Program Examined Intersection of Federal Bankruptcy and State Corporate Law
Web Editor - Published: May 27, 2010
On Monday, May 24th, experts in state corporate law and federal bankruptcy law gathered on Widener Law’s Delaware campus for a continuing legal education program entitled “The Intersection of Federal Bankruptcy and State Corporate Law.”

Corporation Service Company, a privately owned service organization that provides matter management, corporate compliance, and trustee services for companies and law firms worldwide, broadcast the program over the Internet, allowing some two-hundred online viewers to see the program in addition to the sizable audience that filled the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.

Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons opened the program, saying, “We are looking to do more in the field of bankruptcy considering Delaware’s unique position in corporate law.” She then introduced Professor Paul L. Regan, the acting Director of Widener Law’s Institute of Delaware Corporate and Business Law. Professor Regan thanked the sponsors and then introduced Professor Juliet Moringiello of Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus as the moderator of the day’s first panel.

“You want the CEO to get rich, but you want him to get rich because you’re getting rich,” quipped the Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr., a Vice Chancellor of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, during the course of the panel’s discussion, which focused on the issue of executive compensation. Joining Vice Chancellor Strine on the panel were Professor Charles M. Elson from the University of Delaware; Bruce Grohsgal, Esq. of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones; Associate Professor Michelle M. Harner of the University of Maryland School of Law; and the Honorable Brendan L. Shannon of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware. The panel agreed that executive compensation should be related to creating lasting value for the company. Professor Harner stressed, however, that the problem lay with the corporations themselves, saying, “The internal governance on compensation is dysfunctional.”

The second panel, entitled “Bankruptcy Law and Corporate Governance Law: When Two Worlds collide, featured Widener Law Professor Ann E. Conaway; Sandra Mayerson Esq. of Squire Sanders, & Dempsey LLP; Michael J. Reilly, Esq. of Bingham McCutchen; the Honorable Jack B. Jacobs of the Supreme Court of Delaware; and the Honorable Kevin J. Gross of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware. Andrea Unterberger ‘97, Esq. of Corporation Service Company served as the moderator for the panel.

Harvey R. Miller, Esq. called “the most prominent bankruptcy lawyer in the nation,” by the New York Times and a partner in the New York law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, delivered the keynote address during lunch. A graduate of Brooklyn College, Miller earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. In addition to his work at the law firm, Mr. Miller an adjunct professor of law at New York University Law School and a lecturer in law at Columbia University School of Law.

After lunch, the third panel, “Business Valuation Issues,” featured Robert J. Stearn Jr., Esq. of Richards Layton & Finger; Martin S. Lessner, Esq. of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP; the Honorable Kevin J. Carey of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware; William “Tuck” Hardie, Esq. of Houlihan Lokey; and The Honorable J. Travis Laster, Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery. Widener Law Professor Lawrence Hamermesh, currently serving as attorney fellow with the Office of Chief Counsel of the Division of Corporation Finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C, moderated the panel.

The day’s fourth and final panel on “Attorney-Client and Joint Defense Privileges in Business Bankruptcy Litigation,” featured panelists Henry Sil Bryans, Esq. of Aon Risk Services Northeast, Inc.; Susheel Kirpilani, Esq. of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP; The Honorable Donald F. Parsons Jr., Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery; and the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Donna Culver, Esq. of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP moderated the panel.

Following the CLE program, Dean Linda L. Ammons hosted the unveiling of the Judge Helen S. Balick portrait that now hangs in the Legal Information Center. The portrait, painted by artist David Larned, and the unveiling ceremony recognized Judge Balick for her contributions to bankruptcy jurisprudence and recognized Widener Law’s new bankruptcy chair named in her honor. Judge Balick attended the ceremony along with her husband, Judge Sidney Balick. Artist David Larned also attended the ceremony.

In addition to Corporation Service Company, the generous sponsors for the CLE event included the Vale Foundation and the law firms of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, Richards, Layton & Finger PA, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.