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.

Georgia Law faculty take part in ASIL Midyear Meeting and Research Forum

From left, Melissa J. Durkee, Diane Marie Amann, Kathleen A. Doty, and Harlan G. Cohen

Four members of our University of Georgia School of Law faculty took part last weekend in the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting and Research Forum at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles.

Diane ASIL► Professor Diane Marie Amann, the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center, presented “Glimpses of Women at the Tokyo Tribunal,” which will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming volume commemorating this week’s 70th anniversary of the judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Amann, who is serves as a Counselor of the American Society of International Law, also took part in the Society’s Executive Council meeting.

Professor Harlan G. Cohen, holder of the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professorship in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, participated in the meeting of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law. He was elected to the Board last year and serves as Editor of AJIL’s International Decisions section.MJDurkee

◄ Professor Melissa J. Durkee presented her work, “The New Functional Sovereignty: Private Authority in Global Governance,” on a panel exploring the roles of corporations in international law.

IMG_7538

► Center Director Kathleen A. Doty offered career advice to current law students and recent graduates as part of ASIL’s International Law Speed Networking. This event was part of a series of offerings at the Midyear Meeting aimed at professional development for students and early-career lawyers.

 

Professor Bruner compares UK, US business practices in new “Research Handbook on Fiduciary Law”

Christopher M. Bruner, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has just published “Opting Out of Fiduciary Duties and Liabilities in U.S. and U.K. Business Entities.” It appears as a chapter in a 2018 Edward Elgar volume, entitled Research Handbook on Fiduciary Law, and edited by D. Gordon Smith, Dean and Glen L. Farr Professor of Law at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School,  and Andrew S. Gold, Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law.

Here’s the SSRN abstract for Bruner’s contribution:

This chapter explores the extent of contractual freedom to opt out of fiduciary duties and liabilities in U.S. and U.K. business entities, including the U.S. corporation, general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, and limited liability company, and the U.K. limited company, general partnership, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership.

Discernible commonalities emerge from this comparative analysis. Notably, corporate law readily permits reducing liability exposure for breaches of duty in each jurisdiction, yet provides only quite limited capacity to carve back at the substance of the duties themselves. Meanwhile, unincorporated entities in each jurisdiction offer substantially greater latitude to limit the duties themselves, in some cases resulting in purely contractual business relationships.

Yet substantial differences are also apparent. U.S. corporate law permits greater insulation from liability exposure, and U.S. unincorporated entities generally provide clearer and more extensive latitude to eliminate default duties of loyalty and care outright (particularly in Delaware). One cannot comprehensively declare that U.S. law universally deviates further from the “fiduciary” governance paradigm, however, because the U.K. limited liability partnership has gone further by providing an entity form in which no such general default duties apply at all.

The analysis raises some complex comparative questions, and the chapter closes with brief reflections on why such trends, commonalities, and divergences may have arisen.