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Full-Text Articles in Law

Notice Risk And Registered Agency, Andrew K. Jennings Oct 2020

Notice Risk And Registered Agency, Andrew K. Jennings

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Revival Of Respondeat Superior And Evolution Of Gatekeeper Liability, Rory Van Loo Oct 2020

The Revival Of Respondeat Superior And Evolution Of Gatekeeper Liability, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

In an era of servants and masters, respondeat superior emerged to hold the powerful accountable for the acts of those they control. That doctrine’s significance has only grown in an economy driven by large corporations that rely heavily on legions of subsidiaries and independent contractors, such as banks deploying independent call centers, oil companies using drilling contractors, and tech platforms connecting consumers to app developers. It is widely believed that firms can avoid third- party liability for many laws by outsourcing or creating subsidiaries.

This Article shows that common narratives of the demise of third-party liability are incomplete. Respondeat ...


Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis Sep 2020

Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis

Faculty Scholarship

Major index fund operators have been criticized as ineffective stewards of the firms in which they are now the largest shareholders. While scholars debate whether this passivity is a serious problem, index funds’ generally docile approach to ownership is broadly acknowledged.

However, this Article argues that the notion that index funds are passive owners overlooks an important dimension in which index funds have demonstrated outspoken, confrontational, and effective stewardship. Specifically, we document that index funds have taken a leading role in challenging management and voting
against directors in order to advance board diversity and corporate sustainability. We show that index ...


Little Power Struggles Everywhere: Attacks On The Administrative State At The Securities And Exchange Commission, Roberta S. Karmel Apr 2020

Little Power Struggles Everywhere: Attacks On The Administrative State At The Securities And Exchange Commission, Roberta S. Karmel

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Value Tracing And Priority In Cross-Border Group Bankruptcies: Solving The Nortel Problem From The Bottom Up, Edward Janger, Stephan Madaus Apr 2020

Value Tracing And Priority In Cross-Border Group Bankruptcies: Solving The Nortel Problem From The Bottom Up, Edward Janger, Stephan Madaus

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Compliance Elites, Miriam Baer Apr 2020

Compliance Elites, Miriam Baer

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Foundation Regulation In Our Age Of Impact, Dana Brakman Reiser Apr 2020

Foundation Regulation In Our Age Of Impact, Dana Brakman Reiser

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The New Gatekeepers: Private Firms As Public Enforcers, Rory Van Loo Apr 2020

The New Gatekeepers: Private Firms As Public Enforcers, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

The world’s largest businesses must routinely police other businesses. By public mandate, Facebook monitors app developers’ privacy safeguards, Citibank audits call centers for deceptive sales practices, and Exxon reviews offshore oil platforms’ environmental standards. Scholars have devoted significant attention to how policy makers deploy other private sector enforcers, such as certification bodies, accountants, lawyers, and other periphery “gatekeepers.” However, the literature has yet to explore the emerging regulatory conscription of large firms at the center of the economy. This Article examines the rise of the enforcer-firm through case studies of the industries that are home to the most valuable ...


Federal Rules Of Platform Procedure, Rory Van Loo Apr 2020

Federal Rules Of Platform Procedure, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

Tech platforms serve as private courthouses for disputes about speech, lodging, commerce, elections, and reputation. After receiving allegations of defamatory content in top search results, Google must decide between protecting one person’s public image and another’s profits or speech. Amazon adjudicates disputes between consumers and third-party merchants about defective or counterfeit items. For many small businesses, layoffs and bankruptcy hang in the balance. This Article uncovers the processes that these platforms use to resolve disputes, and proposes reforms. Other powerful businesses that intermediate, such as credit card companies ruling on a disputed charge between a merchant and consumer ...


Detecting Corporate Environmental Cheating, Seema Kakade, Matt Haber Jan 2020

Detecting Corporate Environmental Cheating, Seema Kakade, Matt Haber

Faculty Scholarship

As evidenced by the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, corporations cheat on environmental regulations. Such scandals have created a surge in the academic literature in a wide range of areas, including corporate law, administrative law, and deterrence theory. This article furthers that literature by focusing on one particular area of corporate cheating—the ability to learn of the cheating in the first place. Detecting corporate cheating requires significant information about corporate behavior, activity, and output. Indeed, most agencies have broad statutory authority to collect such information from corporations, through targeted records requests, and inspection. However, authority is different from ability. The ...


Delaware's New Competition, William J. Moon Jan 2020

Delaware's New Competition, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

According to the standard account in American corporate law, states compete to supply corporate law to American corporations, with Delaware dominating the market. This “competition” metaphor in turn informs some of the most important policy debates in American corporate law.

This Article complicates the standard account, introducing foreign nations as emerging lawmakers that compete with American states in the increasingly globalized market for corporate law. In recent decades, entrepreneurial foreign nations in offshore islands have used permissive corporate governance rules and specialized business courts to attract publicly traded American corporations. Aided in part by a select group of private sector ...


Buyer Beware: Variation And Opacity In Esg And Esg Index Funds, Dana Brakman Reiser, Anne Tucker Jan 2020

Buyer Beware: Variation And Opacity In Esg And Esg Index Funds, Dana Brakman Reiser, Anne Tucker

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Proceduralist Inversion–A Response To Skeel, Edward Janger, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2020

The Proceduralist Inversion–A Response To Skeel, Edward Janger, Adam J. Levitin

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Three Conceptions Of Corporate Crime (And One Avenue For Reform), Miriam H. Baer Jan 2020

Three Conceptions Of Corporate Crime (And One Avenue For Reform), Miriam H. Baer

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Race To The Middle, William Magnuson Jan 2020

The Race To The Middle, William Magnuson

Faculty Scholarship

How does federalism affect the quality of law? It is one of the fundamental questions of our constitutional system. Scholars of federalism generally fall into one of two camps on the question. One camp argues that regulatory competition between states leads to a “race to the bottom,” in which states adopt progressively worse laws in order to pander to powerful constituencies. The other camp, conversely, argues that regulatory competition leads to a “race to the top,” incentivizing states to adopt progressively better laws in the search for more desirable outcomes for their constituencies. Despite their apparent differences, however, both the ...


Schrodinger's Corporation: The Paradox Of Religious Sincerity In Heterogeneous Corporations, Catherine A. Hardee Jan 2020

Schrodinger's Corporation: The Paradox Of Religious Sincerity In Heterogeneous Corporations, Catherine A. Hardee

Faculty Scholarship

Consider a corporation where one group of shareholders holds sincere religious beliefs and another group of shareholders does not share those beliefs but, for a price, will allow the religious shareholders to request a religious exemption to a neutrally applicable law on behalf of the corporation. The corporation is potentially both religiously sincere and insincere at the same time. A claim by the corporation for a religious accommodation requires the court to solve the paradox created by this duality and to declare the corporation, as a whole, either sincere or insincere in its beliefs. Although the Supreme Court and scholars ...


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


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 ...


Taking Compliance Seriously, John Armour, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Geeyoung Min Jan 2020

Taking Compliance Seriously, John Armour, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship

How can we ensure corporations play by the “rules of the game” – that is, laws encouraging firms to avoid socially harmful conduct? Corporate compliance programs play a central role in society’s current response. Prosecutors give firms incentives – through discounts to penalties – to implement compliance programs that guide and monitor employees’ behavior. However, focusing on the incentives of firms overlooks the perspective of managers, who decide how much firms invest in compliance.

We show that stock-based pay, ubiquitous for corporate executives, creates systematic incentives to short-change compliance. Compliance is a long-term investment for firms, whereas managers’ time horizon is truncated ...


Covid-19 As A Force Majeure In Corporate Transactions, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Covid-19 As A Force Majeure In Corporate Transactions, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This paper surveys the use of pandemic-related provisions in Material Adverse Effects ("MAE") provisions in a large data set of publicly disclosed M&A transactions spanning the years 2003-2020. We document a trend towards greater use of such provisions, taking off particularly after the H1N1 crisis in 2009, and spiking again in late 2019 and early 2020. These terms are invariably located in the exclusions/carve-outs to the MAE, and they are overwhelmingly accompanied by "disproportionate effects" language that tends to dampen the effect of the carve out. There is little discernible statistical relationship between the inclusion of a pandemic-related carve-out and the inclusion of a reverse termination fee ("RTF") granting optionality to the buyer; but when an RTF is present, its magnitude tends to be smaller in the absence of any pandemic-specific carve-out, suggesting some degree of observational complementarity between these terms.


Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon Garrett, Jeffrey Gordon, Geeyoung Min Jan 2020

Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon Garrett, Jeffrey Gordon, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship

What role do corporate boards play in compliance? Compliance programs are internal enforcement programs, whereby firms train, monitor and discipline employees with respect to applicable laws and regulations. Corporate enforcement and compliance failures could not be more high-profile, and have placed boards in the position of responding to systemic problems. Both case law on boards’ fiduciary duties and guidance from prosecutors suggest that the board should have a continuing role in overseeing compliance activity. Yet very little is actually known about the role of boards in compliance. This paper offers the first empirical account of public companies’ engagement with compliance ...


Designing Business Forms To Pursue Social Goals, Ofer Eldar Jan 2020

Designing Business Forms To Pursue Social Goals, Ofer Eldar

Faculty Scholarship

The long-standing debate about the purpose and role of business firms has recently regained momentum. Business firms face growing pressure to pursue social goals and benefit corporation statutes proliferate across many U.S. states. This trend is largely based on the idea that firms increase long-term shareholder value when they contribute (or appear to contribute) to society. Contrary to this trend, this Article argues that the pressing issue is whether policies to create social impact actually generate value for third-party beneficiaries—rather than for shareholders. Because it is difficult to measure social impact with precision, the design of legal forms ...


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

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

Faculty Scholarship

A key question at the intersection of state and federal law is whether corporations 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 Securities Act of 1933 (“1933 Act”). The decision held that the internal affairs doctrine, which is the bedrock of U.S. corporate law, does not permit charter and bylaw ...


The Law Of Corporate Investigations And The Global Expansion Of Corporate Criminal Enforcement, Jennifer Arlen, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2020

The Law Of Corporate Investigations And The Global Expansion Of Corporate Criminal Enforcement, Jennifer Arlen, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

The United States model of corporate crime control, developed over the last two decades, couples a broad rule of corporate criminal liability with a practice of reducing sanctions, and often withholding conviction, for firms that assist enforcement authorities by detecting, reporting, and helping prove criminal violations. This model, while subject to skepticism and critiques, has attracted interest among reformers in overseas nations that have sought to increase the frequency and size of their enforcement actions. In both the U.S. and abroad, insufficient attention has been paid to how laws controlling the conduct of corporate investigations are critical to regimes ...


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

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

Faculty Scholarship

The phenomenon of “sticky boilerplate” causing inefficient contract terms to persist exists across a variety of commercial contract types. One explanation for this failure to revise suboptimal terms is that the key agents on these transactions, including attorneys and investment bankers, are short sighted; their incentives are to get the deal done rather than ensure that they are using the best terms possible for their clients. Moreover, these agents face a first mover disadvantage that deters unilateral revisions to inefficient terms. If agency costs are indeed driving the stickiness phenomenon, we expect that the pace of revision will vary across ...


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 ...


Global Investor-Director Survey On Climate Risk Management, Kristin Bresnahan, Jens Frankenreiter, Sophie L'Helias, Brea Hinricks, Nina Hodzic, Julian Nyarko, Sneha Pandya, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Global Investor-Director Survey On Climate Risk Management, Kristin Bresnahan, Jens Frankenreiter, Sophie L'Helias, Brea Hinricks, Nina Hodzic, Julian Nyarko, Sneha Pandya, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Changes in the global climate are having profound impacts on business operations, governance, and organizational management around the world. Boards of directors are searching for ways to account for these changes as they help guide their organizations, and investors are increasingly concerned about how these changes might impact their portfolios. This global survey, conducted by a team of researchers at the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and experts at LeaderXXchange, seeks to understand how – if at all – institutional investors and board directors incorporate climate-related issues in their investment decision making and ...


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 ...


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 ...


Corporate Control, Dual Class, And The Limits Of Judicial Review, Zohar Goshen, Assaf Hamdani Jan 2020

Corporate Control, Dual Class, And The Limits Of Judicial Review, Zohar Goshen, Assaf Hamdani

Faculty Scholarship

Companies with a dual-class structure have increasingly been involved in high-profile battles over the reallocation of control rights. Google, for instance, sought to entrench its founders’ control by recapital­izing from a dual-class into a triple-class structure. The CBS board, in contrast, attempted to dilute its controlling shareholder by distributing a voting stock dividend that would empower minority shareholders to block a merger it perceived to be harmful. These cases raise a fundamental question at the heart of corporate law: What is the proper judicial response to self-dealing claims regarding reallocations of corporate control rights?

This Article shows that the ...