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Full-Text Articles in Law

Preparing Legal Frameworks For Environmental Disasters: Practical Considerations For Host States, Brooke Guven, Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson Feb 2020

Preparing Legal Frameworks For Environmental Disasters: Practical Considerations For Host States, Brooke Guven, Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Projects in the extractives sector carry risks of lasting, and sometimes irreversible, damage to the environment. Nonetheless, these projects are important for accelerating the economic development of host countries. Governments seeking to mitigate the adverse effects of foreign investment often face pushback from investors that are unwilling to change their practices in order to avert environmental disaster. This report sets forth certain steps that host-governments can take during the pre-investment, operation, and enforcement phases of extractives projects to provide financial and other protection in the context of environmental disasters associated with private sector investments.

Upon comparative review of five Case ...


Why Financial Regulation Keeps Falling Short, Dan Awrey, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

Why Financial Regulation Keeps Falling Short, Dan Awrey, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

This article argues that there is a fundamental mismatch between the nature of finance and current approaches to financial regulation. Today’s financial system is a dynamic and complex ecosystem. For these and other reasons, policy makers and market actors regularly have only a fraction of the information that may be pertinent to decisions they are making. The processes governing financial regulation, however, implicitly assume a high degree of knowability, stability, and predictability. Through two case studies and other examples, this article examines how this mismatch undermines financial stability and other policy aims. This examination further reveals that the procedural ...


Petition For Rulemaking On Short And Distort, John C. Coffee Jr., Joshua Mitts, James D. Cox, Peter Molk, Edward Greene, Randall S. Thomas, Meyer-Eisenberg, Robert B. Thompson, Colleen Honigsberg, Andrew Verstein, Donald C. Langevoort, Charles K. Whitehead Jan 2020

Petition For Rulemaking On Short And Distort, John C. Coffee Jr., Joshua Mitts, James D. Cox, Peter Molk, Edward Greene, Randall S. Thomas, Meyer-Eisenberg, Robert B. Thompson, Colleen Honigsberg, Andrew Verstein, Donald C. Langevoort, Charles K. Whitehead

Faculty Scholarship

Today, some hedge funds attack public companies for the sole purpose of inducing a short-lived panic which they can exploit for profit. This sort of market manipulation harms average investors who entrust financial markets with their retirement savings. While short selling serves a critical function in the capital markets, some short sellers disseminate negative opinion about a company, inducing a panic and sharp decline in the stock price, and rapidly close that position for a profit prior to the price partially or fully rebounding. We urge the SEC to enact two rules which will discourage manipulative short selling. The petition ...


Why The Fed Should Issue A Policy Framework For Credit Policy, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

Why The Fed Should Issue A Policy Framework For Credit Policy, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Reserve has long used policy frameworks to both explain and inform its policymaking. These policy frameworks typically explain what the Fed is seeking to achieve in a given domain and how it plans to achieve its desired aims. Two prominent examples are the Fed’s use of Bagehot’s dictum when acting as a lender of last resort and its monetary policy framework issued in 2012 and revised in 2020. In both instances, the framework provides a foundation for informed debate among Fed policymakers, Congress, and the public, enhancing both efficacy and accountability. Since the onset of the ...


Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Venture-capital-backed startups are often crucibles of conflict between common and preferred shareholders, particularly around exit decisions. Such conflicts are so common, in fact, that they have catalyzed an emergent judicial precedent – the Trados doctrine – that requires boards to prioritize common shareholders' interest and to treat preferred shareholders as contractual claimants. We evaluate the Trados doctrine using a model of startup governance that interacts capital structure, corporate governance, and liability rules. The nature and degree of inter-shareholder conflict turns not only on the relative rights and options of equity participants, but also on a firm's intrinsic value as well as ...


The New Mechanisms Of Market Inefficiency, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

The New Mechanisms Of Market Inefficiency, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Mechanisms of market inefficiency are some of the most important and least understood institutions in financial markets today. A growing body of empirical work reveals a strong and persistent demand for “safe assets,” financial instruments that are sufficiently low risk and opaque that holders readily accept them at face value. The production of such assets, and the willingness of holders to treat them as information insensitive, depends on the existence of mechanisms that promote faith in the value of the underlying assets while simultaneously discouraging information production specific to the value of those assets. Such mechanisms include private arrangements, like ...


Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The textbook model of commercial contracts between sophisticated parties holds that terms are proposed, negotiated and ultimately priced by the parties. Parties reach agreement on contract provisions that best suit their transaction with the goal of maximizing the joint surplus from the contract. The reality, of course, is that the majority of the provisions in contemporary commercial contracts are boilerplate terms derived from prior transactions and even the most sophisticated contracting parties pay little attention to these standard terms, focusing instead on the price of the transaction. With standard-form or boilerplate contracts, this dynamic of replicating by rote the terms ...


An Efficiency Analysis Of Defensive Tactics, Ronald J. Gilson, Alan Schwartz Jan 2020

An Efficiency Analysis Of Defensive Tactics, Ronald J. Gilson, Alan Schwartz

Faculty Scholarship

For thirty five years, courts and scholars have divided over the effects of defensive tactics in the market for corporate control. Strong defensive tactics locate authority to accept a hostile bid in the target’s board. The board can bargain for a higher takeover price than uncoordinated shareholders could realize but high takeover prices may reduce shareholder returns by reducing the likelihood of receiving a bid. The Delaware Courts themselves disagree. The Delaware Chancery Court would locate ultimate decision authority in the target’s shareholders, while the Supreme Court, by permitting strong defensive tactics, allocates extensive power to the target ...


Stress Testing During Times Of War, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

Stress Testing During Times Of War, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID crisis raises important questions about the role of stress testing during periods of systemic distress. Should stress testing of banks be abandoned? Modified? Proceed as scheduled? Different jurisdictions have taken different tacks, reflecting contestation over these fundamental issues. This essay argues that stress tests become more important, not less, in the midst of systemic distress, but only if the stress scenarios are modified to reflect the distinct challenges an economy is facing. Well-designed stress tests can provide critical information to policy makers and others, promoting more timely efforts to address underlying weaknesses. Given that regulators will rationally be ...


Driver For Contactless Payments, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2020

Driver For Contactless Payments, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

As a consumer, my primary experience with cash before the virus was standing in checkout lines observing the sluggish pace of cash transactions in front of me. Like so many things in our lives, the advent of the virus has changed the situation markedly. From the earliest days of infection, it has been far more unsettling to observe cash transactions knowing that the virus persists on paper and metal surfaces for days.

The dynamic that has driven the choices merchants offer in face-to-face retail transactions will change as well. Driven by the private exigencies of the retail environment, the last ...


Restructuring Vs. Bankruptcy, Jason Roderick Donaldson, Edward R. Morrison, Giorgia Piacentino, Xiaobo Yu Jan 2020

Restructuring Vs. Bankruptcy, Jason Roderick Donaldson, Edward R. Morrison, Giorgia Piacentino, Xiaobo Yu

Faculty Scholarship

We develop a model of a firm in financial distress. Distress can be mitigated by filing for bankruptcy, which is costly, or preempted by restructuring, which is impeded by a collective action problem. We find that bankruptcy and restructuring are complements, not substitutes: Reducing bankruptcy costs facilitates restructuring, rather than crowding it out. And so does making bankruptcy more debtor-friendly, under a condition that seems likely to hold now in the United States. The model gives new perspectives on current relief policies (e.g., subsidized loans to firms in bankruptcy) and on long-standing legal debates (e.g., the efficiency of ...


Building A Law-And-Political-Economy Framework: Beyond The Twentieth-Century Synthesis, Jedediah S. Purdy, David Singh Grewal, Amy Kapczynski, K. Sabeel Rahman Jan 2020

Building A Law-And-Political-Economy Framework: Beyond The Twentieth-Century Synthesis, Jedediah S. Purdy, David Singh Grewal, Amy Kapczynski, K. Sabeel Rahman

Faculty Scholarship

We live in a time of interrelated crises. Economic inequality and precarity, and crises of democracy, climate change, and more raise significant challenges for legal scholarship and thought. “Neoliberal” premises undergird many fields of law and have helped authorize policies and practices that reaffirm the inequities of the current era. In particular, market efficiency, neutrality, and formal equality have rendered key kinds of power invisible, and generated a skepticism of democratic politics. The result of these presumptions is what we call the “Twentieth-Century Synthesis”: a pervasive view of law that encases “the market” from claims of justice and conceals it ...


The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten Jan 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 Pandemic is the biggest challenge for the world since World War Two, warned UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on 1 April 2020. Millions of lives may be lost. The threat to our livelihoods is extreme as well. Job losses worldwide may exceed 25 million.

Legal systems are under extreme stress too. Contracts are disrupted, judicial services suspended, and insolvency procedures tested. Quarantine regulations threaten constitutional liberties. However, laws can also be a powerful tool to contain the effects of the pandemic on our lives and reduce its economic fallout. To achieve this goal, rules designed for normal times ...


Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra Jan 2020

Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra

Faculty Scholarship

Policymakers have minimized the role of bankruptcy law in mitigating the financial fallout from COVID-19. Scholars too are unsure about the merits of bankruptcy, especially Chapter 11, in resolving business distress. We argue that Chapter 11 complements current stimulus policies for large corporations, such as the airlines, and that Treasury should consider making it a precondition for receiving government-backed financing. Chapter 11 offers a flexible, speedy, and crisis-tested tool for preserving businesses, financing them with government funds (if necessary), and ensuring that the costs of distress are borne primarily by investors, not taxpayers. Chapter 11 saves businesses and employment, not ...


How To Help Small Businesses Survive Covid-19, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

How To Help Small Businesses Survive Covid-19, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Small businesses are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Many are shuttered, and far more face cash flow constraints, raising questions about just how many will survive this recession. The government has responded with a critical forgivable loan program, but for many of these businesses, this program alone will not provide the cash they need to retain workers, pay rent, and help their business come back to life when Americans are no longer sheltering in place. This essay calls on regulators to find new and creative ways to work with existing intermediaries, including banks and online lenders, who ...


Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article studies the impact of exogenous legal change on whether and how lawyers across four different deal types revise their contracts’ governing law clauses in order to solve the problem that the legal change created. The governing law clause is present in practically every contract across a wide range of industries and, in particular, it appears in deals as disparate as private equity M&A transactions and sovereign bond issuances. Properly drafted, the clause increases the ex ante economic value of the contract to both parties by reducing uncertainty and litigation risk. We posit that different levels of agency ...


For Coöperation And The Abolition Of Capital, Or, How To Get Beyond Our Extractive Punitive Society And Achieve A Just Society, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2020

For Coöperation And The Abolition Of Capital, Or, How To Get Beyond Our Extractive Punitive Society And Achieve A Just Society, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In hindsight, the term "capitalism" was always a misnomer, coined paradoxically by its critics in the nineteenth century. The term misleadingly suggests that the existence of capital produces a unique economic system or that capital itself is governed by economic laws. But that's an illusion. In truth, we do not live today in a system in which capital dictates our economic circumstances. Instead, we live under the tyranny of what I would call "tournament dirigisme": a type of state-directed gladiator sport where our political leaders bestow spoils on the wealthy, privileged elite.

We need to displace this tournament dirigisme ...


Executive Underreach, In Pandemics And Otherwise, David E. Pozen, Kim Lane Scheppele Jan 2020

Executive Underreach, In Pandemics And Otherwise, David E. Pozen, Kim Lane Scheppele

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars are familiar with the problem of executive overreach, especially in emergencies. But sometimes, instead of being too audacious or extreme, a national executive's attempts to address a true threat prove far too limited and insubstantial. In this Essay, we seek to define and clarify the phenomenon of executive underreach, with special reference to the COVID-19 crisis; to outline ways in which such underreach may compromise constitutional governance and the international legal order; and to suggest a partial remedy.


Long-Term Bias, Eric L. Talley, Michal Barzuza Jan 2020

Long-Term Bias, Eric L. Talley, Michal Barzuza

Faculty Scholarship

An emerging consensus in certain legal, business, and scholarly communities maintains that corporate managers are pressured unduly into chasing short-term gains at the expense of superior long-term prospects. The forces inducing managerial myopia are easy to spot, typically embodied by activist hedge funds and Wall Street gadflies with outsized appetites for next quarter’s earnings. Warnings about the dangers of “short termism” have become so well established, in fact, that they are now driving changes to mainstream practice, as courts, regulators and practitioners fashion legal and transactional constraints designed to insulate firms and managers from the influence of investor short-termism ...