New Cambridge corporate law, governance, and sustainability handbook coedited by Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner

Cambridge University Press has just published a handbook co-edited by Professor Christopher Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Entitled The Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability, the 700-plus-page book consists of 50 chapters, by 60 contributors from around the world.

Bruner and his co-editor, Professor Beate Sjåfjell of the University of Oslo in Norway, wrote the the introduction and conclusion, which establish the conceptual framing for the project, and each also contributed substantive chapters. Bruner’s is chapter 36, “Leaders or Laggards? Corporate Sustainability In Hong Kong And Singapore.”

The book received some strong endorsements, including from senior officials in the European Commission; the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program; a world-leading climate scientist; and prominent law and business scholars from around the world. It features forewords by Mervyn King, an emeritus professor and judge in South Africa who is a global leader in sustainability-oriented reporting, and Vanderbilt Law Professor Margaret Blair, an economist and co-author of one of the more prominent theories of corporate governance.

The Handbook is available here.

Georgia Law Professor MJ Durkee publishes “Interstitial Space Law” at Washington University Law Review

Professor Melissa J. Durkee, the J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published her article “Interstitial Space Law” in the latest issue of the Washington University Law Review.

Here’s the abstract:

“Conventionally, customary international law is developed through the actions and beliefs of nations. International treaties are interpreted, in part, by assessing how the parties to the treaty behave. This Article observes that these forms of uncodified international law—custom and subsequent treaty practice—are also developed through a nation’s reactions, or failures to react, to acts and beliefs that can be attributed to it. I call this ‘attributed lawmaking.’

“Consider the new commercial space race. Innovators like SpaceX and Blue Origin seek a permissive legal environment. A Cold-War-era treaty does not seem adequately to address contemporary plans for space. The treaty does, however, attribute private sector activity to nations. The theory of attributed lawmaking suggests that the attribution renders the activity of private actors in space relevant to the development of binding international legal rules. As a doctrinal matter, private activity that is attributed to the state becomes “state practice” for the purpose of treaty interpretation or customary international law formation. Moreover, as a matter of realpolitik, private actors standing in the shoes of the state can force states into a reactive posture, easing the commercially preferred rules into law through the power of inertia and changes to the status quo. Attributed lawmaking is not a new phenomenon but it may have increasing significance at a time when multilateral lawmaking is at an ebb, lines between public and private entities are blurring, and the question of attribution becomes both more complex and more urgent.”

The article’s also available at SSRN.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents on comparative corporate governance methods at Fordham Law workshop

Christopher Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, took part this past weekend in a 2-day Comparative Corporate Governance Workshop at Fordham Law School in New York.

The  workshop centered around a new volume in progress, Research Handbook on Comparative Corporate Governance (Edward Elgar, forthcoming).

Bruner presented his own draft chapter, “Methods of Comparative Corporate Governance,” and also commented on draft chapters by two other contributors.

Georgia Law Professor Melissa J. Durkee presents in Greece on customary international law, states, corporations and global commons

Professor Melissa J. Durkee, the J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented her international law scholarship in Greece earlier this month.

Durkee spoke on “‘Attributed’ Customary International Law: States, Corporations and the Global Commons” at a panel entitled “Corporations, International Law and Human Rights For Sustainable Development.” The panel formed part of a meeting on “States, Corporations and Commons: Dissonance and Accord,” which took place the day before the start of the annual conference of the European Society of International Law, held this year in Athens, Greece.

Organizing the pre-conference meeting was the International Environmental Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law. It took place at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in northeastern Greece, and featured, in addition to Durkee, scholars from Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

Belgium portion of the Global Governance Summer School concludes with an array of international law topics

LEUVEN – Today marks the final day of classroom sessions of the Georgia Law – Leuven Global Governance School, and the final day students will be resident in Leuven. Students took part in three sessions, which focused on business and human rights, international security governance, and concluded with an overview of challenges to international law and global governance.

First, Dr. Axel Marx (left), Deputy Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, presented on business and human rights. After examining several case studies in which corporate activities adversely affected human rights, participants learned how supply chain and corporate governance structures can affect a business’ ability to manage human rights. Dr. Marx introduced key global governance instruments, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, that can be used to hold states and corporations accountable for human rights violations.

IMG_6489Second, Kathleen Doty (right), Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at University of Georgia School of Law, led an interactive session on global security governance. Professor Doty introduced students to global security governance, including international humanitarian law and arms control law. She explained the development of this body of law, focusing on arms control agreements, and introduced several major regimes and their common features. The students then participated in an exercise; faced with a global security crisis, students were tasked with addressing it via treaty negotiation, illustrating the difficulty of international cooperation.

img_6512.jpgThe final session of the day provided an overview of international perspectives on and challenges to global governance, conducted by Professor Dr. Jan Wouters (left), Director of the Leuven Center for Global Governance Studies and the Co-Director of the Global Governance Summer School. Professor Wouters explained the history of globalization and the increase of economic, environmental, and human interdependence. He then explored challenges to the international system, such as anti-globalism, nationalism, and populism.

Student Ayman Tartir receives his diploma from Axel Marx.

Closing out a successful week of studies, students and faculty gathered at the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe for a concluding reception. Axel Marx and Kathleen Doty presented participants with attestations of completion.

Tomorrow, students from the University of Georgia School of Law will travel to The Hague, where they will visit international tribunals and organizations.

Global Governance Summer School explores developments in climate change and international commerce

LEUVEN – After a full day of professional development briefings yesterday, students at the Georgia Law-Leuven Global Governance School returned to the classroom today. They took part in four lectures exploring developments in climate change and international commerce:

First, Professor Katja Biedenkopf (right), Assistant Professor at Leuven International and European Studies (LINES) at KU Leuven and an expert in European Union environmental and climate policy, addressed climate change. She focused on the international instruments at play, in particular the Paris Agreement. Professor Biedenkopf also highlighted challenges to climate change governance and encouraged students to consider international, regional, and local solutions.

Second, Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge (left), Dean of the University of Georgia School of Law, provided an introduction to international dispute resolution. He led students through a hypothetical cross-border dispute, thereby introducing the architecture of the international dispute resolution framework. He highlighted the differences between arbitration, mediation, and litigation.

Georgia Law professor Usha Rodrigues (right), provided the final two lectures of the day. A corporate governance scholar, she first provided an overview of international economic law and trade, and covered topics such as finance, international monetary policy, investment, tax, and transnational business transactions. She closed the afternoon with an exploration of comparative corporate governance, including how rules have developed across states, and how conflicts between management and shareholders or between majority and minority shareholders are resolved in different contexts.

Tomorrow, students will participate in an international conference on democracy and the rule of law in the European Union, as part of the RECONNECT project. In the meantime, they’ll spend the evening celebrating the 4th of July as expats in Belgium.

Update from Nigeria: attorney Chukwudi Ofili, LLM Class of 2018, reflects on his post-graduation year

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law LLM students, writing on their participation in our LLM degree and about their post-graduate experiences. Author of this post is alumnus Chukwudi Ofili, a member of the Class of 2018.

Chudi photoIt has been an eventful year for me. In January 2018, during my last semester at the University of Georgia, I began a corporate in-house counsel externship – an experiential learning opportunity open to qualified Georgia Law LLM students – at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta There, I had the opportunity to work on issues such as cybersecurity, imports, and Office of Foreign Assets Control compliance.

Following graduation, I took the New York bar examination in July.  When I learned that I had passed, I was in London, participating in the highly selective International Lawyers For Africa (ILFA) 2018 Flagship Secondment Programme (IFSP), which each year places lawyers from various African jurisdictions at highly reputed international law firms and corporations for a period of three months. I was placed with Trinity International LLP, a niche project and corporate finance firm focusing on energy, infrastructure, resources, and industry. During my secondment, I worked on some international transactions, with focus on financing power and infrastructure projects across the African continent.

Chudi speechIFSP was an enriching and exciting experience. It included training programs and networking events that introduced the participants to some of the brightest minds in the international legal market, in diverse practice areas. In particular, the networking opportunities were immense and may not be replicated in our lives on such a scale. I was pleased to selected to deliver the valedictory address for the London IFSP cohort at the ILFA Gala Night, which marked the end of the program.

I am now happy to be back in Nigeria at Bloomfield Law Practice, in the Corporate, Securities, and Finance practice group. I was recently interviewed for an article in THISDAY Newspaper Nigeria Legal Personality of the Week. In the interview, I expressed my hopes for good prospects in 2019. The year is already off to a good start: I’ve just completed a co-authored article,  Recognition and Enforcement of Cross-Border Insolvency; Nigeria in Perspective.

I came to Georgia Law after working with my firm, Bloomfield Law Practice, having graduated with first-class honors from Babcock University in Nigeria. At Georgia Law, I was the recipient of a prestigious graduate research assistantship, and participated in the Business Law Society.

I will always recommend the Georgia Law LLM curriculum, as it is tailored to each student’s career goals; for example, preparing to sit for a U.S. bar exam, or pursuing a concentration. Plus, students come to find out that Athens (which is just about an hour away from Atlanta) is a lovely place for studies, with friendly people.