Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

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Foreword

Berle VIII: Benefit Corporations and the Firm Commitment Universe

Benefit corporation law is a critical tool to allow private capital to be invested in a manner that creates shared and durable value for everyone.  But a tool is only as good as the person who uses it. As highlighted in Rick Alexander’s essay, shareholders must understand the value of firm commitment, and, more importantly, […]

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Essay

Saving Investors from Themselves: How Stockholder Primacy Harms Everyone

We face many tough issues including poverty, climate change, social and economic inequality, the cost and quality of education and healthcare, stagnant wages, financial market instability, disease, and food security. Despite the existential threat that these concerns may raise, there is no consensus on whether or how to address them through regulation, taxation, or other […]

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Colloquy

A Conversation with B Lab

This is the panel of people who have been associated with B Lab for various lengths of time, but who really can put practical vision and facts before us in a way that the papers we’ve heard so far, while all really interesting, can’t quite do. All of these papers converge on this subject: what […]

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Articles

The Rights and Wrongs of Shareholder Rights

The company is a legal structure designed to bring together the different parties of a firm—its employees, investors, customers, and suppliers—in the delivery of its corporate purpose. Corporations were established as institutions with autonomous lives—self-standing, legal entities independent of those who worked, financed, and managed them. They were devices to ensure long-term commitment to shared […]

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Corporations and Human Life

In Part I, I address decision-making. How should risk to human life be included in the jurisprudence of corporate decision-making? In terms of finance, how should corporations make net present value decisions when risk to human life is a factor? In terms of law, is there a case for exceptions to the business judgment rule […]

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A Necessary Social Evil: The Indispensability of the Shareholder Value Corporation

This symposium article critically evaluates the developing Post-Shareholder-Value (PSV) paradigm in corporate governance scholarship and practice with particular reference to Professor Colin Mayer’s influential theory of the corporation as a unique, long-term “commitment device.” The article’s positive claim is that, while evolving PSV institutional mechanisms such as benefit corporations and dual-class share structures are generally […]

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Redefining Corporate Purpose: An International Perspective

This comparative analysis of India’s move toward redefining corporate purpose proceeds as follow. Part I presents an overview of global debates over corporate purpose, drawing principally from the move toward the ESV model in the U.K. and benefit corporations in the U.S. This section briefly recounts the debates in both jurisdictions about whether the changes […]

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Repricing Limited Liability and Separate Entity Status

In this Article we discuss how U.S. entity law has evolved in recent decades so that (i) limited liability has become available to the owners of any form of business organization, and (ii) all forms of business organizations are now seen as having the status of entities separate from their owners. Those changes have occurred […]

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Assessing the Assessment: B Lab’s Effort to Measure Companies’ Benevolence

For benefit corporations to persuade their various audiences that they are as beneficial for society as they claim, they need reliable assessments of their social performance. Even if assessments were not required by most states’ benefit corporation statutes, it is difficult to imagine the benefit corporation form could gain credibility without them. Creating measurement tools […]

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In Pursuit of Good & Gold: Data Observations of Employee Ownership & Impact Investment

A startup’s path to self-sustaining profitability is risky and hard, and most do not make it. Venture capital (VC) investors try to improve these odds with contractual terms that focus and sharpen employees’ incentives to pursue gold. If the employees and investors expect the startup to balance the goal of profitability with another goal—the goal […]

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Corporate Purpose and Litigation Risk in Publicly Held U.S. Benefit Corporations

With the likely prospect of publicly held U.S. benefit corporations in mind, this Article engages in a thought experiment. Specifically, the Article views the publicly held U.S. benefit corporation from the perspective of litigation risk. It first situates, in Part I, the U.S. benefit corporation in its structural and governance context as an incorporated business […]

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A Critical Canadian Perspective on the Benefit Corporation

Part I of this Article provides a brief background and description of the American benefit corporation. Part II then delineates the Canadian model of corporate law and governance as it currently stands in the statutes, common law, and in practice. Part III applies the information gathered from the previous two sections to explain why the […]

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Benefit Corporations and Public Markets: First Experiments and Next Steps

Part I begins by considering the leading benefits and costs for a benefit corporation that chooses to go public. It starts there both to begin gaining an understanding of the challenges public companies will face and also to consider whether going public is likely to actually be an attractive option at all for some set […]

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Balancing the Governance of Financial Institutions

Part I briefly describes the traditional agency–cost approach to corporate governance and the rationale that is offered for elevating the agency–cost concerns of shareholders over those of other stakeholders (especially creditors). But as Part I goes on to argue, even if this justification for shareholder primacy is convincing in corporate governance generally (and there are […]

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Social Enterprise and Investment Professionals: Sacrificing Financial Interests?

Over the past decade, more than three dozen jurisdictions in the United States passed some form of social enterprise legislation. Social enterprise statutes allow for the formation of for-profit entities that expressly require directors to consider the interests of corporate constituents beyond merely shareholders. Proponents of these social enterprise statutes argue that such statutes are […]

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Financing the Benefit Corporation

The hybrid organizational forms designed with social enterprises in mind have proven to be hothouse flowers. Flourishing in state legislatures, even those with the most distinguished pedigrees—such as Delaware’s public benefit corporation—have so far failed to thrive in the marketplace. Fortunately, hybrid financial instruments offer a source of strength and stability that can help social […]

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Comment

The Recent Enactment of National Mandatory GMO Labeling Law: Superior to a Voluntary Labeling Scheme But Unlikely to End the Labeling Controversy

Part I of this Note provides background information about the major controversies related to GM foods, including the debate about whether such foods should be labeled, and the history of GMO labeling laws in the United States. Part II compares S. 764 with H.R. 1599 and explains why a national mandatory labeling approach is superior […]

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Notes

Priority of Condominium Associations’ Assessment Liens vis–à–vis Mortgages: Navigating in the Super-Priority Lien Jurisdictions

This Note will discuss the issues concerning laws regulating lien priority in association foreclosure sales and argue that lenders, because they are in the best position to do so, should implement proactive strategies to protect their interests in association foreclosures. Part I provides an overview of uniform law development and a history of Washington’s governing […]

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The Home-Field Disadvantage: Tort Liability and Immunity for Paid Physicians During Disasters Within the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement Member States

This Note identifies how the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement member states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington apply tort liability and immunity to medical professionals during times of disaster. This Note also identifies an example statutory scheme that, if enacted, will provide equal protection to all physicians who provide care to disaster victims, regardless […]

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