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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 …


Biopiracy: Using New Laws And Databases To Protect Indigenous Communities, Cleo-Symone Scott Jan 2024

Biopiracy: Using New Laws And Databases To Protect Indigenous Communities, Cleo-Symone Scott

Law Student Publications

Indigenous people have a historical link to those who inhabited a country or region at the time when people of different cultures or origins arrived. Traditionally, indigenous people have a special relationship with their ancestral environments. But their way of living has long been under threat. The land that indigenous people live on is home to over 80% of our planet’s biodiversity, but it continues to be appropriated and plundered due to bioprospecting or, as some call it, biopiracy. Bioprospecting is defined as “the exploration and information gathering of genetic and biochemical material to develop commercial products.” While innovation is …


Racial Targets, Atinuke O. Adediran Jan 2024

Racial Targets, Atinuke O. Adediran

Faculty Scholarship

It is common scholarly and popular wisdom that racial quotas are illegal. However, the reality is that since 2020’s racial reckoning, many of the largest companies have been touting specific, albeit voluntary, goals to hire or promote people of color, which this Article refers to as “racial targets.” The Article addresses this phenomenon and shows that companies can defend racial targets as distinct from racial quotas, which involve a rigid number or proportion of opportunities reserved exclusively for minority groups. The political implications of the legal defensibility of racial targets are significant in this moment in American history, where race …


The Disembodied First Amendment, Nathan Cortez, William M. Sage Feb 2023

The Disembodied First Amendment, Nathan Cortez, William M. Sage

Faculty Scholarship

First Amendment doctrine is becoming disembodied—increasingly detached from human speakers and listeners. Corporations claim that their speech rights limit government regulation of everything from product labeling to marketing to ordinary business licensing. Courts extend protections to commercial speech that ordinarily extended only to core political and religious speech. And now, we are told, automated information generated for cryptocurrencies, robocalling, and social media bots are also protected speech under the Constitution. Where does it end? It begins, no doubt, with corporate and commercial speech. We show, however, that heightened protection for corporate and commercial speech is built on several “artifices” - …


Reforming Shareholder Claims In Isds, Julian Arato, Kathleen Claussen, Jaemin Lee, Giovanni Zarra Jan 2023

Reforming Shareholder Claims In Isds, Julian Arato, Kathleen Claussen, Jaemin Lee, Giovanni Zarra

Articles

ISDS stands alone in empowering shareholders to bring claims for reflective loss (SRL) – meaning claims over harms allegedly inflicted upon the company, but which somehow affect share value. National systems of corporate law and public international law regimes generally bar SRL claims for strong policy reasons bearing on the efficiency and fairness of the corporate form. Though not necessitated by treaty text, nor beneficial in policy terms, ISDS tribunals nevertheless allow shareholders broad and regular access to seek relief for reflective loss. The availability of SRL claims in ISDS ultimately harms States and investors alike, imposing surprise ex post …


The Disembodied First Amendment, Nathan Cortez, William M. Sage Jan 2023

The Disembodied First Amendment, Nathan Cortez, William M. Sage

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

First Amendment doctrine is becoming disembodied—increasingly detached from human speakers and listeners. Corporations claim that their speech rights limit government regulation of everything from product labeling to marketing to ordinary business licensing. Courts extend protections to commercial speech that ordinarily extended only to core political and religious speech. And now, we are told, automated information generated for cryptocurrencies, robocalling, and social media bots are also protected speech under the Constitution. Where does it end? It begins, no doubt, with corporate and commercial speech. We show, however, that heightened protection for corporate and commercial speech is built on several “artifices” - …


Against Settlement In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad Jan 2023

Against Settlement In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad

All Faculty Publications

In Against Settlement, Owen Fiss argued that settlement may not always be the optimal result of civil suits, particularly those that involve novel or ambiguous areas of law or ostensible power imbalances. That work spurred a range of scholarship around the merits and demerits of settlement. And although the settlement versus litigation debate is now almost four decades old, its currency persists in common law systems in which courts are, at times, called upon to expand or even re-envision doctrines or procedural rules. This article revisits that debate. It applies Against Settlement to transnational business and human rights litigation that …


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 …


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 …


Why The Corporation Locks In Financial Capital But The Partnership Does Not, Richard Squire Jan 2022

Why The Corporation Locks In Financial Capital But The Partnership Does Not, Richard Squire

Faculty Scholarship

Each partner in an at-will partnership can obtain a cash payout of his interest at any time. The corporation, by contrast, locks in shareholder capital, denying general payout rights to shareholders unless the charter states otherwise. What explains this difference? This Article argues that partner payout rights reduce the costs of two other characteristics of the partnership: the non-transferability of partner control rights, and the possibility for partnerships to be formed inadvertently. While these characteristics serve valuable functions, they can introduce a bilateral-monopoly problem and a special freezeout hazard unless each partner can force the firm to cash out his …


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 …


Canada's Integrity Regime: The Corporate Grim Reaper, Jessica Tillipman, Samantha Block Jan 2022

Canada's Integrity Regime: The Corporate Grim Reaper, Jessica Tillipman, Samantha Block

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

In 2019, SNC-Lavalin made global headlines after it was revealed that the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, had interfered in the prosecution of the company for the bribery of Libyan officials. Although the scandal was primarily viewed as political, it also highlighted flaws in Canada’s Integrity Regime; specifically, the regime’s unworkable and draconian approach to debarment. This Article will address the pressing need in Canada to modify its debarment remedy and enact a system that more effectively protects the government’s interests. To illuminate the current issues facing Canada’s Integrity Regime, this Article will begin by examining Canada’s debarment system, outlining …


Organizational Conflicts Of Interest: Cautionary Tales, Jessica Tillipman Jan 2022

Organizational Conflicts Of Interest: Cautionary Tales, Jessica Tillipman

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

A recent, high-profile investigation involving McKinsey & Company (McKinsey) and its contracts with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reminded us that organizational conflicts of interest (OCIs) are an integrity issue that never should be written off as a check-the-box exercise during the procurement process. This incident highlighted the need to address critical gaps in this area of the law. This article appeared in the August 2022 issue of Contract Management magazine published by the National Contract Management Association. Used with permission.


The Elastic Corporate Form In International Law, Julian Arato Jan 2022

The Elastic Corporate Form In International Law, Julian Arato

Articles

The corporate form is being distorted by international law. Surprisingly, this is occurring in the law of foreign investment, where one would expect the stability and efficiency of corporate formalities to matter most. The main driver is a highly enforceable mode of treaty-based arbitration known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which affords foreign investors a private right of action to sue sovereign states. Questions of corporate law come up regularly in ISDS. But when addressing them, tribunals have varied widely in their respect for core formalities. This is undermining the basic relationships among all corporate stakeholders—including shareholders, management, creditors, governments, …


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 Governance Gaming: The Collective Power Of Retail Investors, Christina M. Sautter, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci Oct 2021

Corporate Governance Gaming: The Collective Power Of Retail Investors, Christina M. Sautter, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci

Journal Articles

The GameStop saga and meme stock frenzy have shown the pathway to the most disruptive revolution in corporate governance of the millennium. New generations of retail investors use technologies, online forums, and gaming dynamics to coordinate their actions and obtain unprecedented results. Signals indicate that these investors, whom we can dub wireless investors, are currently expanding their actions to corporate governance. Wireless investors' generational characteristics suggest that they will use corporate governance to pursue social and environmental causes. In fact, wireless investors can set in motion asocial movement able to bring business corporations to serve their original partly-private-partly-public purpose. This …


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, …


Long Overdue: Fifth Amendment Protection For Corporate Officers, Tracey Maclin Oct 2021

Long Overdue: Fifth Amendment Protection For Corporate Officers, Tracey Maclin

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court has extended to corporations many of the same constitutional rights that were originally intended to protect people.One notable exception, however, is the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on compulsory self-incrimination.

“Corporations may not take the Fifth.” There is a long line of cases dating back to the start of the twentieth century stating—but never directly holding— that corporations are not protected by the Self-Incrimination Clause.

But the fact that a corporation cannot invoke the Fifth Amendment does not explain why a person who works for a corporation cannot. As a matter of text, the Fifth Amendment draws no distinction …


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 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 …


Lecture In Human Rights: Tax Policy, Global Economics, Labor And Justice In Light Of Covid-19, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Apr 2021

Lecture In Human Rights: Tax Policy, Global Economics, Labor And Justice In Light Of Covid-19, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

International Tax Law has extensive ramifications on the wealth gap between wealthy developed nations and poor developing nations. This divide in prosperity has been made clear again in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing nations are currently ill-equipped to adapt to, and regulate, an equitable system of taxation on a domestic level. A further challenge is the difficulty of ensuring that foreign investors, especially multinational corporations, are able to comply with tax regulations. Developed nations such as the United States and members of the European Union must continue to work with developing nations to reduce tax evasion and …


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 …


The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier Mar 2021

The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier

Articles

Many firms require consumers, employees, and suppliers to sign class action waivers as a condition of doing business with the firm, and the U.S. Supreme Court has endorsed companies’ ability to block class actions through mandatory individual arbitration clauses. Are class action waivers serving the interests of society or are they facilitating socially harmful business practices? This paper synthesizes and extends the existing law and economics literature by analyzing the firms’ incentive to impose class action waivers. While in many settings the firms’ incentive to block class actions may be aligned with maximizing social welfare, in many other settings it …


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 …


Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu Feb 2021

Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu

Articles

The United States is the only large federal country that does not have an explicit way to reduce the economic disparities among more and less developed regions. In Germany, for example, federal revenues are distributed by a formula that takes into account the relative level of wealth of each state (the so-called Finanzausgleich, or fiscal equalization). Similar mechanisms are found in Australia, Canada, India, and other large federal countries. The United States, on the other hand, has no such explicit redistribution. Each state is generally considered equal and sovereign, and the federal government does not distribute revenues to equalize …


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 …