Corporate law experts visit for Berle Symposium

June 18, 2014

Two internationally recognized experts in corporate law will headline a symposium next week hosted by Seattle University School of Law's Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law & Society.

The 6th Annual Berle Symposium on June 23-24 will focus on Margaret Blair's and Lynn Stout's provocative work on transaction cost economics. Leading academics from around the world also will participate. Professor Charles O'Kelley, director of the Berle Center and a symposium author, expects the symposium to be highly interactive, with each participant building on scholarly theories of corporate law, and the work of Blair and Stout, "as their passion dictates."

Prof Margaret BlairProfessor Blair is the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise at Vanderbilt Law School. She's an economist who focuses on management law and finance, and her research targets six areas in particular — team production and the legal structure of business organizations, legal issues in the governance of supply chains, the role of private sector governance arrangements in contract enforcement, the legal concept of corporate "personhood," the historical treatment of corporations by the Supreme Court, and the problem of excessive leverage in financial markets.

Prof Lynn StoutProfessor Stout, a Distinguished Professor of Corporate & Business Law at Cornell Law School, is a highly regarded expert in the fields of corporate governance, securities regulation, financial derivatives, law and economics, and moral behavior. She is the author of numerous articles and books on these topics and lectures widely.

Together, the two published an article, "A Team Production Theory of Corporate Law," speculating that maximizing shareholder wealth should not be the principal goal of corporate law. Instead, directors of public corporations should also consider the welfare of managers, employees, and other groups such as creditors or the local community.  This article has become a classic in corporate law theory, and forms the backdrop for Berle VI.

Among the esteemed guests are Professors Diane Lourdes Dick and Russell Powell of Seattle University School of Law. See the full lineup of speakers

O'Kelley said the symposium has the potential for long-lasting influence in the field of corporate law. Papers will be published as the Sixth Berle Symposium by the Seattle Law Review. 

The law school will host an informal reception with participants on June 24.