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Shareholder Activism

March 26, 2024

Penn Carey Law sign - Golkin entrance

Prof. Jill E. Fisch and Lecturer in Law Dan McDermott’s course teaches students to holistically analyze a corporate issuer to include several factors, including ESG/corporate governance.

Jill E. Fisch, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law Jill E. Fisch, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business LawJill E. Fisch, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Economics, and Lecturer in Law Dan McDermott teach a pathbreaking shareholder activism course that was featured prominently in The Deal.

The class includes law students from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, MBA students from the Wharton School, and students enrolled in the Francis J. & William Polk Carey JD/MBA Program.

From The Deal:

About a week before Engaged Capital LLC launched an activism campaign in October urging VF Corp. (VFC) to consider divestitures, a group of students at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School enrolled in the school’s Shareholder Activism course identified the apparel and footwear company as a possible activist target.

Dan McDermott, Lecturer in Law Dan McDermott, Lecturer in Law“They found VF Corp. on their own and then Engaged came out with their deck at a conference,” said Dan McDermott, a lecturer at Penn who created an activist investing class in 2021.

McDermott, an executive at communications firm ICR Inc., said he started the course after realizing that much of the subject matter involved in the world of activist investing wasn’t being taught in U.S. M.B.A. programs and law schools. The course is among a number of activist courses popping up at top business and law schools in the U.S.

McDermott, an executive at communications firm ICR Inc., said he started the course after it dawned on him that the subject matter and practical skills involved in the world of activist investing wasn’t being taught in MBA programs and law schools.

During the course, students compare shareholder return at public companies to their peers over one-, three- and five-year intervals. The students also present campaigns about companies after reviewing capitol allocation, performance, and growth topics.

In the past, leading activists and advisers have guest lectured the class, including Georgeson partner Bill Fiske and Olshan Frome Wolosky LP Partner Elizabeth Gonzalez-Sussman.

Read the full article at The Deal.