Category Archives: New Books List

Working-Class Shareholder

The Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for April 1, 2018 has 42 print titles and 30 e-book titles. Among them is one e-title The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon by David Webber, a rare good-news story for American workers. Combining legal rigor with inspiring narratives of labor victory, Webber shows how workers can wield their own capital to reclaim their strength. When the CEO of the supermarket chain Safeway cut wages and benefits, starting a five-month strike by 59,000 unionized workers, he was confident he would win. But where traditional labor action failed, a novel approach was more successful. With the aid of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, a $300 billion pension fund, workers led a shareholder revolt that unseated three of CEO’s boardroom allies. In the book, the author uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

This book could be the modern bible of the movement to harness labor’s capital for working-class interests. It is a riveting and thoughtful book that is not only a fast and fun read, but contributes wonderfully to a new and ongoing conversation about inequality, dark money, and populism in the electorate. On Wednesday, April 18 at 4pm, Brooklyn Law School will host a Book Talk with David Webber, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law to discuss the book. It is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation.

You Are Being Watched

The Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for March 1, 2018 is out with 40 print titles and 17 e-book titles. One of the titles is the 151-page volume Being Watched: Legal Challenges to Government Surveillance by Jeffrey L. Vagle, Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The nine chapters (You Are Being Watched; A History of Government Surveillance; Getting through the Courthouse Door; The Doctrine of Article III Standing; Before the Supreme Court; Government Surveillance and the Law; The Legacy of Laird v. Tatum; Technology, National Security, and Surveillance; and The Future of Citizen Challenges to Government Surveillance) tell a riveting history of the Supreme Court decision that set the legal precedent for citizen challenges to government surveillance, particularly the case of Laird v. Tatum, 408 U.S. 1 (1972). There the Supreme Court considered the question of who could sue the government over a surveillance program, holding in a 5-4 decision that chilling effects arising “merely from the individual’s knowledge” of likely government surveillance did not constitute adequate injury to meet Article III standing requirements. The book also discusses a more recent case where the ACLU challenged the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act over surveillance of American citizens and residents. That Supreme Court case, Clapper v. Amnesty International USA (2013), was one where the Court held that the District Court for the Southern District of New York was correct ruling that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring their case before any federal court.

The book is a fascinating and disturbing story of jurisprudence related to the issue of standing in citizen challenges to government surveillance in the United States. It examines the facts of surveillance cases and the reasoning of the courts who heard them, and considers whether the obstacle of standing to surveillance challenges in U.S. courts can ever be overcome. The author examines the history of military domestic surveillance, tensions between the three branches of government, the powers of the presidency in times of war, and the power of individual citizens in the ongoing quest for the elusive freedom-organization balance. It is essential reading for every American citizen. It explains all the legalities and the methods government uses to surveil citizens.

Delaware’s Dominance in Corporate Law

DelawareAmong the February 1, 2017 New Books List at Brooklyn Law School Library, which has 76 print titles and 55 e-book titles, is Can Delaware be Dethroned? Evaluating Delaware’s Dominance of Corporate Law (edited by, among others, UCLA Law Professors Stephen Bainbridge and James Park, formerly of Brooklyn Law School). At 266 pages, this book is aimed at corporate lawyers, academics, regulators, and judges. The  practitioners and academics who have contributed essays to this volume provide sophisticated analyses of what makes Delaware the leading source of corporate law and describe the challenges that Delaware faces from other states and the federal government. Bainbridge states that Delaware law is neither pro-management nor pro-shareholder yet manages to retain its dominant position largely because of its Courts, particularly its Court of Chancery, devoted largely to corporate law cases. Businesses thrive best in an environment of predictability and certainty.

Delaware is the state of incorporation for almost two-thirds of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as more than half of all companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and other major stock exchanges. In recent years, however, some observers have suggested that Delaware’s competitive position is eroding. Other states have long tried to chip away at Delaware’s position, and recent Delaware legal developments may have strengthened the case for incorporating outside Delaware. The federal government increasingly is preempting corporate governance law. The contributors to this volume are leading academics and practitioners with decades of experience in Delaware corporate law. They bring together perspectives that collectively provide the reader with a broad understanding of how Delaware achieved its dominant position and the threats it faces.

Interestingly, an article titled Should Your Company Incorporate in Delaware? Not So Fast by Alan M. Dershowitz, raises a huge question for Delaware’s supremacy as America’s capital of incorporation. The case involves a ruling in Shawe v. Elting where the Chancery Court ordered the forced sale of a privately-held, thriving corporation over the strenuous objections of shareholders who own half of the company. The court ruled that Shawe and Elting were “hopelessly deadlocked” despite the company’s impressive record of achieving 97 consecutive quarters of profitable growth. The facts of the case show unprecedented evidence of a lengthy and seriously dysfunctional relationship making for interesting reading and showing that corporate law can be far from dull.

Cheating “Everyone Does It”

CheatingThe Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for December 1, 2017 has 49 print titles and 28 e-book titles. Subjects range from criminal justice and judicial error; same-sex marriage; writing skills of US Presidents; history of New York, NY; impeachment of US Presidents; prisons and privatization; and mourning customs, to name a few. Cheating: Ethics and Law in Everyday Life by Stanford Law School Professor Deborah L. Rhode, is one e-book worth reading as it deals with law and ethics and cheating. Cheating, a phenomenon so entrenched in everyday American life, costs close to a trillion dollars annually. Why it remains a serious problem is that it is often excused by the statement that “Everyone does it”. The more that individuals believe that cheating is widespread, the easier it is to justify. If Americans are cheating more, they appear to be worrying about it less. Rhode, rejects the “everybody does it” rationale and sees the ubiquity in deceit as uncomfortably close to a universal human truth. She offers the only recent comprehensive account of cheating in everyday life and the strategies necessary to address it. Because cheating is highly situational, Rhode drills down on its most common forms in sports, organizations, taxes, academia, copyright infringement, marriage, and insurance and mortgages.

The book reviews needed strategies to address the pervasiveness of cheating. Efforts need to begin early, with education by parents, teachers, and other role models who can display and reinforce moral behaviors. Organizations need to create ethical cultures, in which informal norms, formal policies, and reward structures all promote integrity. People need more moral triggers to remind them of their own values. Also important are more effective enforcement structures, including additional resources and stiffer sanctions. Rhode, the founding president of the International Association of Legal Ethics, former president of the Association of American Law Schools, and former founding director of Stanford’s Center on Ethics, notes that cheating has evolved with time. Technology has transformed some forms of cheating with filesharing, downloading of music on the internet, or plagiarism, lifting stuff off the internet, whole sites on the internet that enable people to just cut and paste their term papers and have somebody else even write their paper on plagiarism. She states in an interview with Tavis Smiley that over half of taxpayers admit to cheating sometimes on their forms. 80% of high school students will admit that they’ve cheated in class. The pervasiveness and the persistence of it is what should give us pause because there’s a price tag to it.

Episode 101 – Conversation with Prof. Heidi Brown

Episode 101 – Conversation with Prof. Heidi Brown.mp3

Brooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for November 1, 2017 has 40 print titles and 36 eBook titles. Subjects cover a wide range including Alexander Hamilton, administrative agencies, bar examinations, Christian lawyers, deportation, Donald Trump, Sharia law, technology and the law, and more.

brownOne title stands out: The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy (Call No. KF300.B75 2017) by Heidi K. Brown, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Legal Writing Program at Brooklyn Law School. The book explains the differences among introversion, shyness, and social anxiety and how each manifest in the legal context. It describes how the extrovert bias in law school and practice detrimentally can impact quiet individuals, fueling enhanced anxiety in a vocation already fraught with mental health issues. It also explores how quiet law students and lawyers offer greatly needed proficiency to the legal profession and presents a seven-step process to help introverted, shy, and socially anxious individuals amplify their authentic lawyer voices, capitalize on their natural strengths, and diminish unwarranted stress.

Professor Brown joins us today in a conversation that describes her journey as an attorney who did not fit the mold of the domineering litigator. She discusses her own introversion and her struggles with shyness and social anxiety. In addition to offering specific techniques for embracing the power of introversion, the episode begins with a frank discussion about depression and goes on to show how even extroverted lawyers can benefit from her tips to the introvert.

New Tax Titles at BLS

taBrooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for October contains 10 print titles and 20 eBook titles. Among the print items are two on taxation both authored by BLS Professors. The first is Federal Taxation of Corporations and Corporate Transactions (KF6464.D43 2017) by Steven Dean and Bradley T. Borden. This first edition of Federal Taxation of Corporations and Corporate Transactions provides a comprehensive examination of tax principles with a unique practice-oriented approach to help students become practice ready with skills that they have developed in a setting that reflects practice in the real world. The casebook introduces students not only to transactional tax practice and the federal tax penalty regime, but also to the rules of professional ethics and the specific rules that govern professionals who practice tax law. It features an array of Deal Downloads that breathe life into complex material, presenting high-profile transactions involving Amazon, Apple, Ford and others.

LLCThe second title is Taxation and Business Planning for Partnerships and LLCs: 2017-2018: Client File: DD Pizza LLC (operating partnership) by Bradley T. Borden (Call Number KF6452.B673 2017). The materials in this Client File provide real-word problems, documents, and financials that direct the study of partnership taxation. They are an ideal accompaniment to partnership tax casebooks, especially the author’s own Taxation and Business Planning for Partnerships and LLCs. This first edition of the Client File includes memoranda and practice materials. It also includes recent developments that will not be in most casebooks. The Client File creates a practice setting that is ideal for studying issues that transactional tax attorneys’ clients face regularly.

The book is uniquely designed to help students become practice-ready with skills that they have developed in a setting that reflects actual practice. This new partnership tax casebook has several key features, including an accompanying client file created to help students learn the law in a practice-like setting. This comprehensive treatise-like casebook includes background information on non-tax topics, such as basic accounting and finance, concepts related to debt, and state-law entity transactions, as well as a general review of basic tax concepts that come up through the course of studying partnership taxation. The first edition of Taxation and Business Planning for Partnerships and LLCs also includes rules of conduct for attorneys and practice before the IRS.

Beyond “Thinking Like a Lawyer”

Beyond Legal ReasoningThe Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for September is out with 32 print titles and 9 eBook titles. One of the items is Beyond Legal Reasoning: A Critique of Pure Lawyering (Call No. K212 .L57 2017) by Professor Jeffrey Lipshaw of Suffolk University Law School. In the book, the author addresses the concept of learning to “think like a lawyer,” one of the corners of legal education in the US and beyond. In his book, Professor Lipshaw provides a critique of the traditional views of “thinking like a lawyer” or “pure lawyering,” aimed at lawyers, law professors, and students who want to understand lawyering beyond the traditional warrior metaphor. Drawing examples from the intersection of real world law and business issues, the book argues the “pure lawyering” of traditional legal education is agnostic to either truth or moral value of outcomes. It offers a critique of pure lawyering’s potential both for illusions of certainty and cynical instrumentalism, and the consequences of both when lawyers are called on as dealmakers, policymakers, and counsellors.

This book offers a way of getting beyond merely how to think like a lawyer. It combines legal theory, philosophy of knowledge, and doctrine with an appreciation of real-life judgment calls that multi-disciplinary lawyers are called upon to make. The book is of interest to scholars of legal education, legal language, and reasoning as well as professors who teach both doctrine and thinking and writing skills to 1Ls and for anyone interested in seeking a perspective on “thinking like a lawyer” beyond the litigation field. Law students considering a career in transactional law are well advised to read it right away. Law students should read the book after the 1L year. Lawyers and academics should read it at any time, and judges right away.

Free access to the book is available here.

July New Books List and Impeachment

Brooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for July 1, 2017 has 59 print titles and 30 eBook titles. Many of the titles deal with racial discrimination in the criminal justice administration and elsewhere, for example, He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S Jonathan Bass (Call No. E185.93. A3 B37 2017); Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics by Marie Gottschalk (Call No. HV9471. G667 2016); Homicide Justified: The Legality of Killing Slaves in the United States and the Atlantic World by Andrew T. Fede (E-Book); Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts (Call No. HV6533.L8 M37 2017); and Unequal: How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law by Sandra F. Sperino and Suja A. Thomas (Call No. KF4755 .S965 2017).

ImpeachmentMore controversial is The Case for Impeachment by Allan J. Lichtman (Call No. KF5076.T78 L53 2017). Lichtman made headlines when he predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat the heavily favored Democrat, Hillary Clinton, to win the presidential election. His latest book lays out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority. The book offers a fascinating look at presidential impeachments throughout American history, including the often-overlooked story of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, details about Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Bill Clinton’s hearings. Lichtman shows how Trump exhibits many of the flaws (and more) that have doomed past presidents. As the Nixon Administration dismissed the reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as “character assassination” and “a vicious abuse of the journalistic process,” Trump has attacked the “dishonest media,” claiming, “the press should be ashamed of themselves.” Historians, legal scholars, and politicians alike agree: we are in politically uncharted waters—the durability of our institutions is being undermined and the public’s confidence in them is eroding, threatening American democracy itself. Most citizens—politics aside—want to know where the country is headed. Lichtman argues, with clarity and power, that for Donald Trump’s presidency, smoke has become fire.