Monday, December 5, 2005

Judge Frank Easterbrook to Give Winter Lecture, Dec. 5

Frank H. Easterbrook, a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a Senior Lecturer at the Law School of the University of Chicago, will deliver the Inaugural Ralph Winter Lecture, on December 5, 2005, at 4:30 p.m., in Room 127. The lecture is titled "The Race for the Bottom in Corporate Governance" and is free and open to the public.

Judge Easterbrook's lecture is a tribute to Judge Winter's famous essay in the late 1970s, which refuted William Cary's thesis that state law would produce a "race to the bottom," enabling managers to exploit investors. Judge Winter observed that states compete for the corporations (and corporations for capital); and from that competition, he concluded, an invisible hand would produce a race to the top, not the bottom.

But recent developments in corporate law, Judge Easterbrook will argue, are designed to eliminate competition by federalizing the rule of decision and by hampering international efforts to reallocate capital. Will this less-competitive regime, exemplified by Sarbanes-Oxley, lead a real race for the bottom? And what will this do to the public-choice dynamic of national corporate law?

Before joining the federal bench, Easterbrook was the Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, where he taught and wrote in antitrust, securities, corporate law, jurisprudence, and criminal procedure. He has published two books and more than 50 scholarly articles in these fields, including The Economic Structure of Corporate Law (with Daniel R. Fischel).