Glowing review for book Georgia Law Professor Bruner co-edited on corporate governance and sustainability

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.”

Georgia Law Professor Amann post proposes considering new war crimes commission to investigate in Ukraine

Referring to Russia’s invasion last month of Ukraine, as well as the brutal attacks that followed, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann published “Time for a New War Crimes Commission?” Friday at Articles of War, the blog of the Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare, U.S. Military Academy West Point.

Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, began by outlining the limitation that international law rules place on existing tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and European Court of Human Rights, as well as a proposed special tribunal on the crime of aggression. Having thus identified gaps in accountability, she wrote:

“Now and going forward, accountability could be enhanced by setting up a clearinghouse for gathering, cataloging, and preserving evidence, with an aim to eventual prosecutions in multiple national, regional, and international systems. The idea is not new; indeed, a useful model may be found in a Second World War-era institution known as the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC).”

Her post proceeded to sketch the history of this 1943-1948 commission, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. She concluded by calling for a body that would be empowered to carry out the UNWCC’s “core function”:

“specifically, the conduct of investigations aimed at preserving evidence and facilitating criminal prosecutions of suspects at all levels, for all potential offenses, and before any number of national, regional, and international systems willing and able to afford the persons they accuse a full and fair trial.”

The full Articles of War post is here.

Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner publishes in Yale Law Journal on corporate governance, sustainability

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.

Immigrants and rights of free speech, free exercise of religion topic of Georgia Law Review symposium March 18

“Immigrants and the First Amendment: Defining the Borders of Noncitizen Free Speech and Free Exercise Claims” is the title of this year’s annual day-long symposium of the Georgia Law Review, to be held Friday, March 18, in hybrid format at the University of Georgia School of Law. Featured will be a keynote by immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir, the plaintiff in a high-profile federal lawsuit alleging retaliation for activism.

Here’s the concept note:

“Immigration law, as well as immigrant activism, are intersecting with the First Amendment in new and surprising ways. This year’s Georgia Law Review Symposium will bring together a diverse set of voices to discuss these exciting new crossovers, providing a forum to explore the nuances of the First Amendment’s scope as applied to immigrants, immigrant advocates, and potential immigrants outside of the country. This is an area of law that is becoming increasingly more topical, and many questions that arise from these areas remain unanswered or ambiguous.”

Details and registration here for the conference, which will take place in-person in the Larry Walker Room on the 4th floor of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk Hall, and which also welcomes online attendees.

Following opening remarks at 9 a.m., panels will proceed as follows:

9:10-10:35 a.m., “Immigrant Speech and Government Retaliation”

“Despite being entitled to First Amendment rights, immigrants, particularly those without documentation, are highly vulnerable to government suppression of, or retaliation against, their exercise of free speech rights. Recent or ongoing cases in this area include Oldaker v. Giles in the Middle District of Georgia, which concerns first amendment claims brought on behalf of women alleging retaliation for medical abuse at an immigration detention center; and Ragbir v. Homan, which concerns the government’s retaliatory deportation of prominent immigrant rights activists.”

Speaking within that theme on this first panel of the morning will be: Alina Das, Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law; Charles H. Kuck, Managing Partner of Kuck Baxter LLC, an immigration law firm in Atlanta, and an Adjunct Professor at Emory University School of Law; Daniel I. Morales, Associate Professor of Law and George A. Butler Research Professor, University of Houston Law Center; and Clare R. Norins, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic at Georgia Law. Moderating will be Jason A. Cade, who is Associate Dean for Clinical Programs, Experiential Learning and J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, and Community Health Law Partnership Clinic Director at Georgia Law.

10:35 a.m.-12 noon, “Back to the Future: Immigrant Speech Rights Yesterday and Tomorrow”

“From John Lennon to Charlie Chaplin to many less famous immigrants, United States immigration history is riddled with deportation or exclusion decisions based on immigrants’ expression. Looking to the future, it is possible that constitutional free speech rights are best shored up by legislative and administrative solutions.”

Speaking within that theme on this last morning panel will be: Michael Kagan, Joyce Mack Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Jennifer Koh, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law at the Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California; Julia Rose Kraut, author of Threat of Dissent: A History of Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in the United States (Harvard University Press 2020); and Gregory P. Magarian, Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Moderating will be Jonathan Peters, Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, who also holds a courtesy appointment on the Georgia Law faculty.

1-2:20 p.m., “The First Amendment’s Limits Abroad After Trump v. Hawaii: Free Exercise, Executive Power, and Justiciability”

“Trump v. Hawaii is the most recent high-profile iteration of immigration actions allegedly taken on the basis of religion. In addition to exploring first amendment issues respecting the religion of potential migrants, this panel will also cover issues relating to the differences in executive power as it pertains to potential immigrants as opposed to immigrants already on U.S. soil, as well as the difficulties associated with immigrants vindicating asserted constitutional rights from abroad.”

Speaking within that theme on this afternoon panel will be: Christopher Lund, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan; Zachary Price, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law; and Shalini Bhargava Ray, Associate Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law. Moderating will be Nathan S. Chapman, Pope F. Brock Associate Professor in Professional Responsibility at Georgia Law.

2:20-3:15 p.m., “Keynote Address” by Ravi Ragbir, followed by a closing reception.

University of Georgia roundtable “Understanding Ukraine,” with Law Dean Rutledge moderating, set for March 17

Experts from throughout the University of Georgia community will take part in “Understanding Ukraine,” an online roundtable to be held at 12 noon Thursday, March 17.

Moderating the discussion will be Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean and Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law at the law school, and an expert in international dispute settlement.

The following university experts will speak on the implications, from the perspective of their respective disciplines, of Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing armed conflict:

Jeffrey D. Berejikian, Associate Professor of International affairs, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Senior Fellow, Center for International Trade & Security, at the School of Public & International Affairs

Joseph Kellner, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Franklin College of Arts & Sciences

Victoria Hasko, Associate Professor in the Department of Language & Literacy Education at the Mary Frances Early College of Education

Gopinath Munisamy, Distinguished Professor of Marketing at the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

James W. Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Odum School of Ecology

Ralitsa Vassileva, Lecturer at the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Registration for this event here.

Georgia Law at top in international law, Center-administered NATO externship featured in national preLaw magazine

The just-released issue of preLaw magazine places the University of Georgia School of Law among the United States’ top international law curriculums; in so doing, it features an initiative of our Dean Rusk International Law Center.

In an article entitled “25 Most Innovative Law Schools,” author Michelle Weyenberg reports (page 42) on a valued partnership which Georgia Law entered several years ago with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Georgia Law’s “NATO externship,” she writes, “is a full-time, semester-long externship in the legal department of the NATO Allied Command Transformation.” She then describes experiences by our most recent extern, 3L Davis Wright, who worked in-person in Norfolk, Virginia, throughout the Fall 2021 semester (prior post):

“Third-year law student Davis Wright said his experience in the program last semester challenged him and provided an opportunity to make a substantial impact with the intergovernmental military alliance. Wright said he had the opportunity to work on an overhaul of general term and conditions throughout HQ SACT and in its subordinate commands, and to research whether NATO information is protected under U.S. laws against espionage.”

The NATO externship is one of many with international components in Georgia Law’s D.C. Semester in Practice initiative, directed by Georgia Law Professor Jessica Heywood, and also one of our Center’s many Global Externships Overseas and At-Home (GEO/GEA), administered by Sarah Quinn, our Center’s Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic secures final relief for client in case invoking Convention Against Torture

The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals has granted relief to the petitioner in Arellano Herrera, a case on which the Appellate Litigation Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law has worked for over two years.

As detailed in prior posts here and here, in September 2020, Georgia Law students in the Clinic briefed and argued the case, Arellano Herrera v. Barr, to a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Their argument turned on the non-refoulement, or non-return, obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, or CAT. Two months later, the appellate court held that the Board of Immigration Appeals incorrectly had applied the clear error standard when reversing the Immigration Judge’s decision to grant petitioner’s request for withholding of removal.

Subsequently, on remand before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Clinic argued that the Immigration Judge did not clearly err in findings key to the CAT-based claim:

  • 1st, that if returned to Mexico, the petitioner would more likely than not be tortured by cartel members, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials; and
  • 2d, it would be unreasonable to expect the petitioner to relocate within Mexico in order to avoid that torture.

A Board of Immigration Appeals panel has just agreed, thus reinstating the Immigration Judge’s original decision and, as a result, finally affording the petitioner the relief she long had sought.

The Clinic team included 3 students, since graduated from Georgia Law: Jason N. Sigalos, Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV. They worked under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch, the Clinic’s Director, and Anna White Howard, the Clinic’s Counselor in Residence.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents on corporate sustainability disclosure to law students in Ireland and Minnesota

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.

Dean Rusk International Law Center hosts “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” featuring Georgia Law Professors Amann, Cohen, and Durkee

Nearly a hundred members of the University of Georgia School of Law community took part Wednesday in “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” a forum hosted by our Dean Rusk International Law Center and presented by three international law experts on the law school’s faculty.

The armed conflict began on February 24, 2022, when Russian military troops invaded the neighboring state of Ukraine, entering the latter country at points on its northern, eastern, and southern borders. At this writing just a week later, thousands of persons, civilians and combatants alike, reportedly had been killed, and, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, more than a million Ukrainians had been forcibly displaced.

At Wednesday’s forum, each of the three Georgia Law professors first offered a brief overview of a particular aspect of the armed conflict:

  • Our Center’s Director, Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is also Associate Dean for International Programs and Allen Post Professor, began by outlining the international rules that have outlawed aggressive war – that is, one country’s unjustified invasion of another – since the adoption of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations. She explained why reasons that Russia has put forward do not constitute legally valid justifications for the invasion, and further emphasized the threat that Russia’s actions place on the international rules-based order that came into being after the Allied victory in World War II. In so doing, Durkee cited a UN General Assembly resolution, adopted Wednesday by a huge majority of votes, which condemned Russia’s actions as violative of this order.
  • Next came Harlan Grant Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and one of our Center’s 2 Faculty Co-Directors. Cohen focused on economic sanctions that have been levied against Russia in the last week, by individual countries including the United States and also by international organizations including the European Union. While noting that these types of economic actions had been developed in response to Iran’s nuclear program, Cohen stressed that the extent and impact of the sanctions already imposed against Russia is unprecedented.
  • Then followed our Center’s other Faculty Co-Director, Diane Marie Amann, who is also Regents’ Professor of International Law and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She addressed international humanitarian law, the body of law concerned with the ways that armies and armed groups actually conduct the war. She underscored that this body of law concerns itself with all sides of the conflict, regardless of who started the conflict: fighters on either side may be found liable for violations, and thus charged with war crimes. Amann concluded with a look at forums already engaged to review legal issues arising out of the war, among them the European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Court, and International Court of Justice.

The forum concluded with a lively and wide-ranging question-and-answer period.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen publishes introduction to AJIL Unbound symposium

Harlan Grant Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, published “Introduction to the Symposium on Gregory Shaffer, ‘Governing the Interface of U.S.-China Trade Relations'” in 116 AJIL Unbound 38 (2022).

Professor Cohen also helped organize and edit the symposium, in which numerous scholars offer commentary on a 2021 American Journal of International Law article by Shaffer, who is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California-Irvine, and President-Elect of the American Society of International Law.