The Brief: Law School News and Events

Two New Faculty Members
William Wilson Bratton, a visiting professor from Georgetown last fall, and Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L'05, a Sharswood Fellow in law and psychology for the last two years, have joined the Penn Law faculty, bringing it to 50 members, a 45 percent increase in size since 2000.

Baker Connecting Dots Between Liability Insurance and Corporate Governance

William Wilson BrattonBratton, who will serve as a co-director of the Institute for Law and Economics, is recognized internationally as a leading writer on business law. He brings an interdisciplinary perspective to a wide range of subjects that encompass corporate governance, corporate finance, accounting, corporate legal history, and comparative corporate law. His work has appeared in the Cornell, Michigan, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, Stanford, and Virginia law reviews, and the Duke and Georgetown law journals, along with the American Journal of Comparative Law and the Common Market Review. His book, Corporate Finance: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 6th ed. 2008), is the leading law school text on the subject. He currently is editing a collection of essays on shareholder activism to be published by Oxford Press. Bratton is a research associate of the European Corporate Governance Institute. In 2009, he was installed as the Anton Phillips Professor at the Faculty of Law of Tilburg University in The Netherlands, the fifth American academic to hold the chair.

Tess Wilkinson-RyanWilkinson-Ryan, who was associate editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law, earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. She studies the role of moral judgment in legal decisionmaking. She uses experimental methods from psychology and behavioral economics to ask how people draw on their moral intuitions to motivate or inform legal choices. Her research focuses in particular on private contracts and negotiations. She has argued that most people think that breaking a promise is immoral, and that a breach of contract if a kind of broken promise. People are uncomfortable with the prospect of breaking a promise, and resistant to profiting from what they perceive to be a moral violation. This kind of finding has implications for a variety of promissory transactions, from mortgage contracts to commercial agreements to prenups. The broad goal of her scholarship is to use behavioral research to shed light on how people interpret the law, how they conceive of their rights and obligations, and how social and moral norms interact with the applicable legal rules.