Posts

In Need of Better Coordination Among Government Officials

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Here is an interesting article on coordination among government officials. Apparently, the United States faces the same problem with Indonesia, a lack of coordination between officials. I guess this is the problem when we have too many regulators. Some classical legal scholars argue that there are 3 pillars of a government: (i) the legislative (the house of representatives), (ii) the executive (the president), and (iii) the judicial authority (the court). However in this modern world, we need to add another pillar of government, the quasi-regulator a.k.a government agencies. Some examples in Indonesia: the Capital Market and Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency (Bapepam-LK) and the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). Not to mention that specific ministries also have authorities to issue technical implementing regulations. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics could be a good example as this ministry governs many important sectors such as broadcasting and telecommunicati

Designing Anti Corruption Policy: A Response to Cafe Salemba's Law for Sale

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A couple of days ago I found this interesting article in Cafe Salemba. Their basic idea is that competition among law enforcers in fighting corruption, i.e. the Commission of Corruption Eradication ("KPK") and the General Attorney Office ("Kejaksaan") is good as it will increase the cost of bribery and the efficiency of the law enforcers. I beg to differ with this approach, since this will only work under 2 basic assumptions: (i) both law enforcers work in a professional and clean manner or both take bribes seriously; and (ii) cases can be easily transferred between law enforcers (though it seems impossible under the double jeopardy rule). Why do we need the above assumptions in order to ensure that the competition system will work? Because if not, one of the law enforcers can act as a save haven for the bad guys simply by guaranteeing the villains that their bribe will work and that they will be protected from the other law enforcer who don't receive an

Conspiracy Theories Revisited

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From all the existing theories in the world, I bet conspiracy theories are the most long lasting ones. But why? Why people love conspiracy theories so much? What's the effect of these conspiracy theories and how the government should deal with it? A short paper from Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule could give some hints to answer that. Download it here . According to them, one of the distinctive characteristics of conspiracy theories is their "self sealing" quality, meaning, c onspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. I begin to think that these conspiracy theorists are acting like religious fundamentalists, resistant to correction and living in denial :p. In any way, the case of conspiracy theories is pretty relevant for Indonesia. The paper argues that conspiracy theories are more powerful in societies with systematical malfunctioning o

Studying Costs at US Law Schools: A Little Comparison with Indonesia

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I've just found this rather gloomy article accusing that some US law schools (mostly third and fourth tiers law schools) were tricking people to think that the super expensive tuition fee of those law schools is a good investment for their future, since in reality, many new law graduates later find out that they are succumbed to excessive amount of debt without any proper job to support the repayment. A pity indeed! Based on the data provided in this site and my own personal research, the general annual cost for studying at a US private university law school, whether it is a top tier or low tier one, is around US$65,000-US$70,000 (meaning that a law student needs to spend around US$200,000 to finish a 3 years JD course!). The cost can be cheaper though if it is a public university, but still, it's expensive from any point of view. If you are interested, you can see the data of various US law schools ranking here . With such huge amount of tuition fee and living expenses, n

Do Corporations Have Personal Privacy?

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I've just found an interesting case from the Supreme Court of the Unites States on whether corporations have the so called "personal privacy". You can review the opinion here and a brief commentary from the SCOTUS Blog here . Apparently, according to the Supreme Court, while in legal terms the word "person" may include corporations, the word "personal privacy" is not applicable for corporations since the word itself pertains to the privacy interest of individuals, it suggests a type of privacy evocative of human concerns, and this is not the sort usually associated with an entity like corporations. To put it simply, can you actually hurt the feeling of a corporation? The case itself is about the request from a US trade organization asking the US Federal Communications Commission to disclose information related to its investigation upon AT&T on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA "). The request was rejected due to so

Remembering Joe Flom

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A little bit late but still important to be shared in this blog. Joe Flom, the last founding partner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, one of the biggest law firms in the world in terms of size and revenues, passed away on 23 February 2011. Now, every aspiring corporate lawyer should know this guy as he is simply a legend among corporate lawyers, especially those who focus their practice in merger & acquisitions. You can check his profile here or read a beautifully crafted obituary about him from one of his fellow partners, Peter Atkins, here . Goodbye Mr. Flom, I am sure your legacy will continue to live for a very long time. Rest in peace.

Thinking Like a Lawyer for Corporate Lawyers

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To be honest, I've practiced as a lawyer for more than 6 years and still, I don't know exactly what's the true meaning of thinking like a lawyer. Apparently, Prof. Bainbridge thinks that to enable more lawyers to think like a lawyer, law schools require more experienced lawyers than PhDs to teach at those schools. See the article here . You can also see a nice law review article on thinking like a lawyer here . I have to disagree with some of his premises though. My gut feeling says that the main problem with those PhDs is not that they can't teach lawyers about other fields that can enrich a lawyer's ways of thinking but simply because the quality of those PhDs are mediocre. On the other hand, I am quite certain that asking more experienced lawyers to teach at law schools seems like a good proposal, especially if you're talking about corporate laws. Like it or not, in Indonesia, the development of corporate laws lies mostly in the hand of corporate lawyers

SEC's Shareholder Proposal Policy and the Materiality Principle

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Here is a very interesting article from Prof. Stephen M. Bainbridge on the absurdity of the new SEC's Shareholder Proposal Policy which basically gives the right to minority shareholders of a publicly listed company to force a vote in a general meeting of shareholders. The absurdity lies in the fact that according to a US court precedent, the tests for granting the validity of such proposal include matters on ethical and social significance, and not only economic matters. Of course this would be problematic for companies as this is the same with providing the minority shareholders with the ammunition to control the company for matters which are not directly related to its financial and business performance. In this case, I fully agree with Prof. Bainbridge analysis on the importance of materiality principle in securities laws. If the shareholders want to be involved in the company's management, it should be done only for material transactions that may economically affect

Going to Chicago Law School

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So I guess it's official. I will be going to the University of Chicago School of Law in September 2011! I must say that I'm very happy and excited with this result. After all, learning Law and Economics at the law school which created this field at the first place is one of my biggest ambitions. But the best part of being admitted at a first class law school like Chicago is that I will have access to "unlimited" legal materials, and not to mention the fact that I will also be able to spend nine months to read and write new materials without being disrupted with my day to day work as a lawyer. Hopefully, I will have more time to write in this blog during my school days. Another advantage is that Chicago is not that far away from Ohio where my Shiye (the teacher of my kung fu teacher) teaches his class of Bajiquan . An opportunity to learn the art from a real living master is surely a big bonus for me, and I can only be grateful for all of these opportunities. Can'