I've been told I need to engage my scholarly critics more constructively. OK. I'll. Speak. More. Slowly.— Evil Professor (@dandrezner) October 31, 2014
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) invites inquiries, nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the UCLA School of Law.
Founded in 1949, the UCLA School of Law is the youngest of the top 20 law schools in the country and is committed to advancing the field of law through strong traditions of progressive teaching, influential scholarship and innovation. One of UCLA’s 11 professional schools, the school has approximately 180 full-time and part-time faculty (of whom 65 are tenure track) who teach approximately 1,100 students enrolled in Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) programs. The school houses many research centers in such areas as business law; climate change; international and comparative law; food law; real estate; and sexual orientation and gender identity law; and it offers academic specializations in business law and policy; critical race studies; entertainment, media, and intellectual property law; law and philosophy; and public interest law and policy. Eight concurrent degree programs allow students to pursue a J.D. along with a degree in African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Management, Philosophy, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning. UCLA law faculty are recognized worldwide for their contributions to scholarship, teaching and law reform in a broad spectrum of fields that have significant societal impact – including constitutional law, civil rights and critical race studies, environmental law and policy, criminal law, corporate law, public interest law, employment law, international law and intellectual property.
As the chief executive and academic officer for the school, the dean sets the standard for intellectual engagement and accomplishment by providing strategic vision for and operational leadership of the academic programs. The dean works to advance legal scholarship and education – promoting initiatives within and outside UCLA; enhancing excellence through diversity in educational programs and faculty and student recruitment; and linking the work of law faculty and students to other disciplines, communities and interests within and outside the academy. He/she serves as the school’s public voice, articulating its contributions to local, state, regional, national and international communities and pursuing an aggressive development program to build the school’s resources. Reporting to the executive vice chancellor and provost, he/she serves on the deans council and the council of professional school deans, collaborating with the chancellor, executive vice chancellor and provost, vice chancellors and vice provosts, deans and department chairs at UCLA and across the University of California system.
Ideal candidates will be nationally recognized with demonstrated leadership and administrative experience and a strong commitment to legal education and scholarship. Minimum requirements include a record of distinguished scholarly accomplishment and intellectual leadership in the field of law; substantial administrative leadership; success in external and alumni relations and development; an established record of advancing diversity; and credentials that merit appointment at the rank of full professor.
Situated on 419 acres, five miles from the Pacific Ocean, UCLA is enriched by the cultural diversity of the dynamic greater Los Angeles area, as well as the geographic advantages of Southern California. One of the world’s preeminent public research universities, UCLA is an international leader in breadth and quality of academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs, with more than 4,000 faculty members who teach approximately 40,000 students in the College of Letters and Science and 11 professional schools. UCLA is consistently ranked among the top institutions nationally for research funding, having generated an average of $1 billion in research grants and contracts annually over the past four years.
Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made. To be ensured full consideration, please email a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to LawDeanSearch@conet.ucla.edu by January 16, 2015. Address inquiries to Traci Considine, manager of executive recruitment in the Office of the Chancellor (310-206-8003).
The University of California is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity, and seeks candidates committed to a campus climate that supports equity and inclusion.
The Chamber of Commerce thinks so and I'm inclined to agree.
As most of my readers probably know, constitutional law is the high rent district in the law school pecking order. So when a con law professor stoops to discuss corporate law topics, attention must be paid.* Especially when he's right:
The fee shifting bylaw will strengthen the position of the corporation in negotiations with class action lawyers, who will now effectively face higher litigation costs if they lose. Consequently, fewer frivolous lawsuits may be filed. It is true that the rule may also deter some meritorious suits, but the rule can still be a good one if the net effect helps shareholders. The question is whether it is more likely that the corporation will choose a rule on litigation costs that will more likely benefit their own shareholders than the general American rule in litigation under which each side bears their own costs.
In my view, corporations are likely to make the better choice about whether a fee shifting rule should be adopted or not for their particular sets of lawsuits. Shareholders and corporations share common interests in deterring frivolous lawsuits. To be sure, corporate officials, unlike shareholders also want to avoid meritorious ones. But their ability to adopt a litigation rule that unduly favors their interests is limited by the power of shareholders. First, a majority of shareholders can amend the bylaw and eliminate fee shifting. (As Professor Stephen Bainbridge notes, there is uncertainty about whether a board of directors could then overturn shareholders’ amendment under Delaware law. I think here Delaware law should indeed be amended to permit shareholders to prevent such a back and forth). Second, shareholders can take account of the rule in their decision to buy or sell the stock, and institutional shareholders with large holdings can make this more than a theoretical possibility, bringing pressure to choose the better rule.
Kindly go read the whole thing.
* I kid, of course. Some of my best friends are con law profs.
Randi Val Morrison makes a good argument for "tolerance of multiple views and alternative structures based on what the board believes to be optimal under the circumstances," citing yours truly.
The article focuses on social psychology, but the same results doubtless would be found in any academic discipline.
Roberta Romano has posted "The Market for Corporate Law Redux" (October 19, 2014). Forthcoming in Francesco Parisi, ed., Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2514650:
Abstract: Corporations operate in numerous markets -- product markets, labor markets, capital markets. This chapter focuses on the market that is the prerequisite for firms’ successful operation in all other markets, as it is the market that frames their organizational structure and governance: the market for corporate law. In the United States, two features of the legal landscape have informed such a conceptualization of corporate law as a product: (1) corporate law is the domain of the states rather than the national government; and (2) under the internal affairs doctrine, the state whose corporate law governs a firm is the state of its statutory domicile. This arrangement provides firms with a choice, they can select their governing law from among the states regardless of their physical location, hence the notion that states offer a product that corporations purchase, by means of incorporation fees (referred to as franchise taxes). For the past century, remarkably, one small state, Delaware, has been the market leader, serving as the domicile for the overwhelming majority of U.S. corporations. The debate over the market for corporate law has focused, in large part, on whether the phenomenon of Delaware’s dominance is for the better.
The first part of the chapter analyzes the dynamics of the U.S. market for corporate law, which can best be characterized as states competing for corporate charters, along with data pertinent to the question of whom this market organization benefits -- managers or shareholders -- and explanations why Delaware has had a persistent and commanding position. The focus is on the market for public corporations, given their relative importance to the economy, the more extensive literature, and space limitations for this chapter. The second part of the chapter turns to explain Delaware’s persistence as the preeminent incorporation state. This is a distinctive feature of U.S. corporate law. There are other federal systems of corporate law, but a similar “Delaware” phenomenon does not exist. The chapter concludes with a summary and suggestions for future research.
I include the table of contents below the fold, as it does a great job of showing the breadth and reach of this very important review and critique of the literature.
Edward Rock has posted Institutional Investors in Corporate Governance (October 15, 2014). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-37. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2512303:
Abstract: This chapter of the Oxford Handbook on Corporate Law and Governance examines the role of institutional investors in corporate governance and the role of regulation in encouraging institutional investors to become active stewards. I approach these topics through asking what lessons we can draw from the U.S. experience for the E.U.’s 2014 proposed amendments to the Shareholder Rights Directive.I begin by defining the institutional investor category, and summarizing the growth of institutional investors’ equity holdings over time. I then briefly survey how institutional investors themselves are governed and how they organize share voting. This leads me to two central questions: (a) why, over the last twenty five years, have institutional investors not fulfilled the optimists’ hopes?; and (b) can the core incentive problems that subvert Institutional Investor activism be cured by regulation? The U.S. experience, in which substantial deregulation has led to only modest increases in shareholder activism, suggests that a key explanation for institutional investors’ relative passivity is a fundamental lack of incentives. In considering whether imposing positive obligations on institutional investors is likely to succeed, I examine the disappointing results of the S.E.C.’s long experiment with incentivizing mutual funds to vote their shares. The U.S. experience suggests that the E.U. efforts are likely to be similarly disappointing.
I then examine the important role that hedge funds now play in catalyzing institutional shareholders, and consider some of the risks in relying on such highly incentivized actors.
Despite having a serious flaw (i.e., no cites to yours truly), it is a highly recommended read. Balanced, careful, thoughtful, insightful.
Eric Talley has posted Corporate Inversions and the Unbundling of Regulatory Competition (October 15, 2014). USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS14-32. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2511723:
Abstract: A sizable number of US public companies have recently executed “tax inversions” – acquisitions that move a corporation’s residency abroad while maintaining its listing in domestic securities markets. When appropriately structured, inversions replace American with foreign tax treatment of extraterritorial earnings, often at far lower effective rates. Regulators and politicians have reacted with alarm to the “inversionitis” pandemic, with many championing radical tax reforms. This paper questions the prudence of such extreme reactions, both on practical and on conceptual grounds. Practically, I argue that inversions are simply not a viable strategy for many firms, and thus the ongoing wave may abate naturally (or with only modest tax reforms). Conceptually, I assess the inversion trend through the lens of regulatory competition theory, in which jurisdictions compete not only in tax policy, but also along other dimensions, such as the quality of their corporate law and governance rules. I argue that just as US companies have a strong aversion to high tax rates, they have a strong affinity for strong corporate governance rules, a traditional strength of American corporate law. This affinity has historically given the US enough market power to keep taxes high without chasing off incorporations, because US law specifically bundles tax residency and state corporate law into a conjoined regulatory package. To the extent this market power remains durable, radical tax overhauls would be unhelpful (and even counterproductive). A more blameworthy culprit for inversionitis, I argue, can be found in an unlikely source: Securities Law. Over the last fifteen years, financial regulators have progressively suffused US securities regulations with mandates relating to internal corporate governance matters – traditionally the domain of state law. Those federal mandates, in turn, have displaced and/or preempted state law as a primary source of governance regulation for US-traded issuers. And, because US securities law applies to all listed issuers (regardless of tax residence), this displacement has gradually “unbundled” domestic tax law from corporate governance, eroding the US’s market power in regulatory competition. The most effective elixir for this erosion, then, may also lie in securities regulation. I propose two alternative reform paths: either (a) domestic exchanges should charge listed foreign issuers for their consumption of federal corporate governance policies; or (b) federal law should cede corporate governance back to the states by rolling back many of the governance mandates promulgated over the last fifteen years.
There are some very handy deal diagrams that I likely will swipe borrow when I teach Mergers & Acquisitions in the spring semester. There's also a whole bunch of math, which I just sort of skip over the I do those unpronounceable names in Russian literature. But the conclusion seems sound. In any case, highly recommended (even for the math phobic).
You will perhaps recall Judge Richard Kopf. If not, start here. The Judge recently got crosswise (again) with friend of the blog Rick Hasen who is a good guy and a major scholarly figure despite starting out with two strikes (he's a liberal and he teaches at Irvine). That spat presumably motivated Judge Kopf to post the following request:
I am interested in collecting a list of law professors who litigate in the trial courts of this country while also teaching law. I don’t care whether such litigation is civil or criminal in nature. I don’t care whether the litigation takes place in state or federal court. I understand and appreciate that busy law professors only have so much time. As a result, I don’t expect the list to contain law professors who are constantly in our trial courtrooms. But, I do want to know about law professors who try enough cases on a fairly regular basis that one might conclude that they are presently competent to sit at the first chair representing a client before a jury or a trial judge. ...
Please, please, please, no snark. I honestly have no interest in picking a fight. On the contrary, I am sincerely hoping to recognize and praise law professors who litigate in the many trial courtrooms of our nation while also regularly teaching law.
Without intending to be snarky in any way, I wonder why Judge Kopf is singling out trial lawyer law professors. Are law professors who regularly take the lead in writing briefs and conducting oral arguments in appellate cases not equally worthy of recognition and praise?
More important, are trial lawyers (law professors or not) worthy of recognition and praise? I'm quite serious about that question. Consider the Manhattan Institute's path breaking report Trial Lawyers Inc., which exposed the considerable damage being done to our economy by excessive and abusive litigation:
Trial Lawyers, Inc., while not an annual report per se, presents a snapshot of the lawsuit industry as it exists today. The picture is not pretty. Total tort costs today exceed $200 billion annually, or more than 2% of America’s gross domestic product—a significantly higher percentage than in any other developed nation. Moreover, even as the economy has stagnated and the stock market has plunged, the lawsuit industry’s revenues have continued to skyrocket: in 2001, the last year for which data are available, U.S. tort costs grew by 14.3%. Over the last 30 years, tort costs grew at a compound annual rate of 9.1%; by comparison, the U.S. population grew 1.1% annually, the consumer price index grew 5.0% annually, and the gross domestic product grew 7.6% annually during the same period.
In my home field of corporate law and securities regulation, runaway shareholder litigation has become an enormous impediment to capital formation, as I argued in my article, Corporate Governance and U.S. Capital Market Competitiveness, available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1696303.
Whether or not you agree with me that runaway litigation has reached crisis proportions and therefore calls into serious question any effort to praise trial lawyers, moreover, surely you can agree with me that law schools already devote too much attention to litigation. As I argued in my essay, Reflections on Twenty Years of Law Teaching, available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1122577:
[Law school as taught by] the Socratic method doesn’t really teach you to “think like a lawyer.” At best, it teaches you to think like a litigator.
Consider a typical law student who accepts a [transactional] job at a large firm. She has spent perhaps ninety-five percent of her time in law school reading and discussing cases and law review articles. Once in practice, she will go days or weeks at a time without picking up a case or a law review article. Instead, her days will be filled with drafting, reviewing, and marking up transactional documents, negotiating language with opposing counsel, participating in conference calls, and composing memos, emails, and letters to colleagues and clients.
“Thinking like a lawyer,” as Kingsfield and his ilk would have our graduate do is not very conducive to success in that environment.
In his book, The Terrible Truth About Lawyers, Mark McCormack, founder of the International Management Group, a major sports and entertainment agency, wrote that “it’s the lawyers who: (1) gum up the works; (2) get people mad at each other; (3) make business procedures more expensive than they need to be; and now and then deep-six what had seemed like a perfectly workable arrangement.” McCormack further observed that, “when lawyers try to horn in on the business aspects of a deal, the practical result is usually confusion and wasted time.” He concluded: “the best way to deal with lawyers is not to deal with them at all.”
All of which is why I emphasize not only doctrine but also economics and business. Transactional lawyers must understand the business, financial, and economic aspects of deals so as to draft workable contracts and disclosure documents, conduct due diligence, or counsel clients on issues that require business savvy as well as knowing the law.
I want my students to understand that successful transactional lawyers build their practice by adding value to their clients’ transactions. Instead of thinking like Kingsfield, I want them to learn where the value in a given transaction comes from and how they might add even more value to the deal.
The problem with most law schools is that we have too many litigators and ex-litigators and not enough deal lawyers. So why would Judge Kopf want to contribute to that problem by giving trial lawyer law professors yet more recognition and praise? Why this bias against deal lawyers?
Finally, I suspect Judge Kopf's many fans in the "law school is a scam" crowd will take issue with his list if they stop to think about its implications. Judge Kopf is "only interested in law professors who litigate while they also teach law. Exclude professors who were once trial lawyers but who no longer spend time in the trial courtroom."
Of course, one of the main complaints by the law school scam crowd is that too many law professors spend too much time doing things other than teaching. Given how intensive trial work is, a law professor who is spending much time first chairing cases is a law professor who likely is not spending all that much time preparing for class, mentoring students, and so on.
In sum, without wanting to start a fight--just a discussion, I think Judge Kopf's latest project doesn't make much sense to me.
At a Democratic rally in Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton’s attempt to attack “trickle-down economics,” resulted in a spectacularly odd statement.
Clinton defended raising the minimum wage saying “Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs, they always say that.”
She went on to state that businesses and corporations are not the job creators of America. “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” the former Secretary of State said.
WTF? Who does she think creates jobs? Who does she think does?
Even the liberal-leaning Washington Post managed to get this one right:
It makes for a less popular stump speech, but large firms are a vital player when it comes to job creation. Over the past two decades, for example, small and mid-sized businesses have held a larger share of the country’s overall employment (29 percent and 27 percent, respectively) than they have of total jobs added (16 percent and 19 percent). During the same period, companies with more than 500 workers employed about 45 percent of the workforce yet contributed 65 percent of the jobs created since 1990.
In other words, not only do corporations create jobs, the biggest ones are the best at doing so.
So once again, Hillary lied. Why am I not surprised?