Monday, February 16, 2009

A Quick Report on the 2009 EMLE Midterm Meeting

I have just returned from a weekend in Hamburg, where the 2009 Midterm Meeting of the EMLE program took place this year. Hamburg was lovely as usual, and the meeting was most successful. On Friday morning the workshop component took place, with multiple parallel sessions where graduate students and EMLE faculty members (including many active EALE members) presented many interesting papers. Topics ranged from general concepts in law and economics, through torts, criminal law and procedure, financial markets, corporate governance, competition law, and more.

The afternoon, in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, featured an impressive panel of experts on “Financial Market Crisis from a Law and Economics Perspective.” The illustrious list of experts, included Prof. Dr. Thomas Eger (Director of the EMLE Programme, University of Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Rolf Eggert (President of the German Central Bank (Bundesbank), Hamburg Office), Dr. Dr. Michael Hingst (Senior Partner White and Case, Hamburg Office), Jun. Prof. Dr. Patrick C. Leyens (University of Hamburg), Henry Marquenie (CEO CAK Group, Amsterdam), Prof. Dr. Markus Nöth (University of Hamburg), Thomas Schmitz-Lippert (Head of the International Department, German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), Bonn). The panel was most interesting, participants - under the excellent direction of Professor Eger - made clear and concise contributions and generated an interesting and engaged discussion from the audience.

After the panel, the Student Award Ceremony featured an award to an excellent thesis by Giovanni Formica on “Law and Economics of Bundling by Non-Dominant Firms.” Giovanni also presented his thesis in a clear, engaging way, developing a two-pronged argument: First, that dominance is neither necessary nor sufficient for bundling to generate anticompetitive effects, which are strongly dependant on case-specific characteristics. And, second, that extant US and EU law implicitly account for this reality, although the explict legal regimes on both sides of the Atlantic do not acknolwedge it. (The presentation concluded with a call for a modified rule of per-se legality for the above practice.)

Finally, the academic portion of the conference concluded with an invited lecture by Professor Bruce Kobayashi of GMU Law School on “Jurisdictional Competition for Limited Liability Companies.” Bruce's interesting empirical paper (co-authored with Larry Ribstein) documents the incorporation trends of LLCs, finding inter alia that these new (and increasingly popular) business organizations flock disproportionately to Delaware as they increase in size, much like US public corporations.

All in all, this excellent event (and the many social activities surrounding it) was admirably organized and executed by the team of the Hamburg Institute of Law and Economics, headed by Professors Eger and Leyens, and assisted by their excellent staff!

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