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Lisa M. Fairfax

Presidential Professor; Co-Director, Institute for Law and Economics

Lisa M. Fairfax is the Presidential Professor and a co-director of the Institute for Law & Economics (ILE). Fairfax teaches courses in the business area including Corporations, Contracts, Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”), and seminars in securities law and corporate governance. Fairfax’s research and scholarly interests include corporate governance, board fiduciary duties, board-shareholder engagement, board composition and diversity, board oversight of ESG, shareholder engagement and activism, affinity fraud, and securities.

In addition to her many book chapters, Fairfax has authored a text book, BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH, published by Foundation Press, and co-authored a text book, SECURITIES LITIGATION, ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE: CASES AND MATERIALS Donna Nagy and Veronica Root Martinez, published by West Academic Press. Fairfax’s book Shareholder Democracy: A Primer on Shareholder Activism and Participation is a seminal work on shareholder activism. Fairfax is the author of many law review articles including her article voted one of the ten best corporate and securities articles of 2019, The Securities Law Implications of Financial Illiteracy. In 2017, the Business Associations Section of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) awarded Fairfax the “Outstanding Mentor Award” in recognition of her scholarship and commitment to mentoring others in the profession. In 2016, the Minority Group Section of the AALS awarded Professor Fairfax the “Trailblazer Award” in recognition of her teaching and scholarly contributions to the profession and has been voted teacher of the year several times throughout her academic career.

Fairfax currently serves as a public governor on the Board of Governors of the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA). Fairfax previously served as a member of the Investor Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Fairfax also is a former member of both the National Adjudicatory Council of FINRA, where she served as chair of its subcommittee on waivers, and FINRA’s NASDAQ Market Regulation Committee.

Fairfax is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) as well as a member of the Advisory Group for the ALI Restatement of Law, Corporate Governance. Fairfax serves on the board of the Institute for Law and Economic Policy (ILEP) and the SEC Historical Society. Fairfax is a former board member of DirectWomen, an organization aimed at increasing public company board diversity.

Fairfax is a former member of the Committee on Corporate Laws of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, which Committee is responsible for updating the Model Business Corporation Act. Fairfax is a former chair of both the Securities Regulation Section and the Business Associations Section of AALS.

Before joining Penn, Fairfax was the Alexander Hamilton Professor of Business Law at the George Washington University Law School and the Director of the GW Corporate Law and Governance Initiative. Prior to joining the GW Law faculty, Fairfax was a Professor of Law and Director of the Business Law Program at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Before entering academia, Fairfax practiced corporate and securities law with the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston and D.C. Fairfax graduated with honors at Harvard College and earned her J.D., with honors, at Harvard Law School.