8th Annual Berle Symposium: Benefit Corporations and the Firm Commitment Universe

June 27–28, 2016
Seattle University School of Law
The Berle Center
Seattle, Washington

The focus for our eighth annual symposium was the benefit corporation, with a particular emphasis on whether the benefit corporation may have a significant role to play for firms that are significant capital market participants, whether publicly or privately held.

This year, we were pleased to be co-sponsoring and co-organizing with B Lab, the key institutional force responsible for the creation of the American benefit corporation. One of the goals of Berle VIII was to critically examine the role that B Lab has and hopes to play in the evolution of the benefit corporation.

Berle VIII proceeded against the backdrop of this question: Can the benefit corporation play a key role in addressing the problem of firm commitment?

As always, papers will be published by the Seattle University Law Review in its annual Berle Symposium edition. We have included the schedule below with links to some of the papers and presentations.

BERLE VIII: Benefit Corporations and the Firm Commitment Universe

MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2016


Chuck O'Kelley, Director, Adolf Berle Center
Rick Alexander, Head of Legal Policy, B Lab
Bart Houlahan, Co-Founder, B Lab


Colin Mayer, Firm Commitment and the Corporation
Rick Alexander, How Benefit Corporations fit into the Firm Commitment Universe


Frank Partnoy, The Corporation, and Human Life
Marc Moore, A Necessary Social Evil: The Indispensability of the Shareholder Value Corporation


David Musto, Anne Tucker, and Jessica Jeffers (with Chris Geczy), In Pursuit of Good and Gold: Data Observations of Employee Ownership and Impact Investment
Bill Clark, The Basis on Which Society Should Demand Responsible Business Behavior


Brett McDonnell, Benefit Corporations and Public Markets: First Experiments and Next Steps
Haskell Murray, Social Enterprise and Investment Professionals: Sacrificing Financial Interests?

TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2016


Mike Dorff, Assessing the Assessment: B Lab's Effort to Measure Companies' Benevolence
David Min, Alternatives to Shareholder Primacy for Leveraged Financial Institutions


Carol Liao, A Comparative and Canadian Perspective on the Benefit Corporation.
Afra Afsharipour, Benefit Corporations, and Corporate Governance: An International Perspective

Session G

Bill Chandler, A Delaware Perspective on Public Benefit Corporations
Joan Heminway, Corporate Purpose and Litigation Risk in Publicly Held U.S. Benefit Corporations

Session H

Larry Hamermesh, Bart Houlahan, Rick Alexander, Dan Osusky, The Past, Present and Future of B Lab and the Benefit Corporation: A View from the Trenches


Seattle University School of Law

The Adolf A. Berle Jr. Center on Corporations, Law, and Society


B Lab Corporation

Sustaining Donors:

Microsoft Corporation

Contact us

The Berle Center
901 12th Avenue
Sullivan Hall
Seattle, WA 98122-1090

Charles R.T. O'Kelley
Professor & Director

Lori Lamb
Administrative Director