The Fiduciary Rule: What’s next in Trump’s America? (Department of Labor Edition)

On February 23, 2015, President Obama announced his intention to have the Department of Labor shake up the way investment advice in the US was given. In a major departure from the way investment products had traditionally been sold, every broker and financial advisor who dealt with retirement accounts would now be held to a fiduciary standard. The President claimed that hard working Americans, who had diligently saved for retirement, were losing a combined $17 billion every year to fees […] (More →)

Trade Policy and the Trump Administration

During the campaign season and in the early days of the new administration, there has been considerable attention focused on changing the way the United States engages in trade across the globe. What remains unclear, however, is just how President Trump and his administration plan to address what they see as deficiencies in the status quo in American trade relations and procedures. Operating under the broad aegis of the Tariff Act of 1930, the Federal government has established a long […] (More →)

The Ethical Implications of State Cannabis Legalization for Lawyers

Background Eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) and Washington, D.C. have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. There are an additional twenty states that have legalized cannabis for medical usage in one form or another. However, cannabis is still listed under federal law as a Schedule I drug, meaning the federal government considers it to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. While the Supremacy Clause would typically render invalid any […] (More →)

Government Bailouts: Takings or Financial Firebreaks?

When an economic wildfire starts, should privately owned financial property that is seized by the government to mitigate widespread damage amount to a “taking” or a financial firebreak? This question lies at the heart of a cascade of lawsuits that have been filed in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2008. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (“[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”) forbids the taking of private property for public use […] (More →)

Snap Inc.’s Disappearing Investor Rights

In an IPO landscape marked by low output and absent tech companies, the initial public offering of Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat) has been hotly anticipated since Snap’s confidential filing with the SEC in November 2016. As excitement built for the high-profile offering, rumors surfaced that Snap would preserve the control of its founders, Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy, post-IPO, possibly through common stock with no voting rights. Snap’s Form S-1, filed on February 2, confirmed that Snap plans to implement […] (More →)

The CROWDFUND Act in Action, Finally

It would be hard to downplay the popularity of crowdfunding in today’s Internet age. Now, however, this penchant for crowdfunding has found a new outlet: equity crowdfunding, or the online offering of securities to a group of people in exchange for investment. It was, it seems, an inevitability riding on the back of the Internet age, the visibility of high profile unicorns (startups that are valued at $1 billion or more), and the emergence of Kickstarter and other similar websites: […] (More →)

The Anticompetitive Nature of Today’s Tech Giants

Google, now one of the many companies organized under Alphabet Inc., may again be in the FTC’s crosshairs sometime soon. In a widely followed investigation by the United States Federal Trade Commission which concluded in 2012, the FTC expressed concerns that, among other things, the search giant was using its market position to unfairly favor its own services in the search results users saw. At the time, Google had begun to move away from purely “organic” search results, i.e. those […] (More →)

Do Social Media Companies have a Legal Responsibility to Report or Censor Fake News?

Hillary Clinton and John Podesta are running an underground child trafficking ring out of a local Washington, DC pizza joint. Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States. Donald Trump sent his personal airplanes to rescue stranded marines overseas. What we all (hopefully) know by now is that all of these stories are fictitious, and each was spread to readers worldwide by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Fake news, also called “disinformation” or […] (More →)

Conflict Check: Why Silicon Valley Needs to Consolidate Legal Work

In the legal profession, conflicts of interest are common. Most large law firms have a practice in place for standardizing the disclosure of conflicts of interest and for ‘walling off’ attorneys when such conflicts arise. However, in Silicon Valley—the United States’ home to a substantial majority of technology companies—these conflicts can quickly become problematic. When a limited number of major tech giants (such as Apple, Alphabet, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel) routinely seek legal representation from the limited pool of large law […] (More →)

Does Uber’s Business Model Suggest the Need for a “Third” Employment Classification?

As the gig-economy continues to experience double-digit growth, the popularity of on-demand platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, has revived the issue of employment classifications. Many of these budding companies classify the workers who perform their primary services as independent contractors. This includes Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts, among others. But recent lawsuits and public protests challenge this status. Some gig-economy workers argue that their labor qualifies them as employees not independent contractors. This designation bears important distinctions under federal […] (More →)

About CBLR

Columbia Business Law Review is the first legal periodical at a national law school to be devoted solely to the publication of articles focusing on the interaction of the legal profession and the business community. The review publishes three issues yearly, which involve students in the editing of leading articles in business law, as well as the production of student-written notes.