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Larry Ribstein Archives

How Jane Fonda caused global warming

Dubner and Levitt say it's all because of a film. I note that this is part of the public policy impact of business-bashing movies.

Next lesson: how Al Gore boosted nuclear power.

Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported on an incredible new law in Virginia that would drastically raise traffic fines for Virginians breaking traffic laws to help pay for Virginia roads. I analyzed the law, reporting among other things that one wag had called it the Lawyer Full Employment Act because it could significantly increase incentives to litigate traffic cases (among many other bad effects). Now we have a report that the law's principal proponent in the legislature is a partner in a law firm that defends traffic tickets. Big surprise.

[Also see: Overlawyered, May 5, 2006 -- W.O.]

Ben Stein once again sounds off in the NYT on aiding and abetting. As I discuss, he prefers to obfuscate by beating the Enron horse rather than actually dealing with the genuine problems involved in extending aiding and abetting liability. I also show that we might be better off if this were the Enron case because that would give the Court an opportunity to kill scheme liability rather than just cutting off some limbs.

Paying for pro bono

The WSJ writes about how law firms are so hot for pro bono work that they're willing to pay to get it. I discuss some implications of this story, including why this work is so demanded by law firm recruits, and some other ways they might help society, if that's actually what they want to do.

Say on pay

Barney Frank's "say on pay" bill moves to the Senate. The bill would require nonbinding shareholder votes on executive pay. I have some thoughts on this misguided effort to increase union power, reduce the efficiency of executive compensation, and usurp the states' role in corporate governance.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC is studying regulating so-called "empty voting" -- that is, corporate voting without owning shares. This would move the federal government into another area formerly controlled by state corporate law. This is part of the attack on hedge funds, fueled by the fairy tale of "shareholder democracy." Here's an analysis of what's really at stake.

With 140 possible backdating cases in the works and after months of alarming headlines the SEC now faces a daunting task: figuring out whether there was a problem. I discuss the agency's dilemma.

Backdating and 9/11 muckraking

A story in today's WSJ says stock options were backdated to dates when shares were depressed by 9/11. Apparently the emotional appeal of linking 9/11 to backdating isn't lost on the trial lawyers. I discuss the journalistic strategy lurking in this story.

I discuss how the McAfee case seems to be creating new layers of ad hoc-ness in the criminal prosecution of backdating.

Was backdating material?

A defense summary judgment motion in an SEC civil backdating case (linked here (Feb. 9)) clearly raises this issue. I discuss the motion here, and in more detail here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.