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NDLS Professor Garners Singular Honor

A.J. Bellia

NDLS Professor A.J. Bellia Jr. has been honored by the Virginia Law Review for co-authoring (with George Washington University Law Professor Bradford R. Clark) one of the most influential articles published by the Virginia Law Review in the past 100 years. Read More

Christopher Stewart Awarded Lardy Fellowship

Chris Stewart

Dean Nell Jessup Newton has announced that the Peter Lardy Memorial Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year has been awarded to 2L Christopher Stewart. Stewart’s name will now be added to the Lardy Fellowship plaque’s list of recipients, which includes 2013-2014 Fellow Armando Cordoves and extends back to the first recipient, John F. Ready, in 1976. Read More

Dan Kelly--Toward Economic Analysis of the Uniform Probate Code

kelly_news Professor Kelly has authored a new article, Toward Economic Analysis of the Uniform Probate Code. Insights from economics and the economic analysis of law may be useful in analyzing succession law, including intestacy and wills as well as nonprobate transfers such as trusts. After surveying prior works that have examined succession from a functional perspective, I explore the possibility of utilizing tools like (i) transaction costs, (ii) the ex ante/ex post distinction, and (iii) rules versus standards, to illuminate the design of the Uniform Probate Code. Specifically, I investigate how these tools, which legal scholars have employed widely in other contexts, may be relevant
in understanding events like the nonprobate revolution and issues like “dead hand” control; analyzing UPC provisions pertaining to the harmless error rule, reformation, and ademption by extinction; and evaluating law reforms such as proposals to abolish attestation or prevent the disinheritance of children. Read More

Two NDLS Grads Accept Supreme Court Clerkship Offers

Megan Dillhoff

Shortly after taking the phone call from Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Megan Dillhoff became the second NDLS graduate to accept a Supreme Court judicial clerkship for the October 2014 Supreme Court term. Earlier this term, G. Ryan Snyder accepted his clerkship offer from Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Read More

Dan Kelly--Restricting Testamentary Freedom: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Justifications

kelly_news In his new paper, Restricting Testamentary Freedom: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Justifications, Professor Kelly investigates the circumstances in which it may be socially beneficial for courts to alter wills, trusts, and other gratuitous transfers at death. The organizing principle of American succession law—testamentary freedom—gives decedents a nearly unrestricted right to dispose of property. After surveying the justifications for testamentary freedom, he examines the circumstances in which it may be socially beneficial for courts to alter wills, trusts, and other gratuitous transfers at death: imperfect information, negative externalities, and intergenerational equity. These justifications correspond with many existing limitations on the freedom of testation. Yet, disregarding donor intent to maximize the donees’ ex post interests, an increasingly common justification for intervention, is socially undesirable. Doing so ignores important ex ante considerations, including a donor’s happiness, a donor’s incentive to work, save, and invest, and the structure and timing of a donor’s gifts. If donors believe courts may not facilitate their intent, donors may be less happy, accumulate less property, and alter gifts during life. Moreover, because the law often affects donor behavior, ignoring donative intent to benefit particular donees may harm not only the donors but also donees as a class. Thus, the living may themselves benefit if the law allows a certain degree of “dead hand” control. Read More

Dr. Tor--The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective

tor_news Professor Tor has published a new co-authored article on The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(6), 634-650 (2013).

Social comparison—the tendency to self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others—is an important source of competitive behavior. The article proposes a new model that distinguishes between individual and situational factors that increase social comparison and thus lead to a range of competitive attitudes and behavior. Individual factors are those that vary from person to person: the relevance of the performance dimension, the similarity of rivals, and their relationship closeness to the individual, as well as the various individual differences variables relating to social comparison more generally.

Situational factors, conversely, are those factors on the social comparison landscape that affect similarly situated individuals: proximity to a standard, the number of competitors, social category fault lines, and more. The distinction between individual and situational factors also helps chart future directions for social comparison research and generates new vistas across psychology and related disciplines, including business, economics, and the law. Read More

K.J. Martijn Cremers--Thirty Years of Shareholder Rights and Firm Valuation

Professor Martijn Cremers has co-authored a new research article, Thirty Years of Shareholder Rights and Firm Valuation, that introduces the concept of a new hand-collected dataset that tracked restrictions on shareholder rights at approximately 1,000 firms from 1978-1989. In conjunction with 1990-2006 IRRC data, the authors tracked firms’ shareholder rights over thirty years. Most governance changes occurred during the 1980s. The data found a robustly negative association between restrictions on shareholder rights (using the G-Index as a proxy) and Tobin’s Q. The negative association only appears after the judicial approval of antitakeover defenses in the 1985 landmark Delaware Supreme Court decision of Moran v. Household. This decision was an unanticipated, exogenous shock that increased the importance of shareholder rights. Read More

Mark McKenna, Confusion Isn’t Everything

Mark McKenna Professor Mark McKenna has written a new article, Confusion Isn’t Everything. The typical shorthand justification for trademark rights centers on avoiding consumer confusion. But in truth, this encapsulation mistakes a method for a purpose: confusion merely serves as an indicator of the underlying problems that trademark law seeks to prevent. This article analyzes causes of this phenomenon, problems that result, and possible cures. Read More

Former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Discusses Challenges Facing Law Schools

Randall T. Shepard

Randall T. Shepard delivered a Clynes Chair Lecture on “The Future of Legal Education” to NDLS students and faculty September 25. Shepard is a former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice and the Chair of the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. This fall he was named Notre Dame Law School’s Judge James J. Clynes, Jr., Visiting Chair in the Ethics of Litigation Within the Judicial Process. Read More