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W&L Law Prof Lyman Johnson to Give Pileggi Distinguished Lecture on Corporate Law

Lyman Johnson, Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been tapped to give the 28th Annual Francis G. Pileggi Distinguished Lecture in Law, one of the most prestigious corporate law lectures in the country.

The Pileggi Lecture is presented to the Delaware Bench and Bar and focuses on developing issues in the area of corporate law. The lecturer is always a leading voice in the field of corporation law. Johnson will deliver the lecture on Nov.9 at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, DE.

Johnson’s talk is titled “Unsettled and Unsettling Issues in Corporate Law.” His lecture revisits two fundamental issues in corporate law, the central role of the business judgment rule in fiduciary litigation and whether there is a mandated corporate purpose. Using the emergent question of whether the business judgment rule should be used in analyzing officer and controlling shareholder fiduciary duties, Johnson will propose a rethinking of the rule’s analytical preeminence, suggesting elevating duties themselves to be more prominent and deemphasizing the business judgment rule. Regarding corporate purpose, Johnson will advocate that Delaware law permit a pluralistic approach in the for-profit corporate sector.

Johnson is a nationally known scholar, whose work focuses on business associations, securities regulations, corporate finance, and business planning. His scholarship has appeared in a variety of publications including the Boston University Law Review, Columbia Law Review, George Washington Law Review, and the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law. His article on the business judgment rule was voted by American corporate law professors to be one of the “Top 10” corporate and securities law articles in the country for the year 2005.

In addition, Johnson’s scholarship and expert testimony have been employed in several high profile corporate lawsuits in recent years, including the nation’s largest stock options backdating case and a case brought by shareholders of the Walt Disney Company for the way their Board of Directors handled the hiring and firing of Michael Ovitz. Johnson has filed amicus briefs in three recent U.S. Supreme Court cases involving corporate disclosures and shareholder rights.

Johnson is a member of The American Law Institute, where currently he is a member of the Consultative Group for the Principles of The Law of Nonprofit Organizations project, a project addressing director and officer fiduciary duties.  He is also a member of the Business Associations section and the Socio-Economics section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).  He is a founding Executive Committee member for the new AALS Section on Transactional Lawyering.