Business Law Faculty Takes Center Stage at Annual Conference

The Business Law Faculty in the School of Business participated in the 88th annual Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) conference, held in Boston, Massachusetts on August 6-10, 2013. The conference featured presentations, workshops, and panels, and hundreds of legal scholars from around the world gathered to discuss a variety of legal and pedagogical topics. 

“University of Connecticut business law faculty have been prominent in the ALSB since at least the 1960s,” Robert Thomas, associate professor of business law and vice president of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, reported. “And today the business law faculty are more productive than ever. Their research, teaching, and service to the academy makes the UConn business law faculty one of the most prominent cohorts in the discipline.”

Mark DeAngelis, assistant professor of business law in-residence, was honored at the conference’s Master Teacher Symposium as one of four finalists in the 2013 ALSB Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher Competition. The Master Teacher Symposium presents four faculty that are selected by a panel of experienced business law teachers to present their pedagogical innovation to the entire discipline. DeAngelis presented his proposal, “‘Jury, Jury, Halleluiah’: Replacing Myths With Understanding,” demonstrating teaching methods which turn students into jurors as they consider guilt or innocence in a hypothetical murder trial. Presentation at the well-attended symposium is highly competitive and represents one of the highest honors in business law teaching.

“I am a faithful follower of Mark DeAngelis’ ‘Legal Studies Classroom’ blog and loved his Master Teacher Symposium presentation on the jury process,” said Robert Prentice, professor of business law and associate chairman of business, government, and society at the University of Texas at Austin. “I believe many professors around the country will put this idea to use in their classrooms. Mark’s selection as a Master Teacher finalist two years in a row indicates that he is one of the most innovative faculty members in the business law discipline.”

Robert Bird, associate professor of business law and Northeast Utilities Chair in Business Ethics, completed his successful tenure as the editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal, the premier peer-reviewed journal in business law. At the conference Bird was invited to participate in five panel sessions related to publication in the American Business Law Journal and leading trends in the discipline, including empirical legal studies and publication in top foreign journals. “Robert Bird is a prominent member in the business law field,” said Lucien Dhooge, Sue and John Staton professor of law at Georgia Tech. “His editorship of the American Business Law Journal is a highly prestigious position from which he has been able to help shape and develop the discipline.” Professor Bird also presented his work, co-authored with John Knopf, associate professor of finance, “The Empirical Impact of Covenants Not to Compete on Entrepreneurial Activity.”

Gerlinde Berger-Walliser, assistant professor of business law, presented a paper, “Beyond Compliance: Ecological Crises, Sustainable Management and Proactive Law,” and chaired a panel session concerning publishing in business ethics journals. Berger-Walliser is one of the pioneers in the emergent area of proactive law. Her research covers various aspects of comparative business law, and she is particularly interested in how law and regulation can be used effectively to make companies more sustainable.

Stephen Park, assistant professor of business law, presented a paper, “Constructing the Ethical Corporation: The Role of Mandatory Disclosure Regulation in CSR,” at the conference. Stephen’s research interests lie in the areas of international finance and international trade, in particular concerning the application of transnational, intergovernmental, and public-private governance regimes to business.

In addition, Park and Berger-Walliser were invited to present a co-authored paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility and the Global Commons: An Agent Driven Approach to Global Governance” at the 2013 ABLJ Invited Scholars Colloquium, which Park presented at the conference. The Invited Scholars Colloquium, hosted by the Editorial Board of the American Business Law Journal, is a selective event that represents one of the discipline’s preeminent fora for works in progress.

Mark Spurling, assistant professor of business law in-residence, also participated in the conference through a panel discussion titled, “Innovative Assignments: Beyond Homework, Toward Engaged Learning.” Vincent Carrafiello, professor of business law, moderated paper sessions on tax law as well as employment and labor law. Karla Fox, professor emeritus, former interim dean, and long-time coordinator of business law, was also in attendance.

“I was most impressed by Connecticut’s presence at the conference. UConn’s business law faculty is extraordinarily productive, especially relative to its size,” said Lynda Oswald, professor of business law at the University of Michigan. “Their research and teaching prominence is rapidly on the rise.”

Pictured: (Top) Marissa Pagnattaro, University of Georgia; Robert Bird, UConn School of Business, posing with an award for his year of service as editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal; and Robert Thomas, University of Florida. (Bottom) Master Teacher Finalists Mark DeAngelis, UConn School of Business; Robert Prentice, University of Texas; John McArdle, Salem State University; and Sandra Benson, Middle Tennessee State University.

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