Post Date: September 12, 2005

The work of Professor Robert Clark, a corporate law specialist and the 10th dean of Harvard Law School, was the focus of a major symposium this past weekend at the University of Iowa College of Law. The nation’s leading corporate law experts convened for two days of panel discussions and presentations that focused substantially on Clark’s landmark treatise, “Corporate Law,” which was first published in 1986.

Officially titled, “Robert Clark’s Corporate Law: Twenty Years of Change,” the event was sponsored by the Journal of Corporation Law, which will publish the conference papers in an upcoming volume.

“Over the years, I have received many compliments about my treatise from law students and legal practitioners,” said Clark. “It was immensely gratifying to hear firsthand of the influence that the book has had on the thought and careers of leading legal academics and judges.”

Symposium organizers said the event was being held at a time when corporate governance issues are the subject of increased public scrutiny, following scandals involving companies such as Enron, WorldCom and Qwest. “Robert Clark’s book has long been one of the most popular treatises on corporate law,” said Hillary Sale, a University of Iowa law professor and coordinator of the symposium. “But in the 20 years since it was written, corporate law and theory have grown in several directions.”

Speakers and panelists at the symposium included many of the top scholars in the field, including Harvard Law Professors Lucian Bebchuk and Renier Kraakman, both experts in corporate finance and governance. The event also featured leading practitioners and members of the bench.

“Bob Clark’s pathbreaking treatise, Corporate Law, is arguably the single most influential work of scholarship in corporate law during the past quarter century,” said Kraakman. “Most of us teaching corporate law today owe Bob a deep debt of gratitude. His book shaped our lecture notes and guided our research agendas.”

A 1972 Harvard Law graduate, Clark joined the HLS faculty in 1979. He was appointed dean in 1989 and served in that position for 14 years. He is now the Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Austin Wakeman Scott Professor of Law.

“It was a pure intellectual delight to hear the conference participants discuss and debate their work about themes developed in the book,” added Clark.