Marquette Law School’s Boden Lecture to address corporate governance, Sept. 21

Ann M. Lipton, Michael M. Fleishman Associate Professor in Business Law and Entrepreneurship at Tulane University, will deliver Marquette University Law School’s annual Boden Lecture, “Of Chameleons and ESG,” on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lubar Center at Eckstein Hall.

For as long as there have been giant corporations, there have been debates about “corporate purpose.” Specifically, there has been disagreement whether corporations should exist to benefit all their constituencies—shareholders, employees, local communities—or whether instead they should operate solely to maximize shareholder wealth. Today, that debate has taken the form of “ESG” or “environmental, social, governance” investing, which encourages investors to consider a corporation’s social performance in allocating their investment dollars. The difficulty for ESG advocates is that the legal structures underpinning the corporate form exert a gravitational pull toward shareholder-wealth maximization that is very difficult to resist. This lecture will explore the (many) definitions of ESG, the controversy surrounding its use, and the ways in which ESG reinforces rather than challenges shareholder primacy.

Registration for the program is required and available online.

Lipton is a prominent teacher and author in the areas of corporate governance, the relationships between corporations and investors, and the role of corporations in society. In addition to her academic articles in places such as the Yale Journal on Regulation and Georgetown Law Journal, she is an author of “Securities Regulation: Cases and Materials” and a regular contributor to the Business Law Prof Blog. Lipton holds an A.B. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard University. She clerked for Judge Edward Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Justice David Souter at the Supreme Court of the United States and practiced law in New York City.

The annual Boden Lecture remembers the late Robert F. Boden, dean of Marquette Law School from 1965 to 1984.