Richard D. Parsons, senior adviser of Providence Equity Partners and former chairman and CEO of Time Warner, speaks at the Delaware Law Issues Update conference.

Delaware Law Issues Update

Law and corporate governance leaders visit UD for informative conference


1:14 p.m., Dec. 5, 2014--The University of Delaware hosted professionals from around the country last month for the two-day Delaware Law Issues Update conference.

This year marks the second time that UD’s John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics has partnered with the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals to present the conference.

Campus Stories

From graduates, faculty

As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.

Attendees enjoyed events like a luncheon address from Richard D. Parsons, senior adviser of Providence Equity Partners, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner and former chairman of Citigroup. 

Other highlights included a networking reception featuring Jeffrey W. Bullock, Delaware secretary of state, and an interactive conference dinner with Leo E. Strine Jr., chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court.

“This is what the Weinberg Center is all about,” said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center, Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Chair in Corporate Governance and professor of finance. 

“We’ve brought together leaders of the Delaware judiciary, along with those in the financial, corporate, academic and professional communities to debate and discuss issues of importance in the governance field,” Elson continued.

"One of the most important aspects of the conference was the student scholarship opportunity," said Ann Mulé, associate director of the Weinberg Center. "Six students were selected to attend the conference. Not only did they have the opportunity to learn about the issues, but they were able to interact with some of the most prominent professionals in the field.”

Panel discussions covered a wide range of recent developments in corporate law and governance critical to board advisers, including:

"Issues Relating to Recent Shareholder Activism"

Moderated by William M. Lafferty, partner, Morris, Nichols, Arsht and Tunnell LLP.

  • J. Travis Laster, vice chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery;
  • Michael Carr, head of mergers and acquisitions, Americas, Investment Banking Division, Goldman, Sachs and Co.;
  • Chris Cernich, head of mergers and acquisitions and proxy contest research, ISS;
  • Joele Frank, managing partner, Joele Frank, Wilkinson, Brimmer, Katcher; and
  • Charles Penner, partner and chief legal officer, JANA Partners LLC.

"Director Fiduciary Duties in Compensation Decisions"

Moderated by Rolin P. Bissell, partner, Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor LLP.

  • Jack B. Jacobs, senior counsel, Sidley Austin LLP and former justice, Delaware Supreme Court;
  • Vineeta Anand, chief research analyst, Office of Investment, AFL-CIO;
  • Margaret (Peggy) M. Foran, chief governance officer, vice president and corporate secretary, Prudential Financial Inc.;
  • Gary C. Hourihan, senior vice president, Farient Advisors; and
  • Arthur H. Kohn, partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP.

"Books and Records Demands and Other Shareholder Demands on Boards"

Moderated by Kevin R. Shannon, partner, Potter Anderson and Corroon LLP.

  • Carolyn Berger, former justice, Delaware Supreme Court;
  • Douglas K. Chia, assistant general counsel and corporate secretary, Johnson and Johnson; and
  • Stuart M. Grant, managing director, Grant and Eisenhofer P.A.

"M and A and Advising the Board"

Moderated by David A. Katz, partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz.

  • Donald F. Parsons Jr., vice chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery;
  • Paul A. Fioravanti Jr., managing director, Prickett, Jones and Elliott, P.A.;
  • Janet Langford Kelly, senior vice president legal, general Counsel and corporate secretary, ConocoPhillips; and
  • Mark A. Morton, partner, Potter Anderson and Corroon LLP.

"Federal and State Judicial Developments and Private Litigation"

Moderated by Jennifer C. Voss, partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP.

  • Karen L. Valihura, justice, Delaware Supreme Court;
  • Myron T. Steele, partner, Potter Anderson and Corroon LLP, and former chief justice, Delaware Supreme Court;
  • Sandra C. Goldstein, partner, Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP;
  • Mark Lebovitch, partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossmann LLP; and
  • Paul F. Washington, senior vice president, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary, Time Warner Inc.

"Practical Tips on How to Keep the Board Out of Trouble"

Moderated by Anne C. Foster, director, Richards, Layton and Finger.

  • Henry duPont Ridgely, justice, Delaware Supreme Court;
  • John F. Olson, partner, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher;
  • Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance, California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS);
  • Virginia Fogg, general counsel, Norfolk Southern Corp.; and
  • Pamela S. Tikellis, partner, Chimicles and Tikellis LLP.

Article by Sunny Rosen

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Evan Krape, Ambre Alexander Payne and Doug Baker

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