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Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Seattle University Law Review

Shareholders

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


The Future Of Shareholder Democracy In The Shadow Of The Financial Crisis, Alan Dignam Mar 2013

The Future Of Shareholder Democracy In The Shadow Of The Financial Crisis, Alan Dignam

Seattle University Law Review

This Article argues that the U.K. regulatory response to the financial crisis, in the form of “stewardship” and shareholder engagement, is an error built on a misunderstanding of the key active role shareholders played in the enormous corporate governance failure represented by the banking crisis. Shareholders’ passivity, rather than activity, has characterized the reform perception of the shareholder role in corporate governance. This characterization led to the conclusion that if only they were more active they would be more responsible “stewards” of the corporation. If, as this Article argues, shareholder activity was part of the problem in the banks, then …


Limits Of Disclosure, Steven M. Davidoff, Claire A. Hill Mar 2013

Limits Of Disclosure, Steven M. Davidoff, Claire A. Hill

Seattle University Law Review

One big focus of attention, criticism, and proposals for reform in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has been securities disclosure. Many commentators have emphasized the complexity of the securities being sold, arguing that no one could understand the disclosure. Some observers have noted that disclosures were sometimes false or incomplete. What follows these issues, to some commentators, is that, whatever other lessons we may learn from the crisis, we need to improve disclosure. How should it be improved? Commentators often lament the frailties of human understanding, notably including those of everyday retail investors—people who do not understand or …


Shareholders And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Mar 2013

Shareholders And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Seattle University Law Review

This Article addresses the questions of whether and how shareholders matter for social welfare, finding that different and contrasting answers have prevailed during different periods of recent history. Observers in the mid-twentieth century believed that the socioeconomic characteristics of real-world shareholders were highly pertinent to social welfare inquiries. But those observers went on to conclude that there followed no justification for catering to shareholder interest, for shareholders occupied elite social strata. The answer changed during the twentieth century’s closing decades, when observers came to accord the shareholder interest a key structural role in the enhancement of economic efficiency even as …