MLB’s Political Donations

Author: Madeleine Smith | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: February 15th, 2019 | Download PDF

The World Series ended over a month ago, but, this weekend, Major League Baseball was back in the headlines.

A flurry of critical commentary began when Judd Legum of Popular Information broke the news that the MLB, through the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball PAC, had donated $5,000 to the campaign of highly-criticized Mississippi Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.[1] Then, the day after the story broke, the MLB publicly requested that Hyde-Smith’s campaign return the funds.[2] (more…)

Do No Evil or Do the Right Thing?

Author: Angeli Patel | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: February 15th, 2019 | Download PDF

In 2010, Google withdrew from China because of its censorship laws and online hacking. Now, it is working on a search engine for China that will censor websites and search terms that are blacklisted by the Chinese government. What’s going on?  

The Chinese government has long believed in “internet sovereignty,” a concept where each country has the right to regulate its own internet—it has already achieved this vision by building The Great Firewall of China. It is also helping other authoritarian countries develop similar online architecture. For China, this also means being able to build mass surveillance and censorship systems. The development of AI makes automated, machine controlled surveillance a dystopian nightmare. The Chinese State Council announced in 2017 that it aims to become the world A.I. leader by 2030, and outperform its rivals to build a domestic industry worth almost $150 billion. Search engines are the biggest data source required to build an accurate AI system. When Google withdrew, it left Baidu, Google’s main competitor in China, to rack up the rest of the market share, and data, of the world’s largest internet market. What is Google’s role now given China’s 2030 goal?


Corporate Sustainability in the Shift Toward Private Ownership

Author: Brenden Glapion | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: January 22nd, 2019  | Download PDF

In March of 2017, the number of publicly traded domestic companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges had hit its twenty year low of approximately three thousand, six hundred companies. Twenty years earlier the number was almost double in June of 1997 with seven thousand, six hundred publicly traded U.S. companies. Naturally, the decline in public companies and initial public offerings over this twenty year period was accompanied by a large growth in privately held companies. This decline not only resulted in an increase in private companies, but also an increase in “bigger” publicly held companies as a result of mergers and acquisitions and technological innovation. For example, at its peak, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, engaged in nearly one acquisition a week. (more…)

Salesforce + Customs and Border Patrol

Author(s): Caroline Soussloff | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2019 | Posted: January 10th, 2019 | Download PDF

In June, employees at Salesforce called for the company to withdraw its contract with US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in opposition to the agency’s implementation of the Trump administration’s policy of family separation. In an open letter to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, they decried their employer’s complicity in “the inhumane treatment of vulnerable people.” NGOs are backing their efforts. However, Benioff has so far declined to cancel the contract—despite his personal political convictions, which lean progressive, and his demonstrated willingness to use Salesforce as a vehicle for political activism in the past (in the context of LGBT rights). (more…)

Standardized ESG Disclosure: European Union as Role Model?

Author: Lukas Herndl | UC Berkeley School of Law | LL.M. Candidate 2019 | Posted: January 8th, 2019 | Download PDF

An increasing number of companies disclose their ESG[1] strategy and related risks to investors and to the public. These disclosures, commonly referred to as sustainability reports, follow a rising demand by investors who see ESG as an important factor influencing the long-term performance of businesses. But since disclosure is not mandatory, a significant number of companies does not report. And absent common guidelines, voluntary sustainability reports are hard to compare and thus have less value for investors. (more…)