C-LEAF Inaugural Junior Faculty Workshop

Successful roundtable, co-sponsored by the law firm of Schulte Roth, brings together young academics and senior faculty for two days of in-depth discussions on various business law topics.

Event organizer GW Law Professor Lisa Fairfax with third-place winner Professor Adam Levitin (Georgetown), first-place winner Professor Saule Omarova (UNC Chapel Hill), and second-place winner Professor Michelle Harner (University of Maryland); at right, paper authors and commentators discuss the issues.


On April 1 and 2, 2011, the GW Center for Law, Economics and Finance (C-LEAF) hosted its inaugural Junior Faculty Business and Financial Law Workshop and awarded its first set of Junior Faculty Scholarship Prizes.

The workshop was created to support and recognize the work of young legal scholars in accounting, banking, bankruptcy, corporations, economics, finance, and securities, while promoting interaction between them and selected senior faculty and other commentators. By providing a forum for the exchange of creative ideas in these areas, C-LEAF also aims to encourage new and innovative scholarship.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP—one of the leading law firms serving the financial services industry and known for its premier practice in the area of private investment funds and private equity M&A—under the leadership of partner and GW alumnus John Pollack (B.A. '95, J.D. '98), generously sponsored the Junior Faculty Scholarship Workshop as well as the luncheon and prizes.

"Thanks to Professor Lisa Fairfax's inspired leadership, the Junior Scholars Workshop provided an outstanding showcase for the work of a dozen rising academic stars who are specialists in business and financial law," said Professor Arthur Wilmarth who was one of the senior faculty members that assisted the workshop. "We expect that the papers presented at the workshop will be published in leading law journals and will attract national attention."

In response to the call for papers, C-LEAF received more than 80 paper submissions for the workshop--representing junior scholars from around the nation, as well as scholars from six international schools. The C-LEAF faculty, which spent countless hours reading and selecting final papers, stressed that the high quality of the submissions was impressive.

"The quality of the papers was uniformly excellent," said Professor Theresa Gabaldon. "Each submission was interesting and topical and it was very challenging to narrow them down to just 12."

The 12 scholars' papers chosen for presentation at the workshop were:

  • Mehrsa Baradaran, Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School
  • Michelle Harner, University of Maryland School of Law
  • Julie A. Hill, University of Houston Law Center
  • Heather Hughes, American University College of Law
  • Robert Jackson, Columbia Law School
  • Jodie Kirshner, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law
  • Adam Levitin, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Saule Omarova, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law
  • Brian JM Quinn, Boston College Law School
  • Nicola Sharpe, University of Illinois College of Law
  • Michael Simkovic, Seton Hall University Law School
  • Alan White, Valparaiso University School of Law

"The papers not only focused on innovative ideas and approaches to some of the most thorny issues in the business area, but also many of the papers relied on and presented new empirical data," said organizer Professor Fairfax. "It was simply a pleasure to participate in such an active and in-depth exchange of scholarly ideas."

GW Law colleague Professor F. Scott Kieff echoed that sentiment: "It was such a treat to have so many great scholars from such a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and locations huddled together exchanging ideas over food, drink, and even some powerpoints. There is more than enough room for everyone interested in the interface among law, economics, and finance at CLEAF's table."

During the workshop, senior scholars commented on each paper, followed by a general discussion among all participants.  The commentators included practitioners, faculty members (from GW as well as faculty members from business and law schools around the country), and Chief Judge Norman Veasey, the former chief judge of the Delaware Supreme Court.

"I was touched by the generosity from the senior scholars in this area," said Professor Fairfax. "Such commentators provided probing and insightful feedback to the junior scholars that I am sure will enhance their scholarship both respect to the particular papers presented and more broadly."

At the conclusion of the workshop, three papers were awarded Junior Faculty Scholarship Prizes:  

  • Saule Omarova (first place, $3,000 prize)
  • Michelle Harner (second place, $2,000 prize)
  • Adam Levitin (third place, $1,000 prize)

In addition to participating in the workshop, all scholars selected to present papers were also invited to become C-LEAF Fellows.

"We anticipate that the Junior Scholars Workshop will become a regular event and a highlight of C-LEAF's efforts to produce cutting-edge scholarship in business and financial law," said Professor Wilmarth.

"Thanks to Lisa Fairfax and other C-LEAF colleagues, a dozen rising scholars learned in a weekend things it takes most of us years to figure out about scholarly pursuits," said Professor Larry Cunningham. "In return, we got to learn about what's cutting edge among the latest cohort of business law scholars--an exquisite quid pro quo."

"Thanks to Lisa's great coordinating and hosting, the event was both fun and productive for everyone," said Professor Kieff.

Professor Fairfax said she was happy that it seemed all of the participants came away from the Workshop enriched by the scholarly interactions. "This workshop was unique in that it provided business and finance scholars with the opportunity to actively engage with other scholars in the field in a small group setting—most other workshops focus on a variety of different fields or otherwise do not focus exclusively on business-related topics while conferences do not allow for the kind of in-depth exchange of ideas that occurred at the workshop. Indeed, there are very few opportunities for this kind of subject-matter specific engagement, and I am pleased that the workshop provided such a platform. The workshop exceeded my expectations in many ways."

For more on the Workshop and business law at GW Law, visit the C-LEAF website.

Authors and commentators.