A.A. Sommer, Jr. Lecture
*The 19th Annual A. A. Sommer, Jr. Lecture on Corporate, Securities and Financial Law was held on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 featuring Robert Cook, President and CEO, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
The A.A. Sommer, Jr. Lecture on Corporate, Securities and Financial Law was established in 2000 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in tribute to their distinguished partner, Al Sommer, who dedicated over three decades of service to the legal profession and to public service. Al Sommer was an expert in a broad range of securities law topics and was influential in creating important regulatory innovations in the securities markets in addition to those in the accounting profession. Mr. Sommer, a prolific writer and Adjunct Professor of Securities Law at the University of Michigan Law School, was also chair or a member of virtually every significant organization in corporate and securities laws. Mr. Sommer served as a Commissioner with the SEC (1973-1976) and Chair of the Public Oversight Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (1986-99), before starting the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius securities law practice in 1979. He was a partner there until 1994 and then became Of Counsel.
Through this lecture series, the world’s leading regulators share with the Law School and the business community their insights into the critical problems confronting the global financial markets. Past speakers have included leaders from the country’s most important regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and the U.K. Financial Services Authority. Beginning in 2004 with the Fourth Annual A. A. Sommer, Jr. Lecture and in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC Historical Society (http://www.sechistorical.org/) joined the Corporate Law Center in honoring Commissioner Sommer.
2017: John C. Coffee, Jr., Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law and director of the Center on Corporate Governance, Columbia Law School
2016: Ira D. Hammerman, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
2015: Joseph A. Grundfest,The William A. Franke Professor of Law and Business
Senior Faculty, Rock Center on Corporate Governance, Stanford Law School
2014: Daniel M. Gallagher, Jr., Commissioner, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
2013: Mary Jo White, Chair, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Albert A. DeStefano Lecture
*The 19th Annual Albert A. DeStefano Lecture on Corporate, Securities and Financial Law, Life in the Commercial Division and Related Trial Advocacy was held on Thursday, March 7, 2019. The lecture featured Justice Barry R. Ostrager, Justice at New York State Supreme Court.
Becker Ross, LLP (formerly known as Becker, Ross, Stone, DeStefano & Klein) established the Albert A. DeStefano Lecture Series in 2001 to honor the distinguished law career of one of the firm’s principal partners. Mr. DeStefano, a 1947 cum laude graduate of Fordham Law School, specialized in corporate matters, especially mergers and acquisitions. From 1973 to 1983, he shared his expertise with Fordham Law students as an Adjunct Professor, teaching corporate acquisitions. Mr. DeStefano dedicated his life to the service of others and was a devoted trustee to numerous charitable organizations including Helen Keller Services for the Blind and Cleary School for the Deaf.
A role model for all who knew him, Albert A. DeStefano passed away in November 2012 at the age of 93.
The annual DeStefano Lecture brings policymakers, members of the judiciary and distinguished attorneys to Fordham Law to share their insights of important developments in business and business law in a wide range of timely and diverse topics. Previous speakers include former Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-OH), the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York and former Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Stuart M. Bernstein ’75. Additional previous programs included expert panel discussions on such topics as: “The Subprime Mortgage Meltdown and the Global Financial Crisis” (2008), “Crisis in Confidence: Self Regulation in the Securities Industry” (2004), and “Enron: What Went Wrong?” (2002).
The 19th Annual Albert A. DeStefano Lecture featured the Honorable Barry R. Ostrager, who received his undergraduate degree from the City College of the City University of New York in 1968 and his Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law in 1973. Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Justice Ostrager to the New York Court of Claims in June 2015 and, subsequently, to the New York Supreme Court’s Commercial Division in June 2017. The Commercial Division, established in 1995 under the leadership of then Chief Judge Judith Kaye, was one of the first state court trial divisions devoted entirely to business cases.
Prior to his appointment, Justice Ostrager spent over forty (40) years in practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP. He became partner in 1980 and served as Chair of the firm’s 300+ person Litigation Department from 1999 to 2011. Justice Ostrager is a member of The City Bar, New York County Lawyers’ Association, New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Law Institute, Federal Bar council and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Justice Ostrager has co-authored the Handbook on Insurance Coverage Disputes, 17th Ed. (Wolters Kluwer 2015) and Modern Reinsurance Law and Practice, 3d Ed. (Thomson Reuters 2014) and is a contributing author to Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (Thomson Reuters).
At this year’s DeStefano Lecture, Justice Ostrager discussed his life in the Commercial Division and related trial advocacy, including litigation between Anderson Consulting and Anderson Worldwide that created the consulting firm Accenture. Justice Ostrager emphasized the value of the Commercial Division as a forum for the effective resolution of business disputes and lauded the Commercial Division’s capacity to manage a growing caseload in recent years. Furthermore, Justice Ostrager weighed the advantages of jury trials for plaintiffs and litigators, stressed the importance of attorneys familiarizing themselves with the New York Consolidated Laws and the Civil Practice Laws and Rules, and encouraged law students to pursue judicial clerkships.
Fred Dunbar Memorial Lecture in Law and Economics
*The 2016 Dunbar Lecture was held on Monday, March 7, 2016, featuring Christine Jolls, Gordon Bradford Tweedy Professor of Law and Organization, Yale Law School
NERA Economic Consulting established the Fred Dunbar Memorial Lecture in Law and Economics at Fordham Law School in memory of Fred Dunbar, PhD, a longtime firm member, and leading securities and finance expert. Dr. Dunbar passed away in February 2012.
Dr. Dunbar joined NERA in 1979 and founded the firm’s Securities and Finance and Mass Torts and Product Liability Practices. He was widely regarded as a distinguished economist “who worked at the intersection of law and economics.” Throughout his career at NERA he was a sought-after expert witness whose testimony and use of econometrics—a form of mathematical and statistical analysis—significantly influenced claims estimation and litigation in court cases and arbitrations worldwide.
In September 2009, he was appointed an Economic Fellow in the Office of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Dr. Dunbar was part of the Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation, supporting the Commission in enforcement and fraud detection.
Dr. Dunbar also had an academic career: he taught in the Economics Departments of Tufts University and Northeastern University, and he served as an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School and Columbia Law School. He was a dedicated teacher whose academic experiences informed his work throughout his career.