Melvyn Weiss to be Indicted

September 20, 2007

The New York Times and wire services are reporting that famed securities lawyer Mel Weiss will be indicted today in connection with a longstanding investigation into a kickback scheme by his law firm.  The firm, Milberg Weiss, has already been indicted and one of its former partners David Bershad has pleaded guilty in the investigation.  The expected charges against Weiss follow closely on the heels of a plea deal entered into by his former law partner, Bill Lerach, earlier this week.  The New York Times story is here: Prominent Lawyer to Be Indicted.

Bill Lerach to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy Charge

September 18, 2007

The New York Times reports that famed securities plaintiffs’ lawyer, William Lerach, has agreed to plead guilty in connection with a federal investigation into kickbacks allegedly paid to securities litigation plaintiffs by his former law firm, Milberg Weiss.  Lerach is expected to serve one to two years in prison, forfeit $7.75 million to the government, and pay a $250,00 fine.   Here is the New York Times story:   Lawyer Will Plead Guilty in Kickback Scheme.

Brett McDonnell, Two Goals for Executive Compensation Reform

September 17, 2007

Brett McDonnell of Minnesota Law School has posted Two Goals for Executive Compensation Reform on SSRN. The essay puzzles through divergent issues underlying concerns with high levels of executive compensation at US corporations. 

McDonnell notes that most corporate scholars view executive compensation as purely a governance concern, while politicians express concerns with how high levels of executive compenesation contribute to income inequality within society.  McDonnell reviews the various perspectives on the issue and concludes that corporate scholars are wrong to ignore concerns with income inequality.  He concludes that effects of corporate governance rules and practices on income inequality deserve more discussion within the corporate literature.   Here is the abstract:

Most corporate law scholars who suggest reforming executive compensation worry about corporate governance problems that arise out of poor compensation design. Most politicians who suggest reforming executive compensation seem as or more worried about growing economic inequality. This essay briefly considers two arguments justifying legal scholars in ignoring the concern with inequality. The first argument says that we should address inequality concerns only through tax and transfer policy. This essay responds that politics may dictate sometimes trying to reduce inequality through other means as well. The second argument claims that high pay for the top executives of public corporations has played only a small role in the growth of economic inequality. This essay finds this argument much more persuasive, but suggests reasons why further empirical investigation may still show that reforming executive compensation may be a modestly important part of a broader package of reforms to reduce inequality.

Announcing the “Legal Scholarship Blog”

September 5, 2007

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the University of Washington School of Law have teamed up to create the new Legal Scholarship Blog: http//  The blog features law-related calls for papers, conferences, and workshops — with links to relevant websites and papers as well as an event calendar — along with scholarly resources for Research Deans as well as current and prospective law professors.

Those interested in posting announcements on calls for papers, conferences, and workshop schedules should send requests to legalscholarshipblog|at|

Tamar Frankel, Trailblazer

September 3, 2007

I am pleased to be involved in an exciting new project sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.  The Commission is spearheading an oral history project called Women Trailblazers in the Law.

Wisely, the Commission has selected Boston University Law Professor Tamar Frankel to be profiled.  I have agreed to interview Professor Frankel for the project.  I will be taking a full-life oral history of Professor Frankel over the coming months.  The interviews will be taped and transcripts of the interviews will be preserved at the Library of Congress in Washington as a resource for future generations of lawyers and scholars.

Professor Frankel is a distinguished scholar and a pathbreaker in many ways.  As the first female professor on the tenure track at BU (and among the first women corporate law professors in the country) she is no doubt a trailblazer.  She is a leading expert on fiduciary law having written leading treatises on the Regulation of Money Managers and Securitization.  She recently published Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at a Crossroad, which decries the erosion of a culture of ethics in American business. 

 In addition to her academic accomplishments, Professor Frankel has led a fascinating life. She was born and raised in Israel where she ran her own law practice before moving to the United States to study at Harvard Law School, where she earned her LLM and SJD degrees.  I am looking forward to learning more about her life as we move forward with the project.