Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner appointed Research Member of European Corporate Governance Institute

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has been appointed a Research Member of the prestigious European Corporate Governance Institute, known as ECGI.

As described on its website, the Brussels-based “ECGI is an international scientific non-profit association providing a forum for debate and dialogue between academics, legislators and practitioners, focusing on major corporate governance issues.” Its “global network of practitioner, academic and institutional members” is “appointed on the basis of their significant contribution to the field of corporate governance study.” EGCI’s press release on today’s new appointments is available here.

In addition to fostering research collaboration among its members, ECGI disseminates scholarship, hosts international events, and spearheads initiatives, including its ongoing project on “Responsible Capitalism.”

Bruner (prior posts) is a scholar of corporate law, corporate governance, comparative law, and sustainability. His books include The Corporation as Technology: Re-Calibrating Corporate Governance for a Sustainable Future (OUP 2022), The Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (co-edited with Beate Sjåfjell) (CUP 2019), Re-Imagining Offshore Finance: Market-Dominant Small Jurisdictions in a Globalizing Financial World (OUP 2016), and Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power (CUP 2013).

Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner presents on corporate risk and sustainability at the University of Oslo

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented on “Corporate Risk, Shareholder Liability, and the Role of Intermediaries” as part of a “Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability” panel at a conference last month at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law in Norway.

Bruner also moderated another session and participated in an invitation-only research-collaboration workshop.

Entitled “The Risks of Unsustainability Conference,” the University of Oslo gathering brought together “academics from various fields to discuss how a research-based concept of risks of sustainability can be placed at the centre of law and policy, in business and finance, to contribute to ensuring a safe and just space for all living beings on this planet,” with the goal of “generat[ing] holistic inclusion of the risks of unsustainability at a systemic level, and unlock[ing] the potential of new modalities of sustainability law.”

In addition to Norway and the United States, the conference welcomed scholars based in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Georgia Law Professor Laura Phillips-Sawyer’s book, “American Fair Trade,” featured on German radio broadcast

Featured recently in a broadcast on a German public radio station was Georgia Law Professor  Laura Phillips-Sawyer, author of American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the ‘New Competition,’ 1890-1940 (Cambridge University Press 2019).

The Deutschland Rundfunk Kultur broadcast by Caspar Dohmen – entitled “Aufstieg und Zerschlagung des Rockefeller-Konzerns,” or “Rise and breakup of the Rockefeller corporation” – profiled John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), an American magnate of the so-called Gilded Age, and, in Dohmen’s words, “the first billionaire.”

Rockefeller, along with Henry M. Flagler and others, founded Standard Oil Co., a corporation that figured in precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court antitrust litigation. This history figures in to Phillips-Sawyer’s book, and she is quoted at length in the broadcast. Some examples:

“The Gilded Age was a time of massive technological change. … There were new big players, but also horizontal mergers where different manufacturers got together and said: Let’s solve the problem of price competition by coordinating and either fixing prices or dividing markets. Partly they were looking for stability in this time of rapid technological change. …”

“If you look at Standard Oil and what Rockefeller and Flagler and his house attorney S.C. Dodd did: A lot of it was creative destruction and smart business strategy! … The oil company also built up a fleet of tankers, first for rail and later for road. … [T]hey made all sorts of innovations that were beneficial to consumers. But then there were moments when they crossed a line and tried to crush their competitors. This is when we need police, surveillance and regulation. You have to enforce the law to keep a market functioning.”

“It took a long time for the case law to change to allow the federal government to intervene in interstate commerce. … A great deal of uncertainty remained about the answer to this question until the New Deal period in the 1930s.”

Georgia Law Professor Bruner serves as commentator at University of Oslo launch of book on business and sustainability

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, served as a commentator Thursday at a book launch hosted by the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo, Norway.

The book, Innovating Business for Sustainability: Regulatory Approaches in the Anthropocene (Elgar 2022) is an essay collection edited by Professors Beate Sjåfjell, University of Oslo, Carol Liao, University of British Columbia in Canada, and Aikaterini Argyrou, Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands. All three co-editors took part in the online launch event. Professor Cecilia Bailliet of the University of Oslo served as commentator along with Georgia Law Professor Bruner.

In a published item regarding the book – which is the second publication under the auspices of Daughters of Themis: International Network of Female Business Scholars – Bruner has written:

“There is growing recognition that the interconnected global crises we face require urgent reforms to the conduct of business, yet the nature and extent of such reforms remain hotly debated. This essential volume compellingly argues that we must embed the concept of sustainability at the very heart of corporate law, and the authors’ expert analyses challenge us to rethink prevailing regulatory approaches in light of the gendered nature of existing structures and the complexity of social-ecological systems.”

Georgia Law Professor Usha Rodrigues in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article on special purpose acquisition companies

Usha Rodrigues, University Professor and M.E. Kilpatrick Chair of Corporate Finance & Securities Law and the University of Georgia School of Law, serving currently as the University of Georgia Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, recently was featured the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The article by reporter Von Roland Linder was entitled “Für hunderte Spacs tickt die Uhr,” or “The clock is ticking for hundreds of spacs” – the last term an acronym for “special purpose acquisition companies,” a corporate law phenomenon about which Rodrigues has written and frequently is quoted.

In Lisbon, Georgia Law Professor Bruner takes part in roundtable on corporations at Global Meeting on Law and Society

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, participated in a roundtable discussion titled “Present and Future of Corporations in Society” at last week’s 7th Global Meeting on Law and Society in Portugal.

The Global Meeting, a quinquennial gathering of the Law & Society Association and other sociolegal organizations from around the world, was held at ISCTE University Institute of Lisbon, with organizational support from DINÂMIA’CET and CIES at ISCTE.

Georgia Law Professor MJ Durkee presents at ComplianceNet 2022, interdisciplinary conference at University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented Friday at the 3-day ComplianceNet 2022 conference at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Durkee’s presentation, entitled “Interpretive Entrepreneurship: How firms use international legal interpretation to modify their compliance obligations,” formed part of a panel on “Legal Interpretation and Ambiguity.” Also on her panel were professors Jennifer Arlen, New York University School of Law, and J.S. Nelson, Harvard Business School.

This was the 3d ComplianceNet conference – an interdisciplinary gathering designed to bring together scholars to study the interaction between rules and human behavior.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents in Pisa, Italy, on his new corporate governance and sustainability book

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented Friday at “The Corporate Form and Society,” a seminar at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy.

Bruner presented his new book, The Corporation as Technology: Re-Calibrating Corporate Governance for a Sustainable Future (Oxford University Press 2022).

Also speaking at the panel, which was chaired by Sant’Anna Professor Giuseppe Martinico, were legal scholars from the University of Parma in Italy and Washington and Lee University, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and Louisiana State University in the United States.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents on corporate governance and sustainability at seminar in Milan, Italy

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented Wednesday at “Corporate Law, Society, and the Planet,” a seminar at Università Bocconi in Milan, Italy.

Bruner’s presentation was entitled “The Corporation as Technology: Re-Calibrating Corporate Governance for a Sustainable Future,” and drew upon his new book of the same name. Also speaking were Bocconi Law Professor Giovanni Strampelli, as well as legal scholars from New York University and Washington and Lee University.

Georgia Law Professors Christopher Bruner and MJ Durkee present during plenary sessions at annual National Business Law Scholars Conference

The University of Georgia School of Law was well represented at the 13th annual National Business Law Scholars Conference, with both Professor Christopher M. Bruner and Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee presenting at plenary sessions:

  • Durkee (above left), who is Georgia Law’s Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, presented at a session entitled “International Law, National Security, and Corporate Law.” Joining her on the panel were Kish Parella of Washington and Lee University School of Law, Tom C.W. Lin of Temple University Beasley School of Law, Evan Criddle of William & Mary Law School, and moderator Megan W. Shaner of University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Held at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the conference brought together more than four dozen scholars from around the United States for two days of discussions on an array of business law topics including, in addition to international law and corporate governance, securities regulation, technology, corporate criminal law, and bankruptcy law.