The Columns

W&L Law Prof Christopher Bruner to Deliver Inaugural Bain Family Lecture

— by on November 11th, 2015

Christopher Bruner, the William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, will deliver the inaugural chair lecture this month. The title of Prof. Bruner’s Lecture is “What Makes a Corporation a Corporation?”

The lecture is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:15 p.m. in Classroom A, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

The Bain Family Professorship was established by W. Donald Bain, Jr. ’49L of Spartanburg, SC in honor of his father, William Donald Bain. A native of Rochelle, Ill., Don Bain came to the W&L School of Law after earning a B.S. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He had a successful business career including more than 30 years at Moreland Chemical Co., where he rose to the rank of CEO. He merged Moreland with McKesson Corp. in San Francisco, eventually retiring as vice president and general manager of McKesson’s industrial chemical division.

A lifelong supporter of education, Bain has been particularly generous with W&L Law. In addition to this new professorship, Bain has supported the Steinheimer Professorship, the Class of 1949 Law Fellowship, the Law Library and the Law Annual Fund. He has been a participant or chair of numerous alumni chapter and reunion committees. For his dedicated service, Bain was awarded W&L’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987 and inducted as an honorary member of Order of the Coif in 2007.

Bruner joined the W&L faculty in 2009 and during that time has cemented his status as one of the leading voices in corporate law and securities regulation, including international and comparative dimensions of these subjects. His articles have appeared in a variety of law and policy journals, and he has twice received the Law School’s Ethan Allen Faculty Fellowship for scholarly excellence. His comparative study of U.S. and U.K. corporate governance, “Power and Purpose in the ‘Anglo-American’ Corporation,” won the 2010 Association of American Law Schools Scholarly Papers competition.

Bruner’s book, “Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power” (Cambridge University Press, 2013), has been called “a revelation,” and “a work of monumental significance and scholarly craft.” In the book, Bruner develops a new political theory to explain why shareholders in the U.K. and other common-law jurisdictions are both more powerful and more central to the aims of the corporation than are shareholders in the U.S. He argues that relatively robust social welfare protections in countries like the U.K., Australia and Canada have freed up their corporate legal systems to focus more intently on shareholder interests without giving rise to “political backlash” – because other legal structures accommodate the interests of employees.

At W&L, Bruner is the director of the Frances Lewis Law Center, the Law School’s faculty research and support arm, which funds summer research projects and research assistants for faculty, sponsors and supports conferences and symposia, and hosts visiting scholars. Bruner currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the Association of American Law Schools Section on Business Associations, and a member of the Scholarship Advisory Group to the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law.

Bruner is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan and also earned an M.Phil. from the University of Oxford, where he held an Overseas Research Student Award. He received his J.D. from Harvard, where he served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard International Law Journal. Following law school Bruner practiced with Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, where he worked with public and closely held companies on a range of corporate, transactional, and securities matters.

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