Q: You recently took over the role of Faculty Director at the Center for Business Law. What is your vision for the Center?
A: In my time at the school, I have really admired our alumni who practice business law at the highest level, our students who are enthusiastic about a future in business law, and my colleagues on the faculty who dedicate their research and teaching to business law topics. I think the center’s primary goal should be creating opportunities for those groups to interact in mutually beneficial ways.
A CBL initiative might all at once help students find jobs, help alumni achieve professional satisfaction through mentoring or sharing knowledge, and give faculty members a chance to converse with practitioners who have practical knowledge of cutting-edge legal developments. If we build a center that consistently provides those kinds of benefits to the Hastings community, I think the center can also become an important institution for the broader legal community as well.
Q: You also serve as the Advisor for the Business Law Concentration at UC Hastings. How is CBL connected with the business law concentration?
A: The business concentration is like “majoring” in business law. To earn the concentration, we require students to take key courses in corporate law, securities law, and creditors’ rights. We also require a capstone class that approaches these subjects differently – through academic writing or live-client experience. We hope that the concentration improves our academic advising and helps students signal their interest in business law to employers.
Q: You recently published the first Unicorn Initiative report with the Brattle Group, what can you share with us from this cross-disciplinary project?
A: The Unicorn Initiative is an effort to put widely circulated policy concerns about large startups to the test. Scholars and regulators worry that large private companies reside in a regulatory blind spot and create opportunities for widespread corporate malfeasance and investor harm. That may yet happen, but that is not necessarily what we see in looking back at exit patterns. These companies seem to be achieving mostly successful exits to the apparent benefit of founders, employees, and investors.
We partnered with the Brattle Group to obtain and analyze the data, and they are proving to be an indispensable collaborator. We look forward to sharing future results with our students, alumni, and the broader corporate law community.
Q: Post pandemic, the business environment in SF/Bay Area has changed a lot. What types of research projects are you writing about these days?
A: Recently, I’ve been writing about Robinhood and other trading apps. I’m interested in whether there is a way to preserve some of the benefits from Robinhood’s successful innovations while doing a better job of protecting novice investors. It’s an issue that only becomes more important as we navigate market downturns.