Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another suggestion for dealing with the housing crisis.

See this New York Times op-ed (here).  We have to figure out some way to give banks an incentive to help the folks who can pay their mortgages but who are so underwater that they feel like shnooks for continuing to make payments.  Although I still favor the Van Niel proposal (see here), this one's not a bad start, either.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's a good day at the Van Niel-Rapoport household.

See here.

Focus, shareholders. FOCUS.

Yesterday's New York Times story on directors who presided over corporate failures being snapped up as directors by other companies (see here) did exactly what the authors (Susanne Craig and Peter Lattman) intended.  It frustrated the heck out of me. 

Yes, we should kick out C-level officers who plunder companies.  That's a no-brainer.  But we should also hold directors accountable when they should have known that something was going dreadfully wrong on their watch.   (Remember Andy Fastow's personal profit on deals with--well, against--Enron?  That was board-approved.)

Shareholders need to pay attention to who's running their company and who's monitoring those who are running their company.  And if the directors aren't doing what they should to watch over the CEOs, CFOs, and the like, shareholders should replace them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

See? Clients want to push for fees calculated other than by the billable hour.

See here.  (Hat tip to my buddy Walter Effross.)  Law firms are thinking about how to stay profitable while figuring out new ways to value their services (good), but they may not have realized how much the legal landscape has changed (bad).

We're talking about a paradigm shift.  Lawyers are supposed to make a decent living, but if they're hoping for perpetual multimillion-dollar draws, they have (as Mom used to say) "another think coming."

Aspen will give you a taste of Law School Survival Manual by posting one free chapter.

And we think that the chapter's a doozy--it's on how to prepare for exams.  See here for the link to Aspen1L.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A nice feather in Boyd School of Law's cap.

One of the things I love about Boyd is how engaged our faculty is in research.  Now Brian Leiter has a post that recognizes how we're doing (see here).  It's also nice to see Ohio State in that list--not at all surprising, but nice nonetheless.

Thanks, Brian!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Another good column on Nevada's budget crisis.

I look forward to John L. Smith's columns in the Review-Journal, and today's column is no exception (see here).  Let's face it:  imposing taxes on tourists isn't working well for us, because there is a price point at which tourists will choose another vacation location, rather than paying through the nose for lodging.  Imposing higher taxes on food is more broad-based, but it's going to fall disproportionately on the poorest among us, who look to stretch every penny of their budgets.

Mining, on the other hand, probably hasn't reached its price point for taxes.  A couple of observations:  (1) the minerals are here, so as long as the mining companies want to mine here, they're captive; and (2) I'll bet that there are other businesses that aren't at the price point for leaving the state or laying off their employees.  That second point is tricky, because raising taxes on businesses across the board will hurt those smaller businesses with razor-thin profit margins.  And we don't want to go around killing more businesses.  They're dying left and right already.

We need more broad-based taxes, but let's try to levy them on sources that have a solid profit margin (so that the businesses are still left with a hefty profit), rather than on people and business that are struggling to survive.  Maybe it's time for a state luxury tax?