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Workshop on Blurring Boundaries in Financial and Corporate Law

Washington, D.C.
June 7 - 9, 2014

Why Attend?

Understanding how capital is formed and transformed in today’s economy and how financial risk is spread requires that scholars and students understand financial and corporate law and the theory and policy underlying the doctrine. If scholars work solely within the traditional boundaries of any single field in the financial and corporate law spectrum, they risk having a parochial view of vital legal questions. Indeed, each area of financial and corporate law faces a broader set of questions than it has historically engaged. Securities regulation covers much more than initial public offerings. The regulation of financial institutions can no longer concern itself primarily with deposit-taking banks (indeed, the label "banking law" seems now outdated). Insurance regulation is no longer entrusted exclusively to state regulators, and those regulators can no longer ignore systemic risks or the modernization of consumer products and consumer protection strategies. Business associations involve more than publicly traded corporations. These are but a few examples.

Many critical legal questions and challenges engage more than one field of financial and corporate law. Certain topics arise in more than one area of substantive law. There has been explosive growth in hybrid entities and financial instruments. This dynamic and others have exposed tensions between the benefits of financial innovation, on the one hand, and increased complexity and the potential for regulatory arbitrage, on the other. As the complexity of financial products and markets and legal entities increases, financial and corporate law have refocused on the need for and means of better protecting consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders. New financial intermediaries are entering markets at the same time that technology enables radical "disintermediation." Numerous other factors also play a role in the legal puzzle across the regulatory continuum, among them, globalization, the Internet, and the rise of institutional investors in financial markets. Financial and corporate regulation can and do take both conceptually similar and radically different approaches to these and other related matters.

The very nature of regulation is at issue, and that topic has received and deserves significant attention in law scholarship and law teaching. The task of designing effective regulation that curtails moral hazard and mitigates systemic risk is a major challenge. The efficacy of disclosure, corporate governance rules, and other traditional regulatory tools is an important area for discussion. But larger regulatory issues loom. Individual systems of substantive regulation may take converging or diverging paths to protect consumers/investors, regulate market conduct, and design prudential regulation. The allocation of regulatory responsibilities among various agencies and courts and across multiple jurisdictions—domestic and international—raise issues in and well beyond the scope of traditional legal scholarship and law teaching. We are in an era, for example, in which many are actively re-thinking the institutional design of regulators and regulation to address not only economic risks but also the threat of "capture" and other political dynamics.

The Midyear Workshop on Blurring Boundaries in Financial and Corporate Law is designed to explore these issues from a variety of different vantage points. To that end, the program includes sessions focusing on: research; teaching; complexity; modern regulatory approaches; innovation, competition, and collaboration in international financial markets, and political dynamics. An objective of the workshop is to bring together law faculty representing a variety of financial and corporate law disciplines, scholarship traditions, and pedagogical practices and perspectives. The workshop provides a unique opportunity for faculty members to make connections between their primary fields and other fields in financial and corporate law, making it relevant to a broad spectrum of law scholars and teachers. Law faculty in all business law fields should find the workshop useful to their scholarship and teaching.

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