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Articles 1 - 30 of 2021

Full-Text Articles in Law

Covid-19 Risk Factors And Boilerplate Disclosure, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Xuan Liu, Adam C. Pritchard Feb 2024

Covid-19 Risk Factors And Boilerplate Disclosure, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Xuan Liu, Adam C. Pritchard

Law & Economics Working Papers

The SEC mandates that public companies assess new information that changes the risks that they face and disclose these if there has been a “material” change. Does that theory work in practice? Or are companies copying and repeating the same generic disclosures? Using the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, we explore these questions. Overall, we find considerable rote copying of boilerplate disclosures. Further, the factors that correlate with deviations from the boilerplate seem related more to the resources that companies have (large companies change updated disclosures more) and litigation risks (companies vulnerable to shareholder litigation update more) rather than general …


Retail Investors And Corporate Governance: Evidence From Zero-Commission Trading, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Yoon-Ho Alex Lee Feb 2024

Retail Investors And Corporate Governance: Evidence From Zero-Commission Trading, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Yoon-Ho Alex Lee

Law & Economics Working Papers

We examine the effects of the sudden abolition of trading commissions by major online brokerages in 2019, which lowered stock market entry costs for retail investors, on corporate governance. Firms already popular with retail investors experienced positive abnormal returns around the abolition of commissions. Firms with positive abnormal returns in response to commission-free trading subsequently saw a decrease in institutional ownership, a decrease in shareholder voting, and a deterioration in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) metrics. Finally, these firms were more likely to adopt bylaw amendments to reduce the percentage of shares needed for a quorum at shareholder meetings. …


No Peeking: Addressing Pretextual Inspection Demands By Competitor-Affiliated Shareholders, Lin (Lynn) Bai, Sean Meyer Jan 2024

No Peeking: Addressing Pretextual Inspection Demands By Competitor-Affiliated Shareholders, Lin (Lynn) Bai, Sean Meyer

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This article exposes how Delaware private companies are vulnerable to pretextual inspections under the guise of valuation by shareholders who are affiliated with competitors of the companies. The Delaware Court of Chancery’s 2020 decision in Woods v. Sahara Enterprises, Inc., which deviated from established law by switching the initial burden of proof of the shareholder’s motive to the target company, exacerbated this vulnerability. This article argues for reversing that decision and proposes changes in multiple areas of law to help companies fend off prying competitors who abuse statutory shareholder inspection rights for unfair advantages in competition.


Transaction-Specific Tax Reform In Three Steps: The Case Of Constructive Ownership, Thomas J. Brennan, David M. Schizer Jan 2024

Transaction-Specific Tax Reform In Three Steps: The Case Of Constructive Ownership, Thomas J. Brennan, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

Similar investments are often taxed differently, rendering our system less efficient and fair. In principle, fundamental reforms could solve this problem, but they face familiar obstacles. So instead of major surgery, Congress usually responds with a Band-Aid, denying favorable treatment to some transactions, while preserving it for others. These loophole-plugging rules have become a staple of tax reform in recent years. But unfortunately, they often are ineffective or even counterproductive. How can Congress do better? As a case study, we analyze Section 1260, which targets a tax-advantaged way to invest in hedge funds. This analysis is especially timely because a …


Uncovering Elon's Data Empire, Carliss Chatman, Carla L. Reyes Jan 2024

Uncovering Elon's Data Empire, Carliss Chatman, Carla L. Reyes

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In 2022, Elon Musk publicly announced that he would purchase Twitter after acquiring a five percent stake in the company. His failure to report this acquisition—and the company’s failure to notice—allowed Musk to continue purchasing stock at a deflated price, costing the company more than $156 million. After the signing of a merger agreement, the details of the transaction caused wild fluctuations in Tesla’s stock price. Musk’s complaints about the management of Twitter and the existence of bots on the platform led Twitter’s stock to also drop in value, as did Musk’s attempts to withdraw from the transaction. Even after …


Shareholder Primacy Versus Shareholder Accountability, William Wilson Bratton Jan 2024

Shareholder Primacy Versus Shareholder Accountability, William Wilson Bratton

Articles

When corporations inflict injuries in the course of business, shareholders wielding environmental, social, and governance ("ESG") principles can, and now sometimes do, intervene to correct the matter. In the emerging fact pattern, corporate social accountability expands out of its historic collectivized frame to become an internal subject matter-a corporate governance topic. As a result, shareholder accountability surfaces as a policy question for the first time. The Big Three index fund managers, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, responded to the accountability question with ESG activism. In so doing, they defected against corporate legal theory's central tenet, shareholder primacy. Shareholder primacy builds …


Criminal Subsidiaries, Andrew K. Jennings Jan 2024

Criminal Subsidiaries, Andrew K. Jennings

Faculty Articles

Corporate groups comprise parent companies and one or more subsidiaries, which parents use to manage liabilities, transactions, operations, and regulation. Those subsidiaries can also be used to manage criminal accountability when multiple entities within a corporate group share responsibility for a common offense. A parent, for instance, might reach a settlement with prosecutors that requires its subsidiary to plead guilty to a crime, without conviction of the parent itself—a subsidiary-only conviction (SOC). The parent will thus avoid bearing collateral consequences—such as contracting or industry bars—that would follow its own conviction. For the prosecutor, such settlements can respond to criminal law’s …


Manipulating Citadel: Profiting At The Expense Of Retail Stock Traders' Market Makers, Merritt B. Fox, Lawrence R. Glosten, Sue S. Guan Jan 2024

Manipulating Citadel: Profiting At The Expense Of Retail Stock Traders' Market Makers, Merritt B. Fox, Lawrence R. Glosten, Sue S. Guan

Faculty Scholarship

This Article considers whether securities market strategies designed to profit at the expense of so-called “internalizers” should properly be considered illegal manipulation. An internalizer acquires from a brokerage firm the right to be the market maker for the broker’s full order flow from its retail customers, promising in return to execute each order at a price slightly better than the best price available on any exchange (“price improvement”) as well as to pay the broker a fee for each executed order (“payment for order flow”). Almost all retail trading — about 29% of the country’s total share volume — is …


Pricing Corporate Governance, Albert Choi Dec 2023

Pricing Corporate Governance, Albert Choi

Articles

Scholars and practitioners have long theorized that by penalizing firms with unattractive governance features, the stock market incentivizes firms to adopt the optimal governance structure at their initial public offerings (IPOs). This theory, however, does not seem to match with practice. Not only do many IPO firms offer putatively suboptimal governance arrangements, such as staggered boards and dual-class structures, but these arrangements have been gaining popularity among IPO firms. This Article argues that the IPO market is unlikely to provide the necessary discipline to incentivize companies to adopt the optimal governance package. In particular, when the optimal governance package differs …


After Ftx: Can The Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, Mark Burge Dec 2023

After Ftx: Can The Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, Mark Burge

Faculty Scholarship

Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies spawned by the innovation of blockchain programming have exploded in prominence, both in gains of massive market value and in dramatic market losses, the latter most notably seen in connection with the failure of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange in November 2022. After years of investment and speculation, however, something crucial has faded: the original use case for Bitcoin as a system of payment. Can cryptocurrency-as-a-payment-system be saved, or are day traders and speculators the actual cryptocurrency future? This article suggests that cryptocurrency has been hobbled by a lack of foundational commercial and consumer-protection law that …


Comment Letter On Sec’S Proposed Rule On Conflicts Of Interest Associated With The Use Of Predictive Data Analytics By Broker-Dealers And Investment Advisers, File Number S7-12-23, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Oct 2023

Comment Letter On Sec’S Proposed Rule On Conflicts Of Interest Associated With The Use Of Predictive Data Analytics By Broker-Dealers And Investment Advisers, File Number S7-12-23, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

This comment letter responds to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule Release Nos. 34-97990; IA-6353; File Number S7-12-23 - Conflicts of Interest Associated with the Use of Predictive Data Analytics by Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers. Our comments draw on our scholarship relating to laypersons’ participation in securities markets and the corporate sector as well as on the role of technology in corporate governance.

We express concerns that the SEC’s proposed regulation undermines individuals’ ability to access capital markets in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In the era of excessive concentration of equities ownership and power, often with negative societal …


Twenty Years After Krieger V Law Society Of Alberta: Law Society Discipline Of Crown Prosecutors And Government Lawyers, Andrew Flavelle Martin Oct 2023

Twenty Years After Krieger V Law Society Of Alberta: Law Society Discipline Of Crown Prosecutors And Government Lawyers, Andrew Flavelle Martin

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta held that provincial and territorial law societies have disciplinary jurisdiction over Crown prosecutors for conduct outside of prosecutorial discretion. The reasoning in Krieger would also apply to government lawyers. The apparent consensus is that law societies rarely exercise that jurisdiction. But in those rare instances, what conduct do Canadian law societies discipline Crown prosecutors and government lawyers for? In this article, I canvass reported disciplinary decisions to demonstrate that, while law societies sometimes discipline Crown prosecutors for violations unique to those lawyers, they often do so for violations applicable to all lawyers — particularly …


Why U.S. States Need Their Own Cannabis Industry Banks, Christoph Henkel, Randall K. Johnson Oct 2023

Why U.S. States Need Their Own Cannabis Industry Banks, Christoph Henkel, Randall K. Johnson

Faculty Works

The legal cannabis trade is the fastest growing industry in the United States. In 2019, about 48.2 million Americans used the drug at least once. As such, it is easy to see why the legal cannabis trade may generate annual revenues exceeding $30 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 alone.

One inconvenient truth, however, is that the parties to any cannabis trade may face a range of difficulties due to conflicts between federal and state laws. These difficulties include the fact that many financial institutions are reluctant to handle cannabis proceeds. One reason is that a lack of alignment in terms …


The Retail Investor Report, Nick Einhorn, Jill E. Fisch, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Monique Le, Christina M. Sautter Aug 2023

The Retail Investor Report, Nick Einhorn, Jill E. Fisch, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Monique Le, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

In 2020, a wave of retail investors entered the stock market. In the last two years, approximately 30 million new retail investors opened brokerage accounts in the U.S. By 2021, retail investors comprised 25% of total equities trading volume, nearly double the percentage reported a decade prior.

And they’ve stuck around. In February 2023, retail investors across platforms set a new all-time high for weekly inflows, with $1.5 billion dollars pouring into the market in a single week.

Participation in the public markets remains high; more significantly, it has evolved. Public.com surveyed 2,000+ investors to compile its 2023 report. Public’s …


Wireless Investors & Apathy Obsolescence, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Aug 2023

Wireless Investors & Apathy Obsolescence, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

This Article discusses how a subgenre of retail investors makes investors’ apathy obsolete. In prior work, we dub retail investors who rely on technology and online communications in their investing and corporate governance endeavors “wireless investors.” By applying game theory, this Article discusses how wireless investors’ global-scale online interactions allow them to circulate information and coordinate, obliterating collective action problems.


The Business Of Securities Class Action Lawyering, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, Adam C. Pritchard May 2023

The Business Of Securities Class Action Lawyering, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, Adam C. Pritchard

Law & Economics Working Papers

Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the United States play a key role in combating corporate fraud. Shareholders who lose money as a result of fraud can file securities class actions to recover their losses, but most shareholders do not have enough money at stake to justify overseeing the cases filed on their behalf. As a result, plaintiffs’ lawyers control these cases, deciding which cases to file and how to litigate them. Recognizing the agency costs inherent in this model, the legal system relies on lead plaintiffs and judges to monitor these lawyers and protect the best interests of absent class members. Yet …


Meme Corporate Governance, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Yoon-Ho Alex Lee May 2023

Meme Corporate Governance, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Yoon-Ho Alex Lee

Law & Economics Working Papers

Can retail investors revolutionize corporate governance and make public companies more responsive to social concerns? The U.S. stock market offered an unusual experiment to test the impact of retail investors in 2021, when there was a dramatic influx of retail investors into the shareholder base of companies such as GameStop and AMC. The meme surge phenomenon elicited a variety of reactions from scholars and practitioners. While some worried that affected companies’ share prices were becoming disjointed from their financial fundamentals, others predicted that retail shareholders will reduce the power of large institutional investors and democratize corporate governance. This Article presents …


Transferred Emissions Are Still Emissions: Why Fossil Fuel Asset Sales Need Enhanced Transparency And Carbon Accounting, Jack Arnold, Martin Lockman, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Shraman Sen, Michael Burger May 2023

Transferred Emissions Are Still Emissions: Why Fossil Fuel Asset Sales Need Enhanced Transparency And Carbon Accounting, Jack Arnold, Martin Lockman, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Shraman Sen, Michael Burger

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

In a widely reported trend, the “Oil Supermajors” — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies — are selling off many upstream fossil fuel assets.

Selling these assets to entities that will continue producing and selling the fossil fuel resources does not necessarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the supermajors have used these asset sales to support claims that they are making progress toward reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions reporting frameworks allow companies to conflate the apparent emissions reductions from asset sales with direct reductions from efficiency improvements and asset retirements. In doing so, they hinder the ability …


Post-Pandemic Finra Arbitration: To Zoom Or Not To Zoom?, Jill I. Gross Apr 2023

Post-Pandemic Finra Arbitration: To Zoom Or Not To Zoom?, Jill I. Gross

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article contributes to the literature exploring the impact of the pandemic on arbitration and explores whether parties arbitrating their disputes during the pandemic have had access to justice equivalent to the justice that was available pre-pandemic. Though it is difficult to draw any conclusions about FINRA arbitration due to the confidential and non-reasoned nature of awards, the Article focuses on arbitration of securities industry disputes at one forum, FINRA DRS. In particular, the Article analyzes data about FINRA customer arbitrations over the course of the pandemic, from onset in March 2020 through mid-2022, when most municipalities had lifted COVID-19 …


What Were They Thinking? State Of Mind Puzzles In Insider Trading, Donald C. Langevoort Mar 2023

What Were They Thinking? State Of Mind Puzzles In Insider Trading, Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Insider trading law is famously incoherent, the well-recognized product of its piecemeal creation by the judiciary rather than Congress or (with exceptions) SEC rulemaking. Asking what the insider or tippee was thinking is both a doctrinal inquiry and an expression of exasperation aimed at those whose trading doesn’t seem worth the risk. This essay seeks to situate state of mind questions as they address both reasons for asking, and to show that the case law on the subject is even more puzzling than generally thought.


Fraud-On-The-Market Liability In The Esg Era, Kevin S. Haeberle Mar 2023

Fraud-On-The-Market Liability In The Esg Era, Kevin S. Haeberle

Popular Media

No abstract provided.


Regulatory Managerialism Inaction: A Case Study Of Bank Regulation And Climate Change, Hilary J. Allen Feb 2023

Regulatory Managerialism Inaction: A Case Study Of Bank Regulation And Climate Change, Hilary J. Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

In November of 2029, Hurricane Penelope struck New York City as a category two storm. Work had started on a wall to protect Manhattan from rising sea levels and storm surges, but the work was incomplete, and significant damage to Manhattan real estate was sustained. While almost all that real estate was insured, insurance companies were compromised by the sheer magnitude of the losses. Even with significant federal subsidies, they were unable to meet their full commitments on insurance policies. Some commercial real estate firms, who had never really recovered from the shift to remote working during the Covid pandemic, …


All Stick And No Carrot? Reforming Public Offerings, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard Feb 2023

All Stick And No Carrot? Reforming Public Offerings, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard

Law & Economics Working Papers

The SEC heavily regulates the traditional initial public offering. Those regulatory burdens fuel interest in alternative paths for private companies to go public, “regulatory arbitrage.” The SEC’s response to the emergence of alternatives, most recently SPACs and direct listings, has been to suppress them by imposing heightened liability under Section 11 of the Securities Act. The SEC’s treatment of the traditional IPO regulatory process as a one-size-fits-all regime ignores the weaknesses of this process, in particular the informational inefficiency of the book-building process. In this essay we argue that the agency’s focus in regulating issuers going public should be on …


Shareholder Inspection Rights: From Credible Basis To Rational Belief, Lin (Lynn) Bai Jan 2023

Shareholder Inspection Rights: From Credible Basis To Rational Belief, Lin (Lynn) Bai

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

Jurisdictions are split on the standard of proof for shareholder inspection lawsuits when inspections are for the purpose of investigating managerial misconduct. Delaware and its followers apply a credible basis standard that calls for extrinsic evidence, beyond mere suspicion, curiosity, or disagreement with management, to permit an inference of misconduct. A minority of jurisdictions require shareholders to show merely a rational belief that mismanagement likely happened. Rational belief can be satisfied by sound logic without referencing extrinsic evidence. The Delaware Supreme Court rejected rational belief for fear that a permissive standard would lead to a cascade of frivolous inspections, although …


Angels And Devils: The Early Crypto Entrepreneurs, Darian M. Ibrahim Jan 2023

Angels And Devils: The Early Crypto Entrepreneurs, Darian M. Ibrahim

Popular Media

No abstract provided.


Disclosure Procedure, Andrew K. Jennings Jan 2023

Disclosure Procedure, Andrew K. Jennings

Faculty Articles

Securities disclosure is a human process. Each year, public companies collectively spend over fifteen million hours producing disclosures that undergird an equities market with tens of trillions in market capitalization. The procedures they follow in doing so affect whether their disclosures contain misstatements or omissions—errors that can cause trading losses for investors, and litigation for issuers. Yet despite the importance of the disclosures that firms produce, the literature says little about how they do it, including whether they are spending too much, too little, or just enough on their disclosure procedures. To fill that gap, this Article uses original surveys …


The Exit Theory Of Judicial Appraisal, William J. Carney, Keith Sharfman Jan 2023

The Exit Theory Of Judicial Appraisal, William J. Carney, Keith Sharfman

Faculty Publications

For many years, we and other commentators have observed the problem with allowing judges wide discretion to fashion appraisal awards to dissenting shareholders based on widely divergent, expert valuation evidence submitted by the litigating parties. The results of this discretionary approach to valuation have been to make appraisal litigation less predictable and therefore more costly and likely. While this has been beneficial to professionals who profit from corporate valuation litigation, it has been harmful to shareholders, making deals costlier and less likely to be completed.

In this Article, we propose to end the problem of discretionary judicial valuation by tracing …


The Sec's Spac Solution, Karen Woody, Lidia Kurganova Jan 2023

The Sec's Spac Solution, Karen Woody, Lidia Kurganova

Scholarly Articles

The SPAC craze has ebbed and flowed over the past few years, creating fortunes and ruining others. The SEC stepped into the mix in 2022 and proposed rules governing SPACs. The proposed rules artfully balance the interests of investor protection while retaining some of the featured characteristics of SPACs as innovative ways to take companies public. This Article details the history of SPACs, including their benefits and risks, and analyzes the SEC’s proposed rules, arguing that the SEC is well within its Congressional authority to regulate SPACs, and that the proposed rules are both well-tailored and necessary.


Is "Public Company" Still A Viable Regulatory Category?, George S. Georgiev Jan 2023

Is "Public Company" Still A Viable Regulatory Category?, George S. Georgiev

Faculty Articles

This Article suggests that the ubiquitous “public company” regulatory category, as currently constructed, has outlived its effectiveness in fulfilling core goals of the modern administrative state. An ever-expanding array of federal economic regulation hinges on public company status, but “public company” differs from most other regulatory categories in that it requires an affirmative opt-in by the subject entity. In practice, firms today become subject to public company regulation only if they need access to the public capital markets, which is much less of a business imperative than it once was due to the proliferation of private financing options. Paradoxically, then, …


The Business Of Securities Class Action Lawyering, Jessica M. Erickson, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2023

The Business Of Securities Class Action Lawyering, Jessica M. Erickson, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard

Law Faculty Publications

Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the United States play a key role in combating corporate fraud. Shareholders who lose money as a result of fraud can file securities class actions to recover their losses, but most shareholders do not have enough money at stake to justify overseeing the cases filed on their behalf. As a result, plaintiffs’ lawyers control these cases, deciding which cases to file and how to litigate them. Recognizing the agency costs inherent in this model, the legal system relies on lead plaintiffs and judges to monitor these lawyers and protect the best interests of absent class members. Yet …