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Full-Text Articles in Law

Enforcing International Human Rights Law Against Corporations, Barnali Choudhury Jan 2024

Enforcing International Human Rights Law Against Corporations, Barnali Choudhury

All Papers

International human rights law is generally thought to apply directly to states, not to corporations since the latter is not a subject of international law. Some domestic courts are, however, enforcing these norms against corporations in domestic settings. Canadian courts have, for instance, recognized that corporations can be liable for breach of customary international law norms while UK courts have enforced international human rights norms indirectly against corporations relying on a combination of domestic corporate and tort law.

At the same time, some states are choosing to enforce international human rights norms against corporations using regulatory initiatives. These initiatives, known …


Corporations As Private Regulators, Wentong Zheng Apr 2022

Corporations As Private Regulators, Wentong Zheng

UF Law Faculty Publications

The growing trend of corporations imposing restrictions on suppliers, contractors, and customers beyond the requirements of existing laws requires rethinking the nature and impact of corporations' private regulatory power. This trend, which this Article refers to as "Corporations as Private Regulators" (CPR), represents a paradigmatic shift in how corporations participate in the making of public policies. This Article conceptualizes the corporate CPR power as the exercise of a right of refusal to deal with counterparties. This right of refusal could be theorized as a new form of property right, whose allocation has important implications for both rights and wealth. The …


Empowering Diversity Ambition: Brummer And Strine’S Duty And Diversity Makes The Legal And Business Case For Doing More, Doing Good, And Doing Well, Lisa Fairfax Mar 2022

Empowering Diversity Ambition: Brummer And Strine’S Duty And Diversity Makes The Legal And Business Case For Doing More, Doing Good, And Doing Well, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Direct-Derivative Distinction, The Special Litigation Committee, And The Uniform Act: A Response To Professor Weidner, Daniel S. Kleinberger Jan 2022

The Direct-Derivative Distinction, The Special Litigation Committee, And The Uniform Act: A Response To Professor Weidner, Daniel S. Kleinberger

Faculty Scholarship

The Unfortunate Role of Special Litigation Committees in LLCs has a deeply pejorative view of the Uniform Law Commission “second generation” limited liability company act, and that view extends far deeper than the target suggested by the article’s title. The article’s fundamental attack is on the distinction between direct and derivative claims; the criticisms of ULLCA’s provisions on special litigation committees depend on that attack. In support of its wide-ranging attack, The Unfortunate Role seeks to marshal history, policy, logic, and a research study pertaining to the outcome of derivative claims. Unfortunately, however, the article (i) misapprehends the drafting history …


Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2022

Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch

All Faculty Scholarship

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance through dual-class voting structures, forum selection provisions and tailored limitations on the duty of loyalty. Courts have accepted these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm, and statutes, in many cases, explicitly endorse their use. Commentators too support private ordering for its capacity to facilitate innovation and enhance efficiency.

Private ordering typically occurs through firm-specific charter and bylaw provisions. VC-funded startups, however, frequently use an alternative tool – shareholder agreements. These agreements, which have …


Judicial Activism In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad Jan 2022

Judicial Activism In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad

All Faculty Publications

This article explores a more expansive adjudicative role for domestic judiciaries in the U.S., U.K., and Canada in private law disputes that concern personal and environmental harm by multinational corporations that operate in the Global South. This expansive role may confront—although not necessarily upend—existing understandings around the separation of powers in common law jurisdictions. I canvass existing literature on judicial activism. Then, I detail legality gaps in the selected common law home states, which can be broken down into four categories: i) failed legislation; ii) deficient legislation; iii) judicial restraint; and iv) judicial deference.

I suggest three ways to actualize …


The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman Nov 2021

The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

One of the most notable trends of the Roberts Court is expanding corporate rights and narrowing liability or access to justice against corporate defendants. This Comment examines recent Supreme Court cases to highlight this “pro-business” pattern as well as its contradictory relationship with counter trends in corporate law and governance. From Citizens United to Americans for Prosperity, the Roberts Court’s jurisprudence could ironically lead to a situation in which it has protected corporate political spending based on a view of the corporation as an “association of citizens,” but allows constitutional scrutiny to block actual participants from getting information about …


Corporate Venture Capital, Darian M. Ibrahim Oct 2021

Corporate Venture Capital, Darian M. Ibrahim

Faculty Publications

This Article makes the case for corporate venture capital as a potentially game-changing entrant into entrepreneurial finance. Part II begins by retracing the ancillary players in entrepreneurial finance and their roles in the startup ecosystem. After finding each of them incapable of denting the venture capitalist’s current dominance, Part III introduces the large corporation as venture capitalist. Part III discusses the growing scale of corporate venture capital and why it may be desirable for startups, innovation, and society as a whole. Part IV looks at legal differences that may become important for corporate venture capitalists to consider, including securities, antitrust, …


The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jun 2021

The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Articles

The default rules of corporate law make shareholders’ control rights a function of their voting power. Whether a director is elected or a merger is approved depends on how shareholders vote. Yet, in private corporations shareholders routinely alter their rights by contract. This phenomenon of shareholder agreements—contracts among the owners of a firm— has received far less attention than it deserves, mainly because detailed data about the actual contents of shareholder agreements has been lacking. Private companies disclose little, and shareholder agreements are thought to play a trivial or nonexistent role in public companies. I show that this is false—fifteen …


Deal Protection Devices, Albert H. Choi Jun 2021

Deal Protection Devices, Albert H. Choi

Articles

In mergers and acquisitions transactions, a buyer and a seller will often agree to contractual mechanisms (deal protection devices) to deter third parties from jumping the deal and to compensate a disappointed buyer. With the help of auction theory, this Article analyzes various deal protection devices, while focusing on the two most commonly used mechanisms: match rights and target termination fees. A match right gives the buyer a right to “match” a third party’s offer so as to prevent the third party from snatching the target away, while a termination fee compensates the buyer when a third party acquires the …


The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Apr 2021

The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

All Faculty Scholarship

We examine the “value” a PBC form provides for publicly-traded corporations. We analyze the structure of the PBC form and find that other than requiring a designated social purpose it does not differ significantly in siting control and direction with shareholders. We also examine the purpose statements in the charters of the most economically significant PBCs. We find that, independent of structural limitations on accountability, these purpose statements are, in most cases, too vague and aspirational to be legally significant, or even to serve as a reliable checks on PBC behavior. We theorize, and provide evidence, that without a legal …


Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax Mar 2021

Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

The rise in shareholder activism is one of the most significant recent phenomena in corporate governance. Shareholders have successfully managed to enhance their power within the corporation, and much of that success has resulted from corporate managers and directors voluntarily acceding to shareholder demands. Directors’ voluntary acquiescence to shareholder demands is quite simply remarkable. Remarkable because most of the changes reflect policies and practices that directors have vehemently opposed for decades, and because when opposing such changes directors stridently insisted that the changes were not in the corporation’s best interest. In light of that insistence, and numerous statements from directors …


Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article reconsiders the dominant account of corporate law’s duty of loyalty, which asserts that the courts have steadily relaxed standards of fiduciary scrutiny applied to self-dealing by corporate managers across more than a century of history—to the great detriment of the shareholder interest. The account originated in Harold Marsh, Jr.’s foundational article, Are Directors Trustees? Conflicts of Interest and Corporate Morality, published in The Business Lawyer in 1966. Marsh’s showing of historical lassitude has been successfully challenged in a recent book by Professor David Kershaw. This Article takes Professor Kershaw’s critique a step further, asking whether the evolutionary …


Hitting The Trip Wire: When Does A Company Become A "Marijuana Business"?, Lauren A. Newell Jan 2021

Hitting The Trip Wire: When Does A Company Become A "Marijuana Business"?, Lauren A. Newell

Law Faculty Scholarship

Like the alcohol industry was during Prohibition, the marijuana industry is a profitable one. And, as bootlegging was then, selling marijuana in the United States is currently illegal. Despite the number of states that have legalized or decriminalized the sale of marijuana for medical or recreational use under state law, marijuana sales remain illegal as a matter of federal law under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (“CSA”). Individuals and entities that violate the CSA face substantial criminal and civil liability, including prison time and fines, alongside a host of additional negative consequences arising from business, tax, bankruptcy, and …


The New Public/Private Equilibrium And The Regulation Of Public Companies, Elisabeth De Fontenay, Gabriel Rauterberg Jan 2021

The New Public/Private Equilibrium And The Regulation Of Public Companies, Elisabeth De Fontenay, Gabriel Rauterberg

Faculty Scholarship

This Symposium Article examines how the public/private divide works today and maps out some of the potential implications for major issues in securities law. Classic debates in securities law were often predicated on the idea that public companies are a coherent class of firms that differ markedly from private companies. For more than fifty years after the adoption of the federal securities laws, this view was justified. During that period, the vast majority of successful and growing private firms eventually accepted the regulatory obligations of being public in order to access a wider and deeper pool of capital, among other …


Corporate Commitment To International Law, Jay Butler Jan 2021

Corporate Commitment To International Law, Jay Butler

Faculty Publications

Corporations are increasingly important actors in international law. But vital questions underlying this development have long gone unanswered: How and why do corporations commit to international law?

This article constructs a general account of business interaction with international legal obligation and suggests that a gateway to demystifying this persistent puzzle lies in corporate opinio juris.

Corporate opinio juris describes a company's subscription to a rule of international law, even though the company is not technically bound by that rule. This subscription functions as a kind of pledge that, once made, has sway over the company and its peers and symbiotically …


From Property Rights To Liberty Rights: We The Corporations, A Review Essay, Laura Phillips-Sawyer Jan 2021

From Property Rights To Liberty Rights: We The Corporations, A Review Essay, Laura Phillips-Sawyer

Scholarly Works

A long-standing, and deeply controversial, question in constitutional law is whether or not the Constitution's protections for “persons” and “people” extend to corporations. Law professor Adam Winkler's We the Corporations chronicles the most important legal battles launched by corporations to “win their constitutional rights,” by which he means both civil rights against discriminatory state action and civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution (p. xvii). Today, we think of the former as the right to be free from unequal treatment, often protected by statutory laws, and the latter as liberties that affect the ability to live …


Is There A Delaware Effect For Controlled Firms?, Edward Fox Jan 2021

Is There A Delaware Effect For Controlled Firms?, Edward Fox

Articles

The impact of Delaware incorporation on firm value remains a central question in corporate law. Despite the difficulty scholars have had in agreeing on an answer to this question, there is a consensus that Delaware has long enjoyed stable and important advantages in the expertise of its judiciary and its extensive case law. These advantages are believed to be particularly important for firms with a controlling shareholder. This Article attempts to empirically measure the effect of Delaware incorporation on these controlled firms and thus helps us understand the market value of Delaware’s judiciary and case law. It finds, surprisingly, that …


Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2021

Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

In his excellent article, For Whom is the Corporation Managed in 2020?: The Debate Over Corporate Purpose, Professor Edward Rock articulates his understanding of the debate over corporate purpose. This reply supports Professor Rock’s depiction of the current state of corporate law in the United States. It also accepts Professor Rock’s contention that finance and law and economics professors tend to equate the value of corporations to society solely with the value of their equity. But, I employ a less academic lens on the current debate about corporate purpose, and am more optimistic about proposals to change our corporate governance …


The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

The conventional view of corporate governance is that it is a neutral set of processes and practices that govern how a company is managed. We demonstrate that this view is profoundly mistaken: in the United States, corporate governance has become a “system” composed of an array of institutional players, with a powerful shareholderist orientation. Our original account of this “corporate governance machine” generates insights about the past, present, and future of corporate governance. As for the past, we show how the concept of corporate governance developed alongside the shareholder primacy movement. This relationship is reflected in the common refrain of …


Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel Jan 2021

Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel

All Faculty Scholarship

With increased calls from investors, legislators, and academics for corporations to consider employee, environmental, social, and governance factors (“EESG”) when making decisions, boards and managers are struggling to situate EESG within their existing reporting and organizational structures. Building on an emerging literature connecting EESG with corporate compliance, this Essay argues that EESG is best understood as an extension of the board’s duty to implement and monitor a compliance program under Caremark. If a company decides to do more than the legal minimum, it will simultaneously satisfy legitimate demands for strong EESG programs and promote compliance with the law. Building …


The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship

The conventional view of corporate governance is that it is a neutral set of processes and practices that govern how a company is managed. We demonstrate that this view is profoundly mistaken: For public companies in the United States, corporate governance has become a “system” composed of an array of institutional players, with a powerful shareholderist orientation. Our original account of this “corporate governance machine” generates insights about the past, present, and future of corporate governance. As for the past, we show how the concept of corporate governance developed alongside the shareholder primacy movement. This relationship is reflected in the …


In Defense Of Breakups: Administering A “Radical” Remedy, Rory Van Loo Nov 2020

In Defense Of Breakups: Administering A “Radical” Remedy, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

Calls for breaking up monopolies—especially Amazon, Facebook, and Google—have largely focused on proving that past acquisitions of companies like Whole Foods, Instagram, and YouTube were anticompetitive. But scholars have paid insufficient attention to another major obstacle that also explains why the government in recent decades has not broken up a single large company. After establishing that an anticompetitive merger or other act has occurred, there is great skepticism of breakups as a remedy. Judges, scholars, and regulators see a breakup as extreme, frequently comparing the remedy to trying to “unscramble eggs.” They doubt the government’s competence in executing such a …


Whitman And The Fiduciary Relationship Conundrum, Lisa Fairfax Nov 2020

Whitman And The Fiduciary Relationship Conundrum, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

While the law on insider trading has been convoluted and, in Judge Jed S. Rakoff’s words, “topsy turvy,” the law on insider trading is supposedly clear on at least one point: insider trading liability is premised upon a fiduciary relationship. Thus, all three seminal U.S. Supreme Court cases articulating the necessary elements for demonstrating any form of insider trading liability under § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 made crystal clear that a fiduciary relationship represented the lynchpin for such liability.

Alas, insider trading law is not clear about the source from which the fiduciary …


Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar Aug 2020

Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar

Articles

A key question at the intersection of state and federal law is whether corpo- rations can use their charters or bylaws to restrict securities litigation to federal court. In December 2018, the Delaware Chancery Court answered this question in the negative in the landmark decision Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg. The court invalidated “federal forum provisions” (“FFPs”) that allow companies to select federal district courts as the exclusive venue for claims brought under the Secur- ities Act of 1933 (“1933 Act”). The decision held that the internal affairs doc- trine, which is the bedrock of U.S. corporate law, does not permit charter …


High Crimes: Liability For Directors Of Retail Marijuana Corporations, Lauren A. Newell Apr 2020

High Crimes: Liability For Directors Of Retail Marijuana Corporations, Lauren A. Newell

Law Faculty Scholarship

Selling retail marijuana in the United States is illegal — or is it? A rising number of states have legalized the retail sale of marijuana and are busily regulating these sales and the companies that make them. Even so, the sale of marijuana is a crime under federal law. Are companies that sell retail marijuana duly sanctioned, productive contributors to their state economies, or are they felons just waiting for the wheels of justice to turn in their direction? At this moment, no one can answer that question with certainty.

What is certain is that more companies are being formed …


From Public Health To Public Wealth: The Case For Economic Justice, Barbara L. Atwell Apr 2020

From Public Health To Public Wealth: The Case For Economic Justice, Barbara L. Atwell

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article examines how we can overlay the principle of serving the common good, which undergirds public health law, onto financial well-being. It suggests that we apply public health law principles to corporate law and culture. In matters of public health, we view quite broadly states' police power to protect the public good. Government is also empowered to protect the general welfare in matters of financial well-being. Using the “general welfare” as a guidepost, this Article challenges the conventional wisdom that corporations exist solely to maximize profit and shareholder value to the exclusion of virtually everything else. It proposes two …


Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe Jan 2020

Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe

All Faculty Scholarship

Two models of the firm dominate corporate law. Under the management-power model, decision-making power rests primarily with corporate insiders (officers and directors). The competing shareholder-power model defends increased shareholder power to limit managerial authority. Both models view insiders and shareholders as engaged in a competitive struggle for corporate power in which corporate law functions to promote operational efficiency while limiting managerial agency costs. As scholars and judges continue to debate the appropriate balance of power between shareholders and insiders, corporate practice has moved on. Increasingly, the insider–shareholder dynamic is collaborative, not competitive.

This Article traces the development of insider–shareholder collaboration, …


Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Voting, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau Jan 2020

Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Voting, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau

Articles

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, Congress attempted to constrain change-in-control payments (also known as “golden parachutes”) by giving shareholders the right to approve or disapprove such payments on an advisory basis. This Essay is the first to empirically examine the experience with the Say-on-Golden-Parachute (“SOGP”) vote. We find that unlike shareholder votes on proposed mergers, there is a significant amount of variation with respect to votes on golden parachutes. Notwithstanding the variation, however, the SOGP voting regime is likely ineffective in controlling golden parachute (“GP”) compensation. First, proxy advisors seem …


Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine Jr. Sep 2019

Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

To promote fair and sustainable capitalism and help business and labor work together to build an American economy that works for all, this paper presents a comprehensive proposal to reform the American corporate governance system by aligning the incentives of those who control large U.S. corporations with the interests of working Americans who must put their hard-earned savings in mutual funds in their 401(k) and 529 plans. The proposal would achieve this through a series of measured, coherent changes to current laws and regulations, including: requiring not just operating companies, but institutional investors, to give appropriate consideration to and make …