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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Duty To Creditors Reconsidered - Filling A Much Needed Gap In Corporation Law, Richard A. Booth Dec 2006

The Duty To Creditors Reconsidered - Filling A Much Needed Gap In Corporation Law, Richard A. Booth

Working Paper Series

The most fundamental question of corporation law is to whom does the board of directors of a corporation owe its fiduciary duty. Recently, the question has tended to be whether and under what circumstances the board of directors has the duty to maximize stockholder wealth. But if a corporation is insolvent (or close to it), business decisions designed to maximize stockholder wealth may result in a reduction of creditor wealth. Although the conventional wisdom is that creditors must protect themselves by contractual means, there is a substantial body of case law that says that creditors can assert claims sounding in ...


Give Me Equity Or Give Me Death - The Role Of Competition And Compensation In Building Silicon Valley, Richard A. Booth Dec 2006

Give Me Equity Or Give Me Death - The Role Of Competition And Compensation In Building Silicon Valley, Richard A. Booth

Working Paper Series

In this essay, I argue that the preeminence of Silicon Valley as an incubator of technology companies is attributable to equity compensation. Ronald Gilson, relying on the work of AnnaLee Saxenian and others who have noted the tendency of Silicon Valley employees to job hop, has suggested that California law prohibiting the enforcement of non-compete agreements was a major factor in the rise of Silicon Valley (and the demise of Route 128). I extend this line of thought by suggesting that California employers may have relied on equity compensation as a substitute way to bind employees. I argue further that ...


Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts From An Ex-Regulator, Catharine P. Wells Dec 2006

Holding Charities Accountable: Some Thoughts From An Ex-Regulator, Catharine P. Wells

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper recounts a number of lessons learned in the course of serving as the Director of Public Charities for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It incorporates these lessons into a discussion of the proper analysis of charitable organizations. Should charities be analogized to for-profit firms or are they something that is essentially different? The paper argues that they lack many of the attributes of Coasian firms and that they should be considered as “consumption groups” that have different methods of accountability.


Contractarianism, Contractualism, And The Law Of Corporate Insolvency, Riz Mokal Nov 2006

Contractarianism, Contractualism, And The Law Of Corporate Insolvency, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

What is the appropriate way of theorising about corporate bankruptcy law? That lies, argues this paper, in rejecting Pareto and Kaldor-Hicks efficiency in favour of a particular conception of transaction cost efficiency, and in rejecting the ‘contractarian’ Creditors’ Bargain Model in favour of the ‘contractualist’ Authentic Consent Model. The paper vindicates these arguments with an analysis of the automatic stay which characterises the collective liquidation regime, of the pari passu principle often said to be at the heart of this regime, and of the liability imposed in some jurisdictions on the managers of terminally distressed companies for failing to take ...


A Complete Property Right Amendment, John H. Ryskamp Oct 2006

A Complete Property Right Amendment, John H. Ryskamp

ExpressO

The trend of the eminent domain reform and "Kelo plus" initiatives is toward a comprehensive Constitutional property right incorporating the elements of level of review, nature of government action, and extent of compensation. This article contains a draft amendment which reflects these concerns.


Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2006

Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Large audit firms may believe that they are too big to fail. Arthur Andersen’s 2002 criminal indictment reduced their number from five to four, and the government decided in 2005 to avoid indicting KPMG for crimes it admitted committing. If audit firms interpret the government’s reluctance to indict as signaling aversion to tough action against them, moral hazard arises. This offsets auditing improvements mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that are designed to strengthen auditors’ reputations with managers for thoroughness and improve financial statement reliability. Neutralizing this moral hazard requires a credible alternative industry structure so that ...


Explaining The Value Of Transactional Lawyering, Steven L. Schwarcz Aug 2006

Explaining The Value Of Transactional Lawyering, Steven L. Schwarcz

ExpressO

This article attempts, empirically, to explain the value that lawyers add when acting as counsel to parties in business transactions. Contrary to existing scholarship, which is based mostly on theory, this article shows that transactional lawyers add value primarily by reducing regulatory costs, thereby challenging the reigning models of transactional lawyers as “transaction cost engineers” and “reputational intermediaries.” This new model not only helps inform contract theory but also reveals a profoundly different vision than existing models for the future of legal education and the profession.


Compensation Representatives: A Prudent Solution To Excessive Ceo Pay, Lawton W. Hawkins Aug 2006

Compensation Representatives: A Prudent Solution To Excessive Ceo Pay, Lawton W. Hawkins

ExpressO

Currently, CEO pay is determined by a company’s board of directors, subject to limited shareholder approval in certain circumstances. However, as Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried have demonstrated, boards of directors and CEOs do not necessarily engage in real arms length bargaining over CEO pay. Instead, CEOs may exert managerial power to extract economic rents above and beyond what they could have obtained in an arms length negotiation. To address the problem, Bebchuk and Fried have proposed that large shareholders be allowed to nominate candidates for the board, and that companies be required to pay the expenses for any ...


Recent Defined Benefit Pension Reform: Reasons And Results, Daniel B. Klaff Aug 2006

Recent Defined Benefit Pension Reform: Reasons And Results, Daniel B. Klaff

ExpressO

In the face of corporate bankruptcies, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) assures workers that their defined benefit pensions will be protected. It is this fact which has motivated recent reform of the PBGC and the overarching defined benefit plan system by Congress. This paper explores those reforms by addressing the reasons for and results of the most recent reform which had as its primary aim restoring the fiscal solvency of the PBGC. The paper challenges popular accounts of the reform process while examining the results of such reform for important stakeholders without resorting to an overly technical discussion of ...


Shareholders, Creditors, And Directors’ Fiduciary Duties: A Law And Finance Approach, Moin A. Yahya, Remus D. Valsan Aug 2006

Shareholders, Creditors, And Directors’ Fiduciary Duties: A Law And Finance Approach, Moin A. Yahya, Remus D. Valsan

ExpressO

The debate surrounding fiduciary duties owed to creditors by directors, especially in the vicinity of insolvency, has resurfaced in light of two court decisions in Canada and the United States. In this paper, we contribute to the discussion by looking at the issue from a corporate finance perspective, where we utilize well-established theorems and results. We show that creditors are able to protect themselves by the use of covenants. While this idea has been reported extensively in previous discussions about fiduciary duties, we focus on studies that show the extent to which creditors use covenants to protect themselves against opportunistic ...


Ringing The Bell On The Nyse: Might A Nonprofit Stock Exchange Have Been Efficient?, Stephen F. Diamond Jul 2006

Ringing The Bell On The Nyse: Might A Nonprofit Stock Exchange Have Been Efficient?, Stephen F. Diamond

ExpressO

Abstract

This spring the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (Exchange or NYSE) completed an historic restructuring. On March 7, 2006, the NYSE completed its merger with Archipelago Holdings Inc. (Archipelago), a publicly traded electronic trading platform. As a result, the old NYSE itself became the New York Stock Exchange LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE Group). The former members, or seat holders, of the NYSE received one of three forms of consideration: all cash, all stock in NYSE Group, or a package of cash and stock. The NYSE Group then allowed those former members to offer ...


Bond Repudiation, Tax Codes, The Appropriations Process And Restitution Post-Eminent Domain Reform, John H. Ryskamp Jun 2006

Bond Repudiation, Tax Codes, The Appropriations Process And Restitution Post-Eminent Domain Reform, John H. Ryskamp

ExpressO

This brief comment suggests where the anti-eminent domain movement might be heading next.


Priority As Pathology: The Pari Passu Myth, Riz Mokal Jun 2006

Priority As Pathology: The Pari Passu Myth, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

This paper aims to analyse the pari passu principle of insolvency law (which provides that the creditors of a company in liquidation are to be paid rateably), and to ask how it relates to other principles available for the treatment of claims in corporate liquidation. The discussion reveals that the principle has rather limited effect in governing distributions of the insolvent's estate. Not only do various types of secured claim fall beyond its ambit, even unsecured claims are often exempt from its application. Nevertheless, the principle thrives both in judicial rhetoric and in academic arguments. For example, many a ...


The Search For Someone To Save: A Defensive Case For The Priority Of Secured Credit, Riz Mokal Jun 2006

The Search For Someone To Save: A Defensive Case For The Priority Of Secured Credit, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

The priority of secured credit has repeatedly and famously been attacked for allowing the exploitation of certain types of unsecured creditor. It has also been blamed for creating inefficiencies. This paper examines these arguments specifically as applied to this jurisdiction, and using both theoretical analysis and recent empirical data, suggests none of them can be sustained. It is argued that security is unlikely to lead to the exploitation of involuntary, ‘uninformed’, or ‘unsophisticated’ creditors, since the perverse incentives it allegedly creates for the debtor’s management are likely to be outweighed by the managers’ liquidation-related costs. It is then pointed ...


The Chameleon Effect: Beyond The Bonding Hypothesis For Cross-Listed Securities, Cally Jordan May 2006

The Chameleon Effect: Beyond The Bonding Hypothesis For Cross-Listed Securities, Cally Jordan

ExpressO

This paper is based on a presentation made at the New York Stock Exchange Conference on the Future of Global Equity Trading, March 12, 2004, Sarasota, FL.

Looking back, was it a momentary enthusiasm? The dramatic increase in cross-listed securities, particularly in the United States, was one of the remarkable phenomena of the 1990s capital markets. The bonding, or corporate governance, hypothesis was one of the more intriguing theories to surface to explain the phenomenon. Cross-listing, the hypothesis suggested, might be a bonding mechanism by which firms, incorporated in a jurisdiction with “weak protection” of minority shareholder rights or poor ...


The Authentic Consent Model: Contractarianism, Creditors' Bargain, And Corporate Liquidation, Riz Mokal May 2006

The Authentic Consent Model: Contractarianism, Creditors' Bargain, And Corporate Liquidation, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

The first part of this article asks if the Creditors’ Bargain Model, long employed by insolvency scholars as the starting point for many an analysis, can explain or justify even the most distinctive and fundamental feature of insolvency law. After examining the defining features of the model’s construction, the role of self-interest and consent in it, and its ex ante position, it is concluded that the Bargain model can neither explain nor legitimate the coercive collective liquidation regime.

The second part of the article develops an alternative model to analyse and justify insolvency law. The starting premise is that ...


The Floating Charge – An Elegy, Riz Mokal May 2006

The Floating Charge – An Elegy, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

This paper argues that the usual way of conflating floating with fixed charges as small variations on a single theme – as priority-based devices differing only in degree – fundamentally misunderstands its true nature. The floating charge plays a distinctive role as a residual management displacement device which can only be effective if coupled with an appropriate set of fixed security that enables its holder to gather information about the competence of the debtor’s managers and to control their incentives to misbehave. The floating charge allows the debtor free use of its circulating assets while its management is doing well, and ...


Administrative Receivership And Administration - An Analysis, Riz Mokal May 2006

Administrative Receivership And Administration - An Analysis, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

This paper argues that the Enterprise Act 2002 has changed the way those dealing with distressed companies are required to behave much more significantly than most commentators realise. The motivation for this change lies in the ways in which administrative receivership is destructive of social value (in terms of unnecessary job losses and other resource misallocations). The paper identifies three such ways, all linked with the fact that receivership ties the office-holder’s duties to the interests of the debtor’s main bank. This is undesirable because the bank (a) is usually oversecured and thus has little incentive, once receivership ...


Charges Over Chattels – Issues In The Fixed/Floating Jurisprudence, Stephen Atherton, Riz Mokal May 2006

Charges Over Chattels – Issues In The Fixed/Floating Jurisprudence, Stephen Atherton, Riz Mokal

ExpressO

Much of the recent debate as to the criteria which determine whether a charge is properly characterised as fixed or floating has revolved around charges over book debts or other receivables. Charges over chattels have received somewhat less attention, even though an attempt to create a fixed charge over chattels gives rise to interesting questions, some of which do not arise when the collateral consists simply of receivables. While some of these questions have received judicial attention in recent years, others are only now starting to be considered. In this paper, we provide an overview of some of the most ...


The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown May 2006

The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The federal gratuities statute, 18 USC § 201(c), continues to be a source of confusion and contention. The confusion stems largely from problems of draftsmanship within the statute, as well as uncertainty concerning the relationship of the gratuities offense to bribery. Both offenses are contained in the same statute; the former is often seen as a lesser-included offense variety of the latter. The controversy stems from broader concerns about whether the receipt of gratuities by public officials, even from those they regulate, should be a crime. The argument that such conduct should not be criminalized can be traced to, and ...


Managing Risk On A $25 Million Bet: Venture Capital, Agency Costs, And The False Dichotomy Of The Corporation, Robert P. Bartlett Iii May 2006

Managing Risk On A $25 Million Bet: Venture Capital, Agency Costs, And The False Dichotomy Of The Corporation, Robert P. Bartlett Iii

ExpressO

An implicit dichotomy of the corporation exists in legal scholarship. On one side of the dichotomy rests the publicly-held corporation suffering from a significant conflict of interest between its managers and dispersed shareholders; on the other side, the closely-held corporation plagued by inter-shareholder conflict.

This Article argues that understanding the agency problems that can exist within a firm demands a rejection of this traditional dichotomy and the theories of the firm built upon it. Using venture capital finance, this Article demonstrates for the first time how this dichotomy obscures how all firms - public and private - often face the same agency ...


Language, Deals And Standards: The Future Of Xml Contracts, Lawrence A. Cunningham May 2006

Language, Deals And Standards: The Future Of Xml Contracts, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

eXtensible Markup Language (XML) structures information in documentary systems ranging from financial reports to medical records and business contracts. XML standards for specific applications are developed spontaneously by self-appointed technologists or entrepreneurs. XML’s social and economic stakes are considerable, especially when developed for the private law of contracts. XML can reduce transaction costs but also limit the range of contractual expression and redefine the nature of law practice. So reliance on spontaneous development may be sub-optimal and identification of a more formal public standard setting model necessary. To exploit XML’s advantages while minimizing risks, this Article envisions creating ...


Manipulative Behavior In Auction Ipos, Mira Ganor Apr 2006

Manipulative Behavior In Auction Ipos, Mira Ganor

ExpressO

Book-building, the prevailing method for initial public offerings (IPOs), is widely considered flawed, because it results in stock under-pricing. Auction-IPO, on the other hand, is considered, by conventional wisdom, an alternative method that will eliminate the under-pricing. This paper shows how, contrary to customary belief, auction-IPOs may well result in under-pricing. In auction-IPOs, the under-pricing of the stock price is induced by undetected investors’ manipulative strategic behavior. I analyze the requirements for such strategic behavior in a linear model. To reduce investors’ incentive to manipulate their bid in the auction, this paper proposes to restrict auction participants from trading in ...


Enron And The Special Purpose Entity. Use Or Abuse? The Real Problem - The Real Focus, Neal F. Newman Mar 2006

Enron And The Special Purpose Entity. Use Or Abuse? The Real Problem - The Real Focus, Neal F. Newman

ExpressO

In December of 2001, Enron Corporation filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code; one of the largest corporate bankruptcy filings at that time. When the investigations commenced and the tangled Enron web was unraveled, it was discovered that Enron had perpetrated a very sophisticated form of accounting fraud through its repeated use of what are referred to as Special Purpose Entities (“SPEs”). In their most basic forms, SPEs are business entities formed for the purpose of conducting a well specified activity such as construction of a gas pipeline, or collection of a specific group of ...


Corporate Form And Substantive Consolidation, William H. Widen Mar 2006

Corporate Form And Substantive Consolidation, William H. Widen

ExpressO

This Article reformulates substantive consolidation doctrine in light of modern financing techniques. Building upon the author's research showing the prevalence of substantive consolidation in large public bankruptcies, it offers an economic account (based on Coase's theory of firm size) to explain why we should expect that the circumstances giving rise to substantive consolidation should be common (rather than rare as suggested by the rhetoric of case law). Extending the asset partitioning theory developed by Professors Hannsmann and Kraakman, it offers a model for looking at the corporate form within corporate groups, particularly in the insolvency context. The recent ...


The Dutch Auction Myth, Peter B. Oh Mar 2006

The Dutch Auction Myth, Peter B. Oh

ExpressO

The initial public offering process is under assault. Critics of this process have woven a complex set of interconnected objections to the orthodox method for conducting IPOs, pricing of shares, and allocating them to preferred investors. These critics instead point to online auctions as an alternative IPO method that can provide more equitable access, efficient prices, and egalitarian allocations. These claims rest on Google’s recent IPO and W.R. Hambrecht + Co.’s OpenIPO mechanism, conventionally regarded as impure variants of what is known as a descending-bid or Dutch auction (Dutch IPO).

This article assesses the empirical and theoretical case ...


Equal Treatment Of Foreign Shareholders In Transnational Securities Class Action Against A Foreign Issuer—A Chinese Example, Clark Yao Feb 2006

Equal Treatment Of Foreign Shareholders In Transnational Securities Class Action Against A Foreign Issuer—A Chinese Example, Clark Yao

ExpressO

As the world economy and financial markets become increasingly more integrated, cross-boarder securities transaction becomes a daily event. Because Unite States has the world’s largest and arguably most liquid capital markets, it has attracted a significant number of foreign companies to cross-list their stocks in a U.S. stock exchange. Unavoidably, such transactions will not only bring out fortune, but also disputes between transacting parties. Relying on the powerful federal securities law , U.S. investors who have bought or sold such stocks have routinely sued foreign stock issuers through class action when the stock prices went down, alleging their ...