Briefing Room


Capital markets focus of new program

January 5, 2013 | Faculty

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law continued to build on its recent expansion of business law courses and programs in the fall of 2012 with the debut of Law and Capital Markets @ Ohio State. The new program is designed to study global capital markets, including regulation of the internal and external governance of markets, corporations, and financial institutions in the wake of the Great Recession and financial crisis.  The program aims to link the knowledge of scholars, industry professionals, and policymakers to stimulate new ideas, encourage knowledge-sharing, support research, and foster networks.

“We have substantial expertise at Ohio State. It is not just the business faculty, but the tax, commercial, international, legislative, administrative, and dispute resolution faculty,” said Professor Steven M. Davidoff, executive director of the program. “All these areas in some way influence capital markets.”

Law and Capital Markets @ Ohio State draws on the cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary strength of the faculty to provide the ideas, research, and products that will provide critical information and guidance for policymakers, the industry, and academics. The program is designed to support academic research and to engage synergistically with private and public officials.

“The Law and Capital Markets program is a great addition to what is already a strength for the College. Looking in retrospect at our business offerings, the growth has just been incredible,” said Paul Rose, a fellow in the program who teaches several business law courses. “We are building on some of the strength we had and taking it to the next level.”

The program hosts multiple events throughout the year in Columbus and key financial centers, including New York City and Washington, D.C. These events address the leading problems and issues business lawyers face and are commonly co-sponsored by private organizations.

The Mergers and Acquisitions Roundtable is the program’s annual keystone event. The forum brings together academics, attorneys, and industry participants to discuss pressing issues. In 2012, the Mergers and Acquisitions Roundtable was held in New York City and was co-sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The event included thought leaders from law firms, investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, academia, and government engaged in an open and vigorous exchange of ideas about the top challenges facing deal-makers today.

Participants included Kirkland & Ellis partner Daniel E. Wolf, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron T. Steele, Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr., and Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons.

The first session, moderated by Wolf, focused on hot topics in private equity, including conflict-of-interest issues involving lawyers, bankers, and special committees. The second session, moderated by Davidoff, focused on special issues arising from hedge fund activism, including developments in shareholder activism and possible revisions to the Williams Act.

“In today’s connected world, location is irrelevant,” Davidoff said. “We have the expertise and can apply it. We will use a mix of locations for events, including Columbus. Some events are easier to hold in Chicago or New York because the majority of the speakers are located there.”

The next Mergers and Acquisitions Roundtable is planned for April 12 in New York.

The Capital Markets course offered at the College has also been revamped.

“The course has historically been a reading seminar, but now we have changed it to a lecture seminar,” Davidoff said. “We have speakers coming in just about every week, and prior to class, students are writing mini-papers on the week’s topic.”

In the fall of 2012, speakers included Chris Brummer, professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center; David L. Caplan, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Samuel Fried, executive vice president, Limited Brands Inc.; Michael J. Segal ’83, partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Ezra D. Singer, senior vice president, Limited Brands Inc.; Laura Holleman ’92, investment banking general counsel, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; Robert Jackson Jr., associate professor of law, Columbia University; Claire A. Hill, James L. Krusemark Chair in Law, University of Minnesota; Robert Bartlett, professor of law, University of California, Berkeley; Andrew C.W. Lund, associate professor of law, Pace University; Randall Baron, partner, Robins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP; Michal Barzuza, Caddell & Chapman Professor of Law, University of Virginia; and Kristin N. Johnson, associate professor of law, Seton Hall University.

In addition to the Mergers and Acquisitions Roundtable and the Capital Market Speaker’s Series, which is primarily for the course, the program also includes a General Counsel Speaker’s Series and the Tax Colloquium. Two tax experts will visit Moritz in the winter of 2013.  In February, the program will present a panel discussion on public pension reform.

In the last decade, the business offerings at the College have grown exponentially with new courses added each year. The Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal was started in 2006, and the College also fields a business-oriented moot court team each year.

“We have been much more aggressive in the past few years with our business curriculum,” said Dale A. Oesterle, the J. Gilbert Reese Chair in Contract Law. “The enthusiasm of the students has really pushed this movement. Most realize they will likely be practicing business or business litigation, and we are offering students a lot more through new seminars, the Distinguished Practitioners in Residence program, and the real estate courses offered by Rick Daley ’78 (senior lecturer in law).”

In 2012, Moritz also launched the Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic, which is the College’s first business-oriented clinic. The clinic is funded by alumni and private donations. The Law and Capital Markets program mostly has been financed through general funds, but it already has received several private donations from alumni.

“We are training our students to be lawyers and to work in a global market. The students are being exposed to heads of mergers and acquisitions at leading firms and companies as well as leading scholars in the field,” said Davidoff.