C-LEAF's Fall 2013 Semester Event Recap

January, 2014 -- For five years now, GW's Center for Law, Economics & Finance (C-LEAF) has been bringing students, academics, and practitioners timely and unique programming on the financial and legal topics that affect our economy and lives. The Fall 2013 semester was no different as C-LEAF brought to campus two events focusing on five years post-Panic of 2008, a practical and theoretical look at how corporate governance structures cope with crisis, and the first in the series of events marking 100 years of the Federal Reserve.  Below is more information, media coverage, and links to videos so you can view the programming and discussions if you missed any of these events. 

September 12, 2013

"Five Years On, Learning Lehman's Lessons from the Panic of 2008:
Are We Better Prepared for the Next Financial Crisis?"

"What we need is a system...that recognizes we don't grow
this country from the financial sector.  We grow this county
from the middle class"

- Sen. Elizabeth Warren

In mid-September, 2008, Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the world, declared bankruptcy. The ensuing financial panic led to the worst crisis in the financial markets since 1929, nearly bringing down the entire U.S. financial system before massive government bailouts rescued the banks and the entire global financial system. Five years later, Main Street still lacks adequate safeguards against Wall Street's culture of aggressive risk-taking.

Five years on in September, 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and a panel of experts joined C-LEAF and co-sponsor Better Markets for a discussion of lessons learned from Lehman Brothers' collapse, Wall Street's unprecedented lobbying campaign against new regulations mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to make our financial markets stronger, and further steps that are needed to protect Main Street and U.S. taxpayers from Wall Street's risk-taking and the potential threat of additional government bailouts.


Keynote Address |  Watch Video

  • The Honorable Elizabeth Warren, Senator, D-Massachusetts

Panel Discussion | Watch Video

  • Neil Barofsky, Adjunct Professor of Law, NYU Law School, former Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street
  • John Coffee, Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, and Director, Columbia Law School’s Center on Corporate Governance
  • James Galbraith, Professor of Government, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas and author, Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis
  • Ted Kaufman, Visiting Professor, Duke University Law School, Former Senator, former Chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee for TARP
  • Moderator: Jennifer Taub, Associate Professor of Law, Vermont Law School and author, Other People's Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business

Closing Remarks | Watch Video

  • Lisa M. Fairfax, Leroy Sorenson Merrifield Research Professor of Law, and Director, Conference Programs, C-LEAF, George Washington University Law School
  • William D. Cohan, Vanity Fair Contributing Editor, Bloomberg View Columnist, and author, Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World; House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street; and The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.

      "Five Years On" In the Media

      October 21, 2013

      "Challenges in Corporate Governance:
      The Role of Corporate Directors in a Corporate Crisis"

      Sponsored jointly by C-LEAF and the Institute for Corporate Responsibility (ICR) at GW's School of Business, this program focused on corporate directors' role in a corporate crisis. Corporate boards of directors typically have several standing committees to deal with their fiduciary responsibility to oversee the financial reporting, risk management, CEO succession, CEO and senior management compensation, and corporate governance. Further, the Board as a whole typically addresses corporate strategy issues. However, when a crisis hits, the Board cannot rely on routine processes. Rather, the Board needs a more time sensitive and intense approach in order to react quickly and appropriately to the immediate issue. There is a wide range of possible crises - bankruptcy, significant enforcement actions or litigation, hostile takeovers, an international incident, and a host of other unexpected and unwanted events that the board must address quickly and diligently.

      Issues that will be addressed will include how a crisis is escalated to the Board level, how the Board organizes to react to it, the pitfalls they may encounter, what type of outside advisors they may engage, and the impact of the crisis on the company overall. The panelists and moderator all have specific experience with respect to such crises and bring a range of corporate director, regulatory, and legal expertise. This program should be of particular interest to students of general business and of corporate and securities law.

      • Moderator: The Honorable Cynthia A. Glassman, Senior Research Scholar, ICR; former Commissioner, SEC
      • Alan Beller, Executive Director, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
      • John Olson, Founding Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
      • Lawrence Trautman, Professional Corporate Director
      • Laura Unger, Special Adviser, Promontory

      Event report [PDF] 

      Program [PDF] 


      October 31, 2013

      "The Road Traveled:
      Assessing Dodd-Frank Five Years After the Crisis"

      5th Annual Financial Regulatory Reform Symposium

      C-LEAF hosted its fifth annual Financial Regulatory Reform Symposium this fall, presenting programming featuring senior regulators, legal experts, market participants, and leading academics to discuss the state of our economy and financial regulatory system five years after the 2008 financial crisis.

      “These successes should not be confused with the agency having sufficient people and technology to oversee these markets, because we simply do not.”
      - Gary S. Gensler, Chairman, Commodity Futures
      Trading Commission


      "The Road Traveled" In the News

      The Hill  | October 31, 2013
      Regulator: More Funding Needed to Enforce Rules


      December 13, 2013 

      "The Past, Present, and Future of the Federal Reserve System"

      Please click this link
      or the image above
      to view a larger version
      of this graphic.


      C-LEAF and GW's School of Business' Department of Finance expert faculty and guests presented the first in a series of events to mark the centennial of our nation's central bank. The December event covered the Fed’s role in setting monetary policy, its influence in the global markets and the economy, and its role as primary supervisor and regulator of the nation’s largest banks and financial institutions.

      View videos from this event at C-SPAN

      Featured interview:

      • Don Kohn, Former Vice-Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2006–2010); Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution; Member, Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee
      • with David Wessel, Economics Editor, The Wall Street Journal, and author of In Fed We Trust

      Other expert speakers included:

      • Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, 
        Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
      • Rep. Jim Himes, U.S. Representative for Connecticut, House Financial Services Committee
      • Simon Johnson, Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management; former Chief Economist, International Monetary Fund
      • Arthur Wilmarth, Jr., Professor of Law, GW Law; Executive Director, C-LEAF
      • Susan Phillips, former Governor, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System; former Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Professor Emeritus of Finance, GW School of Business
      • Robert Van Order, Chairman and Professor of Finance, GW School of Business
      • Sarah A. Binder, Professor, Political Science, George Washington University; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
      • Al Broaddus, former President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
      • Peter Conti-Brown, Academic Fellow, Stanford University Rock Center
      • Adam Posen, President, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Member, Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, 2009–2012
      • Athanasios Orphanides, MIT Sloan School of Management; former Governor, Central Bank of Cyprus; Member, Governing Council of the European Central Bank
      • Nathan Sheets, Global Head of International Economics, Citigroup, Inc;  former Director, Division of International Finance, Federal Reserve Board
      • Nell Henderson, Editor, Global Central Banks, The Wall Street Journal