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January 8, 2021 Letter to the Membership

Dear ALSB Members,

Speaking at the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1932, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said, “the Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith.” He wasn’t talking about the building itself, but rather the way the building stood as a testament to the rule of law as an ideal that enables “peaceful, just, and inclusive societies” (U.N., Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). The Supreme Court building, the White House, and the Capitol are important as physical symbols of democratic values, and Americans are rightfully proud of their strength and integrity.

The Capitol building was stormed this week by an armed mob for the first time since 1814. The rule of law seemed to have disappeared from focus for too many of our nation’s leaders and citizens. There was much that was painfully wrong about the images we saw, not least the way they conjured memories of more violent enforcement responses when diverse and peaceful crowds gathered in Washington this summer to support Black lives and condemn white supremacy and police brutality.

As we said this summer in the midst of pain, suffering, and deterioration of the common peace, we encourage members of the Academy to claim and live into the full potential of our role as teachers, modeling civil discourse and civic engagement. As business law professors, we have unique opportunities to trumpet the sacrosanct nature of the rule of law and to instill a commitment to that rule—and to civil discourse founded upon it—in society’s future leaders. Business leaders speak with powerful voices in the American public square, and we have the chance to show them how to lift those voices with nobility and great effect.

Helping students and neighbors to find the challenge and opportunity of the American journey is an awesome responsibility, and we are humbled to share it with you, never more than today. Our challenge is surmountable because of the support of colleagues, the rich resources of our history and laws, and a persistent kernel of hope: cracks in the foundation of the rule of law are not fatal if we take the opportunity to repair and strengthen our democracy. We hope that all of you have access to the support and resources you need at this time. If there is anything we can do to support you, please let us know.


The Executive Committee of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business

​Robert Bird, President

Jamie Prenkert, President-Elect 

Matthew Phillips, Vice President

Leigh Anenson, Secretary-Treasurer

Eric Yordy, Past President

Linda Christiansen, Chief Accounting Officer

Daniel Herron, Executive Secretary

Terence Lau, Editor-in-Chief, Am. Bus. L.J.

Janine Hiller, AACSB Int’l Liaison

Carolyn Plump, Editor-in-Chief, J. Legal Stud. Educ.

2020 John Bonsignore Award


Phil Nichols Garners Two Prestigious Awards—One in Teaching and One is Scholarhsip at the Academy of Legal Studies in Business Annual Conference.

Professor Philip Nichols, the Wharton School’s Joseph Kolodny Professor of Social Responsibility in Business and Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, has been awarded the 2020 John Bonsignore Memorial Award for Exceptional Teaching of Legal Studies. The Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) annually recognizes a career of exceptional teaching at its annual conference each year. Due to COVID-19 this year’s conference was virtual over August 3-7, 2020. The Bonsignore Award is one of the highest and most prestigious awards given by the ALSB. Named in honor of the late John Bonsignore to honor an exceptional career in teaching legal studies, the award recognizes Professor John Bonsignore (1935-2011) who taught at and founded the legal studies curriculum at the University of Massachusetts.  Professor Bonsignore’s life and career has been memorialized by legal studies scholar Art Wolfe in his book Remembering John Bonsignore.

Professor Nichols exemplifies the spirit and aspirations of John Bonsignore. His research and teaching on emerging economies and on corruption draw from multiple disciplines, he asks students to look at the world in new ways, and his pro bono activities in dozens of countries, in which he often involves students, bring to his classes perspectives on justice and advocacy for the people of the world. For the past twenty-four years, Phil and his family have lived with undergraduate students in one of Penn’s College Houses, during which time they have shared in the undergraduate experiences of many hundreds of students. Phil Nichols has literally devoted his life to undergraduate education.

As a professor of legal studies and business ethics in the Wharton School, Nichols is a past president of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business and hosted the ALSB’s 2016 annual conference in San Juan. Puerto Rico. He is an internationally known expert and consultant in corruption, emerging economies, international trade and investment. His most recent publication is Promoting Creating Shared Value Strategies as a Tool for Controlling CorruptionIn Mastering Corruption: The Practitioner’s View, edited by Wolfgang Amann & Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch, (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2019), pp. 147-165.

Professor Nichols also garnered the prestigious Hoeber Memorial Award at the 2020 ALSB Annual Conference.  This award recognizes the outstanding article in the 2019-2020 volume year of the four issues of American Business Law Journal (ABLJ), the flagship journal of the ALSB with an acceptance rate of less than 5%. Nichol’s award winning article is entitled Bribing the Machine: Protecting the Integrity of Algorithms as the Revolution Begins.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest business school in the United States and one of the most influential in the world. Joseph Wharton included business law among the critical subject areas for the school, and it has been taught there since the school’s founding.

For more information about the ALSB, please contact: Professor Dan Herron, Executive Secretary,

ALSB Action Plan 2020 and Beyond July 6, 2020

July 6, 2020

“Law and ethical behavior are foundational to civilized society.” (ALSB Strategic Plan)

“The Academy promotes knowledge of law, ethical behaviors, and an appreciation for justice, in research and teaching, so that students better understand the world in which businesses operate and so that business leaders may better understand their relationship with society and the impact of their decisions.” (ALSB Mission Statement)

“The Academy supports equality of opportunity for all persons in all aspects of life, and abhors discrimination against persons on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, handicap or disability, affinity or sexual orientation, creed, marital status, statuswith regard to public assistance, height, weight, and veteran status.” (ALSB Bylaws, Article 2)

As the ALSB Executive Committee continues to grapple with the murder of George Floyd and other senseless killings, we recognize that words without actions are hollow. Words alone are insufficient to address violence against black lives, structural inequality, and the perpetuation of systemic racism. We should expect more from ourselves, and asan organization run by its members, we must hold each other accountable.

The ALSB has work to do in the long term to make sure that we follow the values expressed in our Strategic Plan, Mission Statement and Bylaws. Consistent with that vision, we are committed to provide spaces and opportunities for research, teaching, and learning about racial justice and equity. We will continue to reflect upon and solicit ways to do this work, and as we have in the past, we will rely on our membership. We expect that discussions will be ongoing, and we ask for your ideas and contributions for short and long-term strategies to work towards racial justice and to support the equality of all persons.

Today, we announce the following first steps of the Executive Committee to help our membership discuss these difficult issues, prepare for class discussions about these issues, and be the change that matters.

Commitments related to the Annual Conferences:

  1. CONFERENCE VENUES. For the upcoming conferences in 2021 (Minneapolis) and 2022 (Louisville), the Executive Committee, and especially conference chairs Jamie Prenkert and Matthew Phillips, commit to including issues of racial justice and equity in considerations of social events, venue selection for off-site events, and speaker selection.

Commitments related to our mission of promoting knowledge of law, ethical behaviors, and an appreciation for justice:

  1. ALSB READS: A Book Discussion Symposium. The Executive Committeewill work with the Immediate Past President to arrange apanel session at the annual conference to discuss a book(or books)on current issues in law, ethics, and justice in business. The Immediate Past President will select a book or books in consultation with the Executive Committeeand will moderate the session. For 2020, Past President Marisa Pagnattaro has committed to the selection of a book or books on racial issues.
  2. ALSB EDUCATES.The Executive Committee encourages all interested membersto complete the Labor and Employment Law Section of the American Bar Association 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge© found online at

Commitments related to the structure of the ALSB:

  1. ALSB VALUES.The Executive Committee seeks nominations for members to serve on a task force to develop and propose a Values Statement for the organization.
  2. ALSB OFFICE. The Executive Committee will review and revise the “Running for Office” document to include expectations newly elected officers commit to issues related to diversity in planning their conference. This includes consideration of diversity issues in proposing locations, finding venues in the conference city, identifying speakers, and other conference-related activities. In this way, we seek for the commitments made by the current Executive Committee and identified conference chairs to continue in future conferences.

A Message from Members of the ALSB Executive Committee on the Current State of Affairs in the United States.

June 2, 2020

Dear ALSB members:A look at the news across the United States in recent days, weeks, months, and even years, indicates a growing lack of civility, an inability for civil discourse, and an increase in intolerance. We have seen and heard inappropriate name-calling, stereotyping, and promotion of anger or intolerance by those in positions of power and influence. Regardless of politics, this behavior has been, and continues to be, unacceptable.

We are witnessing intense and sincere pain, fear, and anger by many across the globe, but especially among those who have been –and continue to be –subject to systemic racism and other forms of oppression. While not all of us have lived in the shoes of those who experience these feelings most intensely and personally, we express our heartfelt and passionate desires to find a path forward that includes, embraces, and celebrates all people.Our world is wounded in so many ways, and many people are targeted or treated with callous disregard because of what they look like, who they love, or what they believe. This is intolerable.

The ALSB is fortunate to have many leaders in the academic world in our ranks. University of Minnesota President and ALSB member Joan Gabel released this statement, “As a community, we are outraged and grief-stricken. I do not have the words to fully express my pain and anger and I know that many in our community share those feelings, but also fear for their own safety. This will not stand.”University of Georgia President and ALSB member Jere Morehead stated, “In the days ahead, let us move forward in seeking racial justice by practicing acts of kindness, love and understanding, thoughtful listening and constructive dialogue, and by demonstrating our ongoing commitment to do better while working together for a moreunited and just society.”

Individually and collectively, we, as members of your executive committee, encourage all ALSB members -as teachers, scholars, and members of your communities -to be engaged citizens and seek out ways to help ease the pain andsuffering we are witnessing.

We call on all members to teach and model civil discourse and civic engagement.We hope that all of you have access to the support and resources you need at this time. If there is anything we can do to support you, please let us know.

Eric D. Yordy, President – Marisa Pagnattaro, Immediate Past President – Robert Bird, President-Elect and 2020 Program Chair – Jamie Prenkert, Vice President – Matthew Phillips, Secretary/Treasurer – Gideon Mark, Editor-in-Chief, American Business Law Journal – Adam Epstein, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Legal Studies Education – Dan Herron, Executive Secretary – Janine Hiller, AACSB Liaiso