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Current Issue : Fall 2009

TOM LIN

Legal Writing Instructor Focuses on Corporate Law

Tom Lin joined the legal writing faculty from the Investor Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Before that he was an associate with the Corporate Department of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Lin received his undergraduate degree in Economics from New York University and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In his third year of law school he was awarded an Arthur Littleton Fellowship to teach legal writing. He also was a senior editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law and the Journal of Law & Social Change.

Lin is excited to return to academia and is looking forward to devoting more time to scholarly writing. His most recent article, “Undressing the CEO: Disclosing Private, Material Matters of Public Company Executives,” published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, concerns the privacy rights of public company executives. Lin argues that while more information has become available about publicly traded companies, not enough information is available about the executives who run them. “The growing regulatory spotlight on public companies has created a penumbra over their boardrooms and executive suites, leaving investors without critical information. To deal with this regulatory gap, he advocates for “increasing regulated disclosure of private, material information concerning public company executives based on an examination of the changing investor landscape, the elevated position of the executive, and equalizing role of regulated disclosure in the modern information age.” The article sets forth a model for sensitive disclosures that “works within the current federal securities apparatus with minimal burdens on the disclosing party and increased information to the investing public.”

Lin’s current research is in the area of reconfiguring securities risk. As part of his research, Lin reviewed risk factor disclosure of key players in the financial meltdown. “The paper I am writing discusses the shortcomings of the current disclosure framework and how we should address those shortcomings in light of studies on cognitive limitations that challenge the rational man assumption in securities regulation.”

The power of the word, whether in disclosure documents or in legal briefs, has always been very significant to Lin and a respect for that power is something he hopes to impart to his students. “I want my students to be very conscious and aware of what words they use and how they use them in their practice. It’s a great skill to have.”

Tom Lin Professor Tom Lin