Georgia State Law Hosts Berle IX Symposium in June

The Adolf A. Berle Jr. Center on Corporations, Law & Society at Seattle University School of Law will sponsor its ninth annual Adolf A. Berle Jr. Symposium (Berle IX) on June 5 and 6 at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta.

Berle IX, continues the interdisciplinary tradition of the conference, bringing together scholars from the fields of law, finance, psychology and management to explore the role and impact of the corporation in society. Berle IX will focus on the broad question of investor time horizons – asking who is or should be a long or short-term investor?

Associate Professor Anne Tucker received the 2016 Patricia T. Morgan Award for Outstanding Scholarship.

Associate Professor Anne Tucker is organizing the Adolf A. Berle Jr. Symposium (Berle IX) on June 5-6 at Georgia State Law.

“The conference serves as a platform to share new research, as well as a chance to learn from thought leaders in other disciplines,” said Anne Tucker, associate professor of law and one of the conference organizers. “[The] Berle [conference] presents a unique opportunity for participants to share their work in this area, collaborate on interdisciplinary implications and identify what questions remain unanswered to shape future paths of research.”

Attendees will work together to better understand the different time horizons that exist among various investors and the theoretical and empirical bases for identifying the corresponding interests and consequences. These questions include, do firms perform better or worse with long-term or short-term investors, and how does the law facilitate or impede long and short-term investments.

Tucker proposed the topic for Berle IX after Charles O’Kelly, Seattle School of Law professor and director of the Berle Center, asked her to host the 2017 conference. Tucker had begun initial research on corporate shareholder short-termism. Recognizing the complexity of the issue, and having participated in Berle events before, she thought it would be a great forum for an interdisciplinary discussion. She presented the idea to O’Kelly, who quickly agreed.

Berle IX is an invitation-only conference, so Tucker began calling the authors of the papers in law and finance she was reading. She invited experts from diverse fields including industry experts —calling each to discuss their perspectives of the topic to ensure a variety of disciplines were represented.

“At Berle, participants will address this complex question and generate new ideas,” Tucker said. “Holistically, there is a clear dialogue between disciplines on this topic. Most legal scholars don’t link their perspective with empirics, but economists do. Management and finance experts may not consider the legal implications of governance policies that can help create ideal time horizons and the temporal risks. And psychologists held us understand how humans process and respond to risk and future events.”

The conference will open with an evening welcome reception June 4, followed by two days of paper presentations. Each presentation will bring a different perspective to the overall conversation about investor time horizons.

“There is a tremendous amount of value for attendees to spend two days dedicated to discussing this topic,” Tucker said. “Instead of working in isolation, you have a room full of thought leaders immersed in the conversation. You’re able to solicit feedback on your own research and work through a volume of material that would otherwise take weeks to review.”

Owen Jones, from Vanderbilt Law School’s MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, will deliver opening remarks and share his perspective on the topic.

Jones’ scholarship explores behaviors that law aims to regulate by integrating social science and life science perspectives. He’ll help set the tone for participants to step out of their comfort zones and be open to thinking of investment time horizons in a different way than they’re accustomed.

“Owen would be a great keynote for any academic event based on his research and credentials alone, but he was an especially attractive choice for us because we’re looking at these issues from discipline-specific frames,” Tucker said. “He’ll explain temporal risk processing from a biological perspective, which will give us something brand new to think about—ultimately creating an openness and willingness to engage with the wisdom from others disciplines throughout the rest of the paper presentations.”

After the conference, presenters will publish their research in a dedicated volume of the Seattle University Law Review focused on corporate law—allowing the output from the conference to serve as a resource to other scholars and industry professionals.

Berle IX is not open to the public, but faculty or media interested in attending can contact Tucker for more details.

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