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Yale Law School to Host Panel Discussion on Enron

"How was Enron allowed to hide its debts and losses and shady accounting from SEC oversight? Could the Labor Department have intervened when Enron barred its employees from selling company stock in 401(k) plans and blocked them from salvaging what was left of their retirement nest eggs? Could FERC and the CFTC have exercised more oversight to rein in abuses that might have contributed to Enron's collapse? . . . Are the auditors with their enormous consulting fees too beholden to management to protect the shareholders' interests? Are stock analysts too concerned about protecting the lucrative business relationships of their firms to be objective in their assessment of companies? Are independent directors with their stock options and consulting contracts and corporate perks truly independent? . . ." These questions, and others, were asked by U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman '67, when he chaired a hearing of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on "The Fall of Enron: How Could It Have Happened?" on January 24, 2002. Some of these questions will also be discussed when the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law hosts a panel discussion on February 15, 2002, entitled "The Enron Situation: A View from the Professions." The panel, which will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Room 120 of Yale Law School, is free and open to the public.

Alan Schwartz, Sterling Professor of Law and the director of the Center, will be the moderator of the panel. Says Professor Schwartz, "This is one of the most important -- and for some, devastating -- corporate events in recent history. We are bringing together a group of prominent academics and professionals to try to shed some light on the questions and issues brought about by the collapse of Enron."

Panelists represent a wide range of academic and practical experience in business, accounting, pension management, and corporate governance. They include:

William T. Allen, professor of law and clinical professor of business at New York University, where he is also the director of the NYU Center for Law and Business. Professor Allen came to NYU in 1997 following twelve years as chancellor of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, widely considered the leading trial court in the United States for questions of business and corporation law. He is also founding chair of the Independence Standards Board, a self-regulatory body established through an agreement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Rick Antle, senior associate dean and professor of accounting at the Yale School of Management. Professor Antle is an expert in, and has consulted widely to companies, financial and accounting firms, and the government in matters regarding auditor independence, the reporting of business income, the compensation of corporate executives, the incentives of auditors and the structure of CPA firms. He is the co-author of the textbook, Financial Accounting, and he serves on the editorial boards of such journals as The Review of Accounting Studies, and the Journal of Business, Finance & Accounting.

Richard Ippolito, professor of law at George Mason University, and one of the country's most prominent and widely published pension economists. A former chief economist of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, his 1998 book, Pension Plans and Employee Performance: Evidence, Analysis, and Policy, shows how pension plans can assist employers in bringing their incentives, and those of their employees, into alignment, and offers a blueprint for revising the Social Security plan with work incentives that would strengthen the system's financial condition.

Eugene A. Ludwig '73, managing partner of Promontory Financial Group, a Washington, DC-based financial consultancy that provides strategic planning, wealth management, merchant banking, and restructuring services to financial institutions. Mr. Ludwig was formerly U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (1993-98) and Vice Chairman of Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank (1998-2000). He has been the chair of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets.

Roberta Romano '80, the Allen Duffy/Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School, is an expert in corporate law and finance, financial market regulation, and corporate governance. The founding director of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law, Professor Romano has written extensively on takeover regulation, state competition for corporate charters, shareholder litigation, public pension funds, and the regulation of derivative securities.

Michael Shepherd, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Bank of New York Company, Inc. Over the course of his career, Mr. Shepherd has also been a lawyer in private practice and in government service. He was Senior Deputy Comptroller of the Currency (1987-91), former Associate Counsel to the President of the United States (1986-87), and a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1984-86).

For more information on the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law, please visit their website through the link below.

--ES