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Spring 2024 Course

Failed Corporations: A Post-Mortem

Prerequisites: Corporations is a required prerequisite and a course in bankruptcy or corporate reorganizations will be helpful, although not required. LLM students with experience in corporate practice prior to enrollment at HLS may waive the prerequisite with permission of the instructor.

Exam Type: No Exam.
Students will be asked to submit, before most sessions, a brief response paper to the readings for that session, and grades will be based primarily on these memos as well as on class participation.

In the past two decades, we have observed some spectacular corporate failures. When corporations fail, they typically end up in bankruptcy court where a federal judge has the power to appoint a neutral examiner to study what happened. In this course, we will study six important corporate failures, mostly using the reports of bankruptcy examiners to explore what went wrong and what could have been done differently. We will consider whether or not these corporate failures offer generalizable lessons and what the cases say, individually and collectively, about the American system of corporate governance and capitalism.

Note: This course will meet over six sessions on the following dates: January 24, January 31, February 14, February 21, March 6, and March 27.