasets, including an error rate exceeding ...


Executive Pay Clawbacks And Their Taxation, David Walker Jan 2021

Executive Pay Clawbacks And Their Taxation, David Walker

Faculty Scholarship

Executive pay clawback provisions require executives to repay previously received compensation under certain circumstances, such as a downward adjustment to the financial results upon which their incentive pay was predicated. The use of these provisions is on the rise, and the SEC is expected to soon finalize rules implementing a mandatory, no-fault clawback requirement enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank legislation. The tax issue raised by clawbacks is this: should executives be allowed to recover taxes previously paid on compensation that is returned to the company as a result of a clawback provision? This Article argues that a full tax ...


The Millennial Corporation, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis, David Webber Jan 2021

The Millennial Corporation, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis, David Webber

Faculty Scholarship

In a prior paper, Shareholder Value(s): Index Fund ESG Activism and The New Millennial Corporate Governance, we argued that the index funds’ sudden shift towards socially-responsible investment, after decades of ignoring or opposing it, was driven by the competition to manage growing Millennial wealth. In our view, the main contribution of that paper was identifying sharp differences between Millennials and prior generations over investment, consumption, and employment. It has now become clear that this contribution has implications far beyond index-fund environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) activism and is in fact completely transforming the corporate world, marking a fundamental shift ...


The Coming Shift In Shareholder Activism: From "Firm-Specific" To "Systematic Risk" Proxy Campaigns (And How To Enable Them), John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2021

The Coming Shift In Shareholder Activism: From "Firm-Specific" To "Systematic Risk" Proxy Campaigns (And How To Enable Them), John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

This article distinguishes two types of shareholder activism: (1) firm-specific activism, which has a long history and focuses on changes at a specific target company, and (2) systematic risk activism, which seeks to reduce the systematic risk in a portfolio and thereby benefit diversified investors. Typically, such a systematic risk campaign may force a portfolio company to internalize negative externalities to benefit the other companies in the portfolio (such as by reducing carbon emissions or undertaking climate risk reforms). But, systematic risk activism faces an inherent difficulty: the party that leads this campaign and invests in the target company may ...


The Future Of Disclosure: Esg, Common Ownership, And Systematic Risk, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2021

The Future Of Disclosure: Esg, Common Ownership, And Systematic Risk, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. securities markets have recently undergone (or are undergoing) three fundamental transitions: (1) institutionalization (with the result that institutional investors now dominate both trading and stock ownership); (2) extraordinary ownership concentration (with the consequence that the three largest U.S. institutional investors now hold 20% and vote 25% of the shares in S&P 500 companies); and (3) the introduction of ESG disclosures (which process has been driven in the U.S. by pressure from large institutional investors). In light of these transitions, how should disclosure policy change? Do institutions and retail investors have the same or different disclosure needs? Why ...


Discharging The Discharge-For-Value Defense, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Discharging The Discharge-For-Value Defense, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Despite its massive size, the corporate debt market is often considered a sleepy refuge for the risk-averse. Yet, corporate debt contracts are often mind-numbingly detailed. That complexity – when coupled with the financial stakes in play – can be a recipe for calamity. And in late 2020, calamity struck in the form of an accidental $1 billion payoff sent to Revlon Inc.’s distressed creditors – not by Revlon itself but rather by Citibank, the administrative agent for the loan. When several lenders refused to return the cash, Citibank commenced what many reckoned would be a successful (if embarrassing) lawsuit to claw it ...


Afghanistan's New Vat, Part 1: Invoice Matching Or A Unitary Digital Invoice, Richard Thompson Ainsworth, Musaad Alwohaibi, Andrew Leahey, Yujin Li, Haseena Rahman Nov 2020

Afghanistan's New Vat, Part 1: Invoice Matching Or A Unitary Digital Invoice, Richard Thompson Ainsworth, Musaad Alwohaibi, Andrew Leahey, Yujin Li, Haseena Rahman

Faculty Scholarship

In the summer of 1990 two groundbreaking articles on business process re-engineering (BPR) were published, one by Thomas H. Davenport (a professor in information technology at Babson College) in the MIT Sloan Management Review, the other by Michael Hammer (a professor of computer science at MIT) in the Harvard Business Review. BPR is a management strategy that analyzes IT-intensive workflow designs and business processes within an organization.

On December 21, 2020 (Jadi 1, 1399) Afghanistan was scheduled to implement a 10% VAT. It has been delayed one year by the pandemic. When it does implement, Afghanistan will have significant workflow ...


Notice Risk And Registered Agency, Andrew K. Jennings Oct 2020

Notice Risk And Registered Agency, Andrew K. Jennings

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Revival Of Respondeat Superior And Evolution Of Gatekeeper Liability, Rory Van Loo Oct 2020

The Revival Of Respondeat Superior And Evolution Of Gatekeeper Liability, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

In an era of servants and masters, respondeat superior emerged to hold the powerful accountable for the acts of those they control. That doctrine’s significance has only grown in an economy driven by large corporations that rely heavily on legions of subsidiaries and independent contractors, such as banks deploying independent call centers, oil companies using drilling contractors, and tech platforms connecting consumers to app developers. It is widely believed that firms can avoid third- party liability for many laws by outsourcing or creating subsidiaries.

This Article shows that common narratives of the demise of third-party liability are incomplete. Respondeat ...


Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis Sep 2020

Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis

Faculty Scholarship

Major index fund operators have been criticized as ineffective stewards of the firms in which they are now the largest shareholders. While scholars debate whether this passivity is a serious problem, index funds’ generally docile approach to ownership is broadly acknowledged.

However, this Article argues that the notion that index funds are passive owners overlooks an important dimension in which index funds have demonstrated outspoken, confrontational, and effective stewardship. Specifically, we document that index funds have taken a leading role in challenging management and voting
against directors in order to advance board diversity and corporate sustainability. We show that index ...