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

Law Commons

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

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Seattle University School of Law

Seattle University Law Review

Corporate Governance

Articles 1 - 7 of 7

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Limits Of Corporate Governance, Cathy Hwang, Emily Winston Jan 2024

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. …


Corporate Governance And Gender Equality: A Study Of Comply-Or-Explain Disclosure Regulation, Aaron A. Dhir, Sarah Kaplan, Maria Arabella Robles Jan 2023

Corporate Governance And Gender Equality: A Study Of Comply-Or-Explain Disclosure Regulation, Aaron A. Dhir, Sarah Kaplan, Maria Arabella Robles

Seattle University Law Review

In 2020, the Nasdaq Stock Market filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking permission to adopt a board diversity-related disclosure requirement for its listed companies. In 2021, the SEC approved the proposal, thus entrenching Nasdaq’s position as the most significant stock exchange to date to mandate listing rules that reflect the intention of diversifying corporate boardrooms. Nasdaq’s movement into the diversity space is not the first attempt to address homogeneous boards in the U.S. In 2009, the SEC adopted a rule requiring publicly traded firms to report on whether they consider diversity in identifying director nominees. …


Spirit Of The Corporation, Russell Powell Jan 2021

Spirit Of The Corporation, Russell Powell

Seattle University Law Review

Christian theologians have analyzed the productive and destructive qualities of institutions, sometimes attributing to them human virtues and vices. In City of God, Saint Augustine describes a utopian vision of human community within a Christian context as an alternative to the flawed “City of Man.” Contemporary theologians and sociologists have described collective structures of human behavior in institutions as having a kind of “spirit” analogous to the individual human “spirit.” Institutions are then assumed to take on an existence separate from the individuals within them, and in fact, the “spirit” of an institution influences the behavior of individuals. In The …


Balancing The Governance Of Financial Institutions, David Min Apr 2017

Balancing The Governance Of Financial Institutions, David Min

Seattle University Law Review

Part I briefly describes the traditional agency–cost approach to corporate governance and the rationale that is offered for elevating the agency–cost concerns of shareholders over those of other stakeholders (especially creditors). But as Part I goes on to argue, even if this justification for shareholder primacy is convincing in corporate governance generally (and there are many who do not find it so), several unique characteristics of banks obviate the reasoning behind shareholder primacy. Banks are highly leveraged, which exacerbates creditor–shareholder agency conflicts and places greater importance on the interests of creditors. Banks enjoy government guarantees, and thus their corporate governance …


On The Rise Of Shareholder Primacy, Signs Of Its Fall, And The Return Of Managerialism (In The Closet), Lynn A. Stout Mar 2013

On The Rise Of Shareholder Primacy, Signs Of Its Fall, And The Return Of Managerialism (In The Closet), Lynn A. Stout

Seattle University Law Review

In their 1932 opus "The Modern Corporation and Public Property," Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means famously documented the evolution of a new economic entity—the public corporation. What made the public corporation “public,” of course, was that it had thousands or even hundreds of thousands of shareholders, none of whom owned more than a small fraction of outstanding shares. As a result, the public firm’s shareholders had little individual incentive to pay close attention to what was going on inside the firm, or even to vote. Dispersed shareholders were rationally apathetic. If they voted at all, they usually voted to approve …


Equity Derivatives And The Challenge For Berle’S Conception Of Corporate Accountability, Janis Sarra Mar 2013

Equity Derivatives And The Challenge For Berle’S Conception Of Corporate Accountability, Janis Sarra

Seattle University Law Review

With the proliferation of equity derivatives and related structured financial products, the North American conception of corporate governance faces a new and distinct challenge to its underlying premises.This Article analyzes these developments with a focus on the implications for director and officer accountability and corporate sustainability, using the occasion of the third symposium of the Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law & Society to consider whether Berle’s analysis of corporate accountability offers any insights into how to address the uncoupling of economic interest and legal rights in corporate governance. Part II of this Article sets the context for …


Corporate Governance As A School Of Social Reform, Ciarán O’Kelly Mar 2013

Corporate Governance As A School Of Social Reform, Ciarán O’Kelly

Seattle University Law Review

In this paper, I present a vision of the corporation as a moral person. I point to “the separation of ownership and control” as a moment when the corporation broke away from the moral lives of ownermanagers. I then draw out the manner in which we can speak of the company as a moral person. Finally, through a discussion of social reporting in two British banks, I point to a shift in how this moral personhood is articulated, with the rise of corporate governance—or doing business well—as its own foundation of corporate responsibility. I propose a view of corporate responsibility …