Penn Carey Law’s thought leadership in the ESG sphere uniquely prepares our students to enter this rapidly evolving field of business law.
As more investors consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives when making investment decisions, opponents of the movement are increasingly concerned as to whether ESG investing is ethical and effective.
At the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, students can study ESG with preeminent corporate law thought leaders, positioning themselves to enter the field well-informed and confident in their ability to not only participate but also drive conversation.
Developing a keen understanding of the landscape in which ESG exists is the first step in becoming strong leaders in the field. Penn Carey Law offers several courses wherein students can delve deeply topics related to understanding the full contours of the ESG debate, including:
- “Corporate Governance, Ethics, and Compliance,” with Adjunct Professors of Law Jason Halper and Guy Singer
- “Corporate Governance,” with Elizabeth Pollman, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Economics (ILE)
- “Corporate Governance and Compliance,” with Lecturer in Law Andrew Kandel (this course is tailored to Master in Law students)
- “ESG: Current Developments in Public Corporation ESG Initiatives” and “Shareholder Rights,” with Lisa M. Fairfax, Presidential Professor and Co-Director of the ILE
- “Shareholder Activism,” with Lecturer in Law Dan McDermott
Leading Faculty Scholarship
Academic scholarship has and will continue to play a key role in answering the many questions both advocates and opponents have raised about ESG’s ethics and utility.
Several Penn Carey Law faculty members have served as leading scholarly voices in the conversation. Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science Cary Coglianese has been researching and writing about ESG since long before it dominated headlines. In the years since, he and his colleagues at Penn Carey Law continue to spearhead the discussion with influential work such as, non-exhaustively:
- “Management-Based Strategies for Improving Private-Sector Environmental Performance,” by Coglianese, with co-author Jennifer Nash (Harvard Business School)
- “Motivating Without Mandates: The Role of Voluntary Programs in Environmental Governance,” by Coglianese, with co-author Nash
- Regulating from the Inside: Can Environmental Management Systems Achieve Policy Goals? by Coglianese, with co-author Nash
- “The Managerial Turn in Environmental Protection,” by Coglianese
- “Board Committee Charters and ESG Accountability,” by Fairfax
- “Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé on the Mythical Divide Between Voluntary and Mandatory ESG Disclosure,” by Fairfax
- “Stakeholderism, Corporate Purpose, and Credible Commitment,” by Fairfax
- “Do ESG Mutual Funds Deliver on Their Promises?” by Jill E. Fisch, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law and Co-Director of the ILE, with co-authors Quinn Curtis (University of Virginia) and Adriana Z. Robertson (University of Toronto)
- “Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable,” by Fisch
- “Purpose Proposals,” by Fisch
- “Should Corporations Have a Purpose?” by Fisch, with co-author Steven Davidoff Soloman (Berkeley Law)
- “Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG, and Compliance,” by Pollman
- “Diversity and Reimagining the Internal-External Dichotomy,” by Pollman
- “The Corporate Governance Machine,” by Pollman, with co-author Dorothy S. Lund (USC Gould School of Law)
- “The Making and Meaning of ESG,” by Pollman
- “The Supreme Court and the Pro-Business Paradox,” by Pollman
Because legal practice inherently requires lawyers to engage with professionals in a diverse array of fields, Penn Carey Law works closely with colleagues across the University to foster an intentionally interdisciplinary academic network – and in the context of ESG, this collaboration is invaluable.
Penn Carey Law students can choose to pursue 35 joint degree or certificate programs with our partner schools across the University, such as the Wharton School, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, or the Institute for Environmental Studies, and they may also collaborate in interdisciplinary spaces where cutting-edge topics like ESG take center stage.
- The Institute for Law and Economics (ILE) is a joint initiative of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, the Wharton School, and the Department of Economics and serves as a leading voice in corporate law, governance, business, and finance.
- The Future of the Profession Initiative (FPI) regularly convenes experts from across disciplines at conferences and events geared specifically toward ideating ways to move the legal industry forward. Among its goals is a focus on increased diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession – a goal that aligns closely with ESG’s “social” focus.