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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new book entitled The Corporation as Technology: Re-Calibrating Corporate Governance for a Sustainable Future and written by Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has been released today by Oxford University Press.
Here’s OUP’s description:
“Recent decades have witnessed environmental, social, and economic upheaval, with major corporations contributing to a host of interconnected crises. The Corporation as Technology examines the dynamics of the corporate form and corporate law that incentivize harmful excesses and presents an alternative vision to render corporate activities more sustainable.
“The corporate form is commonly described as a set of fixed characteristics that strongly prioritize shareholders’ interests. This book subverts this widely held belief, suggesting that such rigid depictions reinforce harmful corporate pathologies, including excessive risk-taking and lack of regard for environmental and social impacts. Instead, corporations are presented as a dynamic legal technology that policymakers can re-calibrate over time in response to changing landscapes.
“This book explores the theoretical and practical ramifications of this alternative vision, focusing on how the corporate form can help secure an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future.”
Drawing upon corporate governance structures and reform efforts from around the world, Professor Bruner studies these issues in three parts, entitled, respectively, “The Dynamism of the Corporation,” “Re-Conceptualizing the Corporation,” and “Harnessing the Corporation.” Further details here.
A research handbook co-edited by Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has garnered significant acclaim in a review just published in a leading academic journal.
Subject of the review is The Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press 2019), which Professor Bruner co-edited with Professor Beate Sjåfjell of the University of Oslo in Norway. As previously posted, this 700-plus-page book includes 50 chapters, by 60 contributors from around the world. In addition to joining his co-editor in drafting the introduction and conclusion, Bruner also wrote chapter 36, “Leaders or Laggards? Corporate Sustainability in Hong Kong and Singapore.”
The new review of this work, written by Fordham Law Professor Martin Gelter, appears in an official, peer-reviewed journal of the American Sociological Association, at 51 Contemporary Sociology 154 (2022). Gelter’s review calls the Bruner-Sjåfjell Handbook a “monumental collection,” and concludes:
“The book is an invaluable resource for research on sustainability issues and on comparative corporate law in general. Any serious library covering these fields should have this book, and any researcher will have to address multiple ideas in the volume.”
Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published “Corporate Governance Reform and the Sustainability Imperative” at 131 Yale Law Journal 1217 (2022).
Bruner argues that achieving sustainability will require reformulating corporate governance debates and revisiting features of the corporate form that incentivize companies to engage in excessive risk-taking and to externalize environmental and social costs onto society and the world. His Feature critiques the predominantly disclosure-based proposals garnering the most attention in the United States, contrasting them with more fundamental developments in other countries including France, Germany, Norway, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Here’s the abstract:
“Recent years have witnessed a significant upsurge of interest in alternatives to shareholder-centric corporate governance, driven by a growing sustainability imperative—widespread recognition that business as usual, despite the short-term returns generated, could undermine social and economic stability and even threaten our long-term survival if we fail to grapple with associated costs. We remain poorly positioned to assess corporate governance reform options, however, because prevailing theoretical lenses effectively cabin the terms of the debate in ways that obscure many of the most consequential possibilities. According to prevailing frameworks, our options essentially amount to board-versus-shareholder power, and shareholder-versus-stakeholder purpose. This narrow perspective obscures more fundamental corporate dynamics and potential reforms that might alter the incentives giving rise to corporate excesses in the first place.
“This Feature argues that promoting sustainable corporate governance will require reforming fundamental features of the corporation that incentivize excessive risk-taking and externalization of costs, and presents an alternative approach more conducive to meaningful reform. The Feature first reviews prevailing conceptions of the corporation and corporate law to analyze how they collectively frame corporate governance debates. It then presents a more capacious and flexible framework for understanding the corporate form and evaluating how corporate governance might be reformed, analyzing the features of the corporate form that strongly incentivize risk-taking and externalization of costs, discussing the concept of sustainability and its implications for corporate governance, and assessing how the corporate form and corporate law might be re-envisioned to produce better results.
“The remainder of the Feature uses this framework to evaluate the proposals garnering the most attention today, and to direct attention toward the broader landscape of reforms that become visible through this wider conceptual lens. Recent reform initiatives typically rely heavily on disclosure, which may be an essential predicate to meaningful reform, yet too often is treated as a substitute for it. The Feature then assesses more ambitious reform initiatives that re-envision the board of directors, and rethink underlying incentive structures—including by imposing liability on shareholders themselves, in limited and targeted ways, to curb socially harmful risk-taking while preserving socially valuable efficiencies of the corporate form. The Feature concludes that until we scrutinize the fundamental attributes of the corporate form and the decision-making incentives they produce by reference to long-term sustainability, effective responses to the interconnected environmental, social, and economic crises we face today will continue to elude us.”
The full article is available here.
Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, co-presented an online seminar for law students in the United States and Ireland last week, on the subject of corporate sustainability disclosures. Bruner’s presentation was titled “Non-Financial Disclosure Around the World.”
Bruner co-presented the seminar session with with Professor Brett McDonnell, who holds the Dorsey & Whitney Chair in Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Convening the event were another member of the Minnesota Law faculty, Professor Claire Hill, holder of the James L. Krusemark Chair in Law, and Professor Joe McGrath, a member of the faculty of the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin.