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“In Time Of Stress, A Civilization Pauses To Take Stock Of Itself”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Corporation From The New Era To 1933, Mark Hendrickson 2019 Seattle University School of Law

“In Time Of Stress, A Civilization Pauses To Take Stock Of Itself”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Corporation From The New Era To 1933, Mark Hendrickson

Seattle University Law Review

This Article demonstrates three things. First, an examination of Berle’s work and thinking in this critical period reveals the ways in which public problems and the need to “know capitalism,” to borrow a phrase from Mary Furner, converged in the post-WWI era in remarkable and unprecedented ways that would shape New Deal and post-New Deal politics and policy. Berle’s gift for synthesizing evidence and constructing narratives that explained complex events were particularly well suited to this era that prized the expert. Second, identifying a problem and developing a persuasive narrative is one thing, but finding solutions is another ...


Berle And Corporation Finance: Everything Old Is New Again, Frank Partnoy 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Berle And Corporation Finance: Everything Old Is New Again, Frank Partnoy

Seattle University Law Review

In this essay, I want to illustrate how Adolf A. Berle Jr.’s Studies in the Law of Corporation Finance1 was prescient about the kinds of financial innovation that are central to today’s markets. For scholars who are not familiar with this publication, Corporation Finance is a compilation of edited versions of several of Berle’s articles, along with some new material, most of which is focused on 1920s corporate practice. My primary goal here is simply to shine a light on this work and to memorialize for scholars the key passages that echo many of today’s challenges ...


Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley

Seattle University Law Review

Merrick Dodd is remembered primarily for his role as coprotagonist, with Adolf Berle, in the famous Berle–Dodd debate. Dodd’s contribution to that debate—For Whom are Corporate Managers Trustees?—has generally been interpreted as the inspiration for modern stakeholder theory. Berle’s contribution has generally been viewed as the foundation on which shareholder primacy rests. Both of these views have been clarified by the nuanced work of Bratton and Wachter. Oddly, while scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to Berle’s actual life story, there is almost no scholarship that sheds light on Merrick Dodd, the ...


“All Lawyers Are Somewhat Suspect”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Legal Profession, Harwell Wells 2019 Seattle University School of Law

“All Lawyers Are Somewhat Suspect”: Adolf A. Berle And The Modern Legal Profession, Harwell Wells

Seattle University Law Review

Adolf A. Berle was perhaps the preeminent scholar of the modern corporation. He was also an occasional scholar of the modern legal profession. This Article surveys his writings on the legal profession from the 1930s to the 1960s, from the sharp criticisms he leveled at lawyers, particularly corporate lawyers, during the Great Depression, to his sunnier account of the lawyer’s role in the postwar era. I argue that Berle’s views were shaped both by the reformist tradition he inherited from Louis Brandeis and his writings on the corporation, which left him convinced that the fate of the legal ...


Collected Lectures And Talks On Corporate Law, Legal Theory, History, Finance, And Governance, William W. Bratton 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Collected Lectures And Talks On Corporate Law, Legal Theory, History, Finance, And Governance, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

A collection of eighteen speeches and lectures, from 2003 to 2018, discussing and expanding on the writings and theories of Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means.


The ‘Berle And Means Corporation’ In Historical Perspective, Eric Hilt 2019 Seattle University School of Law

The ‘Berle And Means Corporation’ In Historical Perspective, Eric Hilt

Seattle University Law Review

This Article presents new evidence on the evolution of the business corporation in America and on the emergence of what is commonly termed the “Berle and Means corporation.” Drawing on a wide range of sources, I investigate three major historical claims of The Modern Corporation: that large corporations had displaced small ones by the early twentieth century; that the quasi-public corporations of the 1930s were much larger than the public corporations of the nineteenth century; and that ownership was separated from control to a much greater extent in the 1930s compared to the nineteenth century. I address each of these ...


Quasi Governments And Inchoate Law: Berle’S Vision Of Limits On Corporate Power, Elizabeth Pollman 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Quasi Governments And Inchoate Law: Berle’S Vision Of Limits On Corporate Power, Elizabeth Pollman

Seattle University Law Review

This Berle X Symposium essay gives prominence to distinguished corporate law scholar Adolf A. Berle, Jr. and his key writings of the 1950s and 1960s. Berle is most famous for his work decades earlier, in the 1930s, with Gardiner Means on the topic of the separation of ownership and control, and for his great debate of corporate social responsibility with E. Merrick Dodd. Yet the world was inching closer to our contemporary one in terms of both business and technology in Berle’s later years and his work from this period deserves attention.


Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Table Of Contents, Seattle University Law Review

Seattle University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Made For This Moment: The Enduring Relevance Of Adolf Berle’S Belief In A Global New Deal, Leo E. Strine Jr. 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Made For This Moment: The Enduring Relevance Of Adolf Berle’S Belief In A Global New Deal, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Seattle University Law Review

At a time when the insecurity of working people in the United States and Europe is being exploited by nativist forces, the concept of a global New Deal is more relevant than ever. But, instead of a global New Deal, the predominant force in international trade in recent decades has been spreading pre-New Deal, laissez-faire approaches to markets, without extending with equal vigor the regulations essential to providing ordinary people economic security. Adolf Berle recognized that if the economy did not work for all, the worst impulses in humanity could be exploited by demagogues and authoritarians, having seen this first ...


On The Origins Of The Modern Corporation And Private Property, Bernard C. Beaudreau 2019 Seattle University School of Law

On The Origins Of The Modern Corporation And Private Property, Bernard C. Beaudreau

Seattle University Law Review

The Modern Corporation and Private Property (MCPP) by Adolf A. Berle Jr. and Gardiner Means, published in 1932, is undisputedly the most influential work ever written in the field of corporate governance. In a nutshell, Berle and Means argued that corporate control had been usurped by a new class of managers, the result of which included (1) shareholder loss of control (a basic property right), (2) questionable corporate objectives and behavior, and (3) the potential breakdown of the market mechanism. In this paper, I examine the origins of MCPP, paying particular attention to the authors’ underlying motives. I argue that ...


Technological And Institutional Crossroads: The Life And Times Of Adolf A. Berle Jr., Bernard C. Beaudreau 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Technological And Institutional Crossroads: The Life And Times Of Adolf A. Berle Jr., Bernard C. Beaudreau

Seattle University Law Review

In this paper, I examine the life and times of Adolf A. Berle Jr., perhaps the most influential scholar in the field of corporate governance. Specifically, I examine his contribution in light of the technological and institutional changes that occurred in the late nineteenth century—changes that were germane to his thinking and understanding of corporate governance. I argue that, despite his perspicacity, he failed to appreciate the changing role of corporate officers—that is, from that of fiduciary agent to that of visionary, founder, and essential element in corporate success. Put differently, in the early twentieth century, the key ...


Looking Forward In A Failing World: Adolf A. Berle, Jr., The United States, And Global Order In The Interwar Years, Jessica Wang 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Looking Forward In A Failing World: Adolf A. Berle, Jr., The United States, And Global Order In The Interwar Years, Jessica Wang

Seattle University Law Review

This essay explores Berle’s understanding of American power and its relationship to global order in the era between the First and Second World Wars. I first survey the history of progressive internationalism in the 1920s in order to situate Berle’s approach to U.S. foreign relations and global affairs, before proceeding to a close examination of Berle’s immediate response to the aftermath of World War I, and then his foreign policy activities as part of the Roosevelt administration in the late 1930s and early 1940s. My analysis focuses in particular on his public efforts to promote a ...


The Rise And Fall (?) Of The Berle–Means Corporation, Brian R. Cheffins 2019 Seattle University School of Law

The Rise And Fall (?) Of The Berle–Means Corporation, Brian R. Cheffins

Seattle University Law Review

This Article forms part of the proceedings of the 10th Annual Berle Symposium (2018), which focused on Adolf Berle and the world he influenced. He and Gardiner Means documented in The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932) what they said was a separation of ownership and control in major American business enterprises. Berle and Means became sufficiently closely associated with the separation of ownership and control pattern for the large American public firm to be christened subsequently the “Berle–Means corporation.” This Article focuses on the “rise” of the Berle–Means corporation, considering in so doing why ownership became divorced ...


Berle And Means’S The Modern Corporation And Private Property: The Military Roots Of A Stakeholder Model Of Corporate Governance, Andrew Smith, Kevin D. Tennent, Jason Russell 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Berle And Means’S The Modern Corporation And Private Property: The Military Roots Of A Stakeholder Model Of Corporate Governance, Andrew Smith, Kevin D. Tennent, Jason Russell

Seattle University Law Review

The Modern Corporation and Private Property by Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means (1932) remains one of the most cited works in management studies. Our paper shows that Berle and Means espoused a stakeholder theory of corporate governance that challenged the then-hegemonic idea that the sole purpose of a corporation is to create value for the shareholders. We argue that Berle and Means’s support for stakeholder theory can be associated with their earlier service in the U.S. military, an organization which then inculcated an ethos of public service in its members. Our paper, which is based on archival research ...


Corporate Lessons For Public Governance: The Origins And Activities Of The National Budget Committee, 1919–1923, Jesse Tarbert 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Corporate Lessons For Public Governance: The Origins And Activities Of The National Budget Committee, 1919–1923, Jesse Tarbert

Seattle University Law Review

There is a peculiar disconnect between the way specialists view the 1920s and the way the decade is understood by non-specialists and the general public. Casual observers tend to view the 1920s as a conservative or reactionary interlude between the watershed reform periods of the Progressive Era and New Deal. Although many scholars have abandoned the traditional view of the 1920s, their work has not yet penetrated the generalizations of non-specialists. Even readers familiar with specialist accounts portraying the New Era as the age of “corporate liberalism” or the “Associative State” tend to view these concepts as just another way ...


The Modern Corporation And Private Property Revisited: Gardiner Means And The Administered Price, William W. Bratton 2019 Seattle University School of Law

The Modern Corporation And Private Property Revisited: Gardiner Means And The Administered Price, William W. Bratton

Seattle University Law Review

This essay casts additional light on The Modern Corporation’s corporatist precincts, shifting attention to the book’s junior coauthor, Gardiner C. Means. Means is accurately remembered as the generator of Book I’s statistical showings—the description of deepening corporate concentration and widening separation of ownership and control. He is otherwise more notable for his absence than his presence in today’s discussions of The Modern Corporation. This essay fills this gap, describing the junior coauthor’s central concern—a theory of administered prices set out in a Ph.D. dissertation Means submitted to the Harvard economics department after ...


Adolf Berle During The New Deal: The Brain Truster As An Intellectual Jobber, Robert B. Thompson 2019 Seattle University School of Law

Adolf Berle During The New Deal: The Brain Truster As An Intellectual Jobber, Robert B. Thompson

Seattle University Law Review

Adolf Berle’s ideas have attained a remarkable longevity in corporate law with an influence exceeding that of any other twentieth century law professor. Participants in the now ten Berle symposia often have framed the discussion of his career as an intellectual history, usually built around the powerful transformative effect of The Modern Corporation and Private Property (MCPP). Yet this approach is insufficient to explain large parts of Berle’s professional career, including what Berle did during the twelve years of the Roosevelt Administration that immediately followed MCPP. This Article offers an alternative focus that better accounts for the career ...


Untangling The Web Of Consignment Law: The Journey From The Common Law & Article 2 To Revised Article 9, Willa Gibson 2019 College of William & Mary Law School

Untangling The Web Of Consignment Law: The Journey From The Common Law & Article 2 To Revised Article 9, Willa Gibson

William & Mary Business Law Review

This Article examines and analyzes the law of consignments from the common law through Revised Article 9 with a goal towards identifying and analyzing the uncertainties and confusion that have persisted throughout the transition from the common law to the UCC. The law of consignments has abounded with uncertainty since its genesis under common law. In an attempt to clarify the persistent confusion and disarray surrounding the law, the UCC enacted section 2-326; but the statute was not a model of clarity, engendering increased uncertainty and confusion. Courts wrestled with how to interpret the provision to be consistent with the ...


The Value Of Insider Control, Benjamin Means 2019 College of William & Mary Law School

The Value Of Insider Control, Benjamin Means

William & Mary Law Review

According to conventional wisdom, insider control of businesses is detrimental to the interests of noncontrolling investors. Family-run businesses, in particular, are seen as nepotistic and inefficient. Yet, commentators have overestimated the dangers of insider control and overlooked its potential benefits for all stakeholders. Controlling owners have a personal stake that gives them reason to identify with their business and to adopt responsible business practices capable of creating lasting value. A stewardship model of insider control helps explain the continuing vitality of family businesses as well as the success of recent public offerings by Facebook, Google, and Snapchat involving low-vote or ...


Interpreting Organizational "Contracts" And The Private Ordering Of Public Company Governance, Megan Wischmeier Shaner 2019 College of William & Mary Law School

Interpreting Organizational "Contracts" And The Private Ordering Of Public Company Governance, Megan Wischmeier Shaner

William & Mary Law Review

Corporate law is undergoing an explosion of governance by private ordering. With increasing frequency and creativity, the charter and bylaws of public corporations are being used as tools for restructuring key aspects of corporate governance. The current focus of parties, courts, and scholars has been on the facial validity of these efforts. In light of courts’ willingness to uphold corporate governance contracting, legal battles will morph from validity challenges to interpretation disputes. Yet interpretation principles are a topic to which corporate scholars have devoted limited attention. With interpretation poised to take on an influential role in shaping corporate law and ...


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