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Faculty Spotlight


A likely result would be to scale down the size of GM and sell it off in pieces, says Marcus Cole, a financial law professor at Stanford Law School.

ON GM FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY, USA TODAY, JUNE 1, 2009


G. Marcus Cole
Wm. Benjamin Scott and Luna M. Scott Professor of Law, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics

A scholar of the law of bankruptcy, corporate reorganization, and venture capital, Professor Marcus Cole takes an empirical law and economics approach to research questions such as why corporate bankruptcies increasingly are adjudicated in Delaware, and what drives the financial structure of companies backed by venture capital. He has been a national fellow at the Hoover Institution, and has scholarly interests that range from classical liberal political theory to natural law and the history of commercial law. He serves on the board of directors for the Central Pacific Region of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and on the editorial board of the Cato Supreme Court Review.


So the question is if the government passes a tax in March, can it be effective as of January? Unfortunately for the executives, the answer is yes. So this has been litigated a lot. They can of course litigate it again and hope the court will change its mind, but most experts think that’s not going to happen.

ON TAXATION OF EXECUTIVE BONUSES, ABC-7 NEWS/KGO-TV, MARCH 20, 2009


Joseph Bankman
Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics

A leading scholar in the field of tax law, Professor Joe Bankman is the author of two widely used casebooks on the subject. His writings on tax policy cover topics such as progressivity, consumption tax, and the role of tax in the structure of Silicon Valley start-ups. He has gained wide attention for his work on how government might control the use of tax shelters and has testified before Congress and other legislative bodies on tax compliance problems posed by the cash economy. He has written and spoken extensively on how we might use technology to simplify filing. He also worked with the State of California to co-author a bill creating ReadyReturn—a completed tax return prepared by the state.


You can imagine that litigation of that sort gives rise to many potential problems and appearances of harshness. It’s going to be hotly litigated.

ON THE COMPLEXITY OF LEGAL ACTIONS AMONG VICTIMS OF BERNARD MADOFF, LOS ANGELES TIMES, FEBRUARY 16, 2009


Joseph A. Grundfest
W. A. Franke Professor of Law and Business, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics

Professor Joe Grundfest is a nationally prominent expert on capital markets, corporate governance, and securities litigation. He launched Stanford Law’s executive education programs, continues to lead Directors’ College, serves on the senior faculty of the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford, and founded Stanford’s award-winning Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. Professor Grundfest served more than four years as a commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and with Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe is co-founder of Financial Engines, Inc. He was named to the prestigious 2009 Directorship 100 by the National Association of Corporate Directors.


Litigation often will delay a deal, and there is often a lot of pressure on companies to settle litigation in advance of a deal.

ON SKYPE FOUNDERS’ FILING A COPYRIGHT SUIT AGAINST EBAY, THE NEW YORK TIMES, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009


Michael Klausner
Nancy and Charles Munger Professor of Business and Professor of Law, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics

A leading scholar of corporate law and corporate governance, Professor Mike Klausner has conducted in-depth empirical studies of outside director liability and takeover defenses in firms at their initial public offering. He also has done theoretical work on the overall structure and function of corporate law, and on various topics in nonprofit law. His recent scholarship has focused on securities litigation, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, and the liability risk of outside directors. He co-directs the Directors’ Consortium executive education program (in partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth), and he teaches the innovative Deals class.