Proxy Access: Panelist Profiles

Bruce E. Aronson, associate professor at Creighton Law School, received his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude with distinction, from Boston University in 1974 and his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1977. Following graduation, he engaged in research in Japan and at Columbia Law School and then entered private practice. He was a corporate partner at the New York City law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (1989 to 2000), where he was co-chair of the Financial Services Group. Prior to joining Creighton, he spent two years each as a senior Fulbright researcher at the University of Tokyo and as an associate research scholar at Columbia Law School. Professor Aronson's current research focuses on comparative corporate governance.

Kenneth A. Bertsch
is responsible for corporate governance policy and proxy voting practices, providing support for two mutual fund families and portfolio managers at more than 20 investment groups within Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM). Key areas of responsibility are global proxy voting, covering 5,000 companies in more than 50 countries, and corporate governance analysis and engagement.

From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Bertsch headed the corporate governance analytical team for fundamental ratings groups at Moody’s Investors Service. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Bertsch was director of Corporate Governance for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), a leading financial services organization serving the education and research communities. Prior to that, he worked in a variety of capacities for the Investor Responsibility Research Center for more than 14 years, including as director of Corporate Governance and director of Social Issues.

William Bratton
joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 2003. He also is a research associate at the European Corporate Governance Institute in Brussels, Belgium, and a professorial fellow in the Department of Business Law of Tilburg University in the Netherlands. At Georgetown, he has taught Corporations, Corporate Finance, and Legal Accounting and has conducted workshop series in Law and Economics and Corporate Legal Theory. Professor Bratton’s recent papers address hedge fund activism, financial accounting standards, dividend policy, executive pay, merger valuation, and corporate federalism. He is the editor of Corporate Finance: Case and Materials, the sixth edition of which is currently in publication with Foundation Press, and co-editor of an Oxford Press collection of essays on regulatory competition. Before coming to Georgetown, Professor Bratton served on the faculties of Cardozo Law School, Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and The George Washington University Law School. He also has been a visiting professor at the Duke and Stanford law schools and Unilever Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Leiden.

Catherine Dixon
is a corporate partner at Weil Gotshal and a member of its Public Company Advisory Group. She is a recognized authority in federal securities laws and frequently writes and speaks on related topics. Ms. Dixon formerly was chief counsel of the Division of Corporation Finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She previously served as chief of the Division of Corporation Finance’s Offices of Mergers & Acquisitions and Disclosure Policy, respectively, and as counsel to SEC Commissioner Steven M.H. Wallman. Ms. Dixon also served as trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice before joining the SEC in the appellate litigation section of the Office of the General Counsel. She is currently vice-chair of the American Bar Association's Committee on Federal Regulation of Securities.

Edward J. Durkin
has served as director of the Corporate Affairs Department of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America since 1983. He coordinates the governance and investment activities of the Carpenter’s U.S. and Canadian pension funds with assets of $40 billion. He is former co-chair and board member of the Council of Institutional Investors, a shareholder activism organization composed of union, public employee, and corporate pension funds.

Jill Fisch is a nationally recognized scholar, whose work focuses on the intersection of business and law, including the role of regulation and litigation in addressing limitations in the disciplinary power of the capital markets. Her 1997 paper “Retroactivity and Legal Change: An Equilibrium Approach” (Harvard Law Review) introduced a new framework for retroactivity analysis that could apply to both adjudication and legislation. Her 2003 paper (with Stephen Choi), “How to Fix Wall Street: A Voucher Financing Proposal for Securities Intermediaries” (Yale Law Journal), introduced a voucher financing mechanism to increase accountability for securities intermediaries such as research analysts, proxy advisors and credit rating agencies.

Brett McDonnell
teaches and writes in the areas of business associations, corporate finance, law and economics, securities regulations, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, and legislation. He clerked for The Honorable Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1997 to 1998. He then practiced as an associate at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin in San Francisco, where he concentrated on general corporate counseling and public offerings and acquisitions. Mr. McDonnell started teaching at the University of Minnesota in 2000. He visited at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 2004 and the University of San Diego School of Law in 2005. He was the 2005 Julius E. Davis Professor of Law.

Patrick McGurn
provides special counsel to RiskMetrics Group’s ISS Governance Services unit. Considered by industry constituents to be one of the leading experts on corporate governance issues, he is active on the nationwide speaking circuit and plays an integral role in policy development. Prior to joining RiskMetrics Group, Mr. McGurn was director of the Corporate Governance Service at the Investor Responsibility Research Center, a not-for-profit firm that provides governance research to investors. He also served as private attorney, congressional staff member, and department head at the Republican National Committee.

Lawrence E. Mitchell
is the Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law at The George Washington University Law School. He is the author of The Speculation Economy: How Finance Triumphed Over Industry (2007) (awarded ForeWord Magazine’s 2007 Gold Medal for the Best Book in Business and Economics and the 2009 “IPPY” Silver Medal for Finance/Investment/Economics), and Corporate Irresponsibility: America’s Newest Export (2001), among other books and publications. Professor Mitchell is currently working on his next book, Financialism: The End of American Capitalism. He has written extensively on matters of corporate governance, finance, law, and ethics, among other subjects.  A graduate of Williams College and Columbia University Law School, Professor Mitchell practiced corporate law in New York from 1981 to 1987 before entering academia.

John F. Olson is a founding partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Olson has extensive experience in general representation of business organizations as to corporate governance, corporate securities, corporate finance, and merger and acquisition matters.  He has counseled many boards of directors and board committees on governance issues and in assessing shareholder litigation, responding to business combination proposals and conducting internal investigations.  He also has represented firms and individuals in defense of Securities and Exchange Commission and other governmental investigations. Mr. Olson served from 2000 to 2005 as chairman of the ABA Business Law Section’s Committee on Corporate Governance, and was also a member of the Presidential Task Force on Corporate Responsibility appointed by the President of the ABA.

Brandon J. Rees is the deputy director of the Office of Investment for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). He first joined the AFL-CIO’s Office of Investment in 1997. As deputy director, his responsibilities include corporate governance shareholder initiatives and executive compensation issues. He received his B.A. in Economics and J.D. from U.C. Berkeley where he served as co-editor in chief of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law.

The AFL-CIO is a federation of 57 labor unions who represent 11.5 million members. Union sponsored pension and employee benefit funds hold approximately $450 billion in assets and are a leading voice for corporate governance reform in the capital markets. The AFL-CIO’s Office of Investment promotes the interests of worker-beneficiaries by leading shareholder initiatives, advocating for legislative and regulatory reform, and supporting active ownership strategies by worker funds.
Vice Chancellor Leo E. Strine, Jr.

The Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr. became a vice chancellor of the court of Chancery in November, 1998. Immediately prior, Vice Chancellor Strine was counsel to Governor Thomas R. Carper since 1993. Before his position with Governor Carper, Vice Chancellor Strine served as a corporate litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and as law clerk to Judge Walter K. Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Chief Judge John F. Gerry of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.


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