Research Interests: international and administrative law
JD, Harvard University (Law School); BA, Swarthmore College
Wharton: 2008-present. Previous appointment: Washington & Lee School of Law
Attorney, United States Department of Justice
Abstract: How should the executive branch respond to globalization? The president’s executive order on international regulatory cooperation provides a blueprint. The branch will turn to regulatory cooperation to make progress in freeing trade and will encourage a particular approach to that cooperation—harmonization—that was eschewed during the successful European integrative project. The executive order, which is assessed in this Article, represents a welcome political endorsement of a phenomenon that was previously pursued by agencies acting largely on their own remit. It is also an attempt to galvanize the use of regulatory cooperation by other agencies disinclined to pursue it in the past. In addition to analyzing how the executive order is meant to work, this Article argues that while the executive’s approach is promising, it must be paired with a commitment to political oversight to ensure that regulatory globalization remains legitimate. There are signs that the president is beginning to provide this commitment through the executive order; the Article identifies a roadmap for its continuation and a role for Congress as well.
Abstract: Abstract Financial reform has rebalanced the power of international engagement, reducing the role of the President and his diplomats, and increasing that of Congress and independent agencies. In so doing, the reforms have readjusted a balance that many believe was skewed by the government’s response to the financial crisis. The international policy of financial reform has doctrinal implications as well: Congress has supplemented traditional international law with an endorsement of international regulatory cooperation. Because of this supplementation, the things that customary international law used to do—in particular enabling international cooperation and creating innovation in human rights—are now being done by financial regulators wielding the power of informal agreements. The privileging of regulatory cooperation, and the entry into human rights through financial regulation, is evidenced by the so-called Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction Rules that Congress has directed the Securities and Exchange Commission to promulgate.
Abstract: Abstract: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act allowed the Securities & Exchange Commission to bring almost any claim that it can file in federal court to its own Administrative Law Judges. The agency has since taken up this power against a panoply of alleged insider traders and other perpetrators of securities fraud. Many targets of SEC ALJ enforcement actions have sued on equal protection, due process, and separation of powers grounds, seeking to require the agency to sue them in court, if at all.This article evaluates the SEC’s new ALJ policy both qualitatively and quantitatively, offering an in-depth perspective on how formal adjudication – the term for the sort of adjudication over which ALJs preside – works today. It argues that the suits challenging the SEC’s ALJ routing are without merit; agencies have almost absolute discretion as to who and how they prosecute, and administrative proceedings, which have a long history, do not threaten the Constitution. The controversy illuminates instead dueling traditions in the increasingly intertwined doctrines of corporate and administrative law; the corporate bar expects its judges to do equity, agencies, and their adjudicators, are more inclined to privilege procedural regularity. administrative law, securities law, corporate law, constitutional law
David Zaring (2015), Legal Obligation in International Law and International Finance, Cornell International Law Journal, 45.
Abstract: Abstract: In an era riddled with critiques of the relevance of classic international law, some have loudly given up on the subject, while others have placed their hopes in alternative mechanisms of global governance. One alternative is “soft law,” and nowhere is soft law more successful than in international financial regulation (IFR). Today, almost every bank of any size across the world has to keep similar amounts of money in its emergency reserve, cannot stake its future on complex derivatives or other forbidden trades, and faces oversight that, no matter where the bank is located, will be conducted in roughly similar ways, with roughly similar tools. And yet the promulgators of these rules consistently disavow their status as binding law.These disavowals are disingenuous, and unpacking the reasons why has useful lessons for how international governance works, whether backed by treaty and custom or not. IFR works like traditional international law in three ways. It, like international law, depends on domestic institutions for implementation, although traditional international law has often sought to ignore the importance of any institution below the level of the state. IFR reminds us that the coordination of international interests comes with winners and losers, and therefore that the “mere coordination exercise” that international governance represents should not be dismissed, though traditional international law occasionally has been critiqued for that reason. And IFR emphasizes the necessarily messy way that fundamental legal principles are arrived at in international governance of any stripe -- something I call the contestation principle. These features of both hard and soft law have been overlooked by both the traditionalists and critics of international law, but process-driven insights like them have much to tell us about both hard and soft law, which may not, in some ways, be so different after all. financial regulation, international law, soft law
David Zaring (2015), Law and Custom on the Federal Open Market Committee, Law and Contemporary Problems, 32.
Abstract: Abstract: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which controls the supply of money in the United States, may be the country’s most important agency. But there has been no effort to come to grips with its administrative law; this article seeks to redress that gap. The principal claim is that the FOMC’s legally protected discretion, combined with the imperatives of bureaucratic organization in an institution whose raison d’etre is stability, has turned the agency into one governed by internally developed tradition in lieu of externally imposed constraints. The article evaluates how the agency makes decisions through a content analysis of FOMC meeting transcripts during the period when Alan Greenspan served as its chair, and reviews the minimal legal constraints on its decisionmaking doctrinally. Number of Pages in PDF File: 32 JEL Classification: Regulated Industries and Administrative Law, Finance
David Zaring (2015), After the Deal: Fannie, Freddie and the Financial Crisis Aftermath, Boston University Law Review, 95 (3), pp. 371-426.
Abstract: Abstract: The dramatic events of the financial crisis led the government to respond with a new form of regulation. Regulation by deal bent the rule of law to rescue financial institutions through transactions and forced investments; it may have helped to save the economy, but it failed to observe a laundry list of basic principles of corporate and administrative law. We examine the aftermath of this kind of regulation through the lens of the current litigation between shareholders and the government over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We conclude that while regulation by deal has a place in the government’s financial crisis toolkit, there must come a time when the law again takes firm hold. The shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who have sought damages from the government because its decision to eliminate dividends paid by the institutions, should be entitled to review of their claims for entire fairness under the Administrative Procedure Act – a solution that blends corporate law and administrative law. Our approach will discipline the government’s use of regulation by deal in future economic crises, and provide some ground rules for its exercise at the end of this one – without providing activist investors, whom we contend are becoming increasingly important players in regulation, with an unwarranted windfall. Number of Pages in PDF File: 56 Keywords: Financial Crisis, Regulation by Deal, Administrative Procedures Act, Government Takings, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
Abstract: Abstract: The United States increasingly relies on “soft law” and, in particular, on cooperation with foreign regulators to make domestic policy. The implementation of soft law at home is typically understood to depend on administrative law, as it is American agencies that implement the deals they conclude with their foreign counterparts. But that understanding has led courts and scholars to raise questions about whether soft law made abroad can possibly meet the doctrinal requirements of the domestic discipline. This Article proposes a new doctrinal understanding of soft law implementation. It argues that, properly understood, soft law implementation lies at the intersection of foreign relations law and administrative law. In light of the strong powers accorded to the executive under foreign relations law, this new understanding will strengthen the legitimacy and legality of soft law implementation and make it less subject to judicial challenge. Understanding that soft law is foreign relations law will further the domestic implementation of informal international agreements in areas as different as conflict diamonds, international financial regulation, and climate change. Number of Pages in PDF File: 60
Independent Study Project
This course presents law as an evolving social institution, with special emphasis on the legal regulation of business in the context of social values. It considers basic concepts of law and legal process, in the U.S. and other legal systems, and introduces the fundamentals of rigorous legal analysis. An in-depth examination of contract law is included.
This course introduces students to the legal frameworks for regulating international business - national, regional, and international. Topics include mechanisms for dispute resolution, different standards on assigning nationality, jurisdictional and choice of law problems, controversies regarding the treatment of incoming foreign direct investment and expropriation of foreign-owned businesses, patterns in extraterritoriality, problems of clashing legal standards affecting areas like labor and the environment, and projects for creating more uniform rules governing the conduct of international business. Throughout students will be encouraged to evaluate the policy dimensions of laws and to develop their own critical perspectives regarding these.
The course examines the federal securities laws and the operation of the Securities Exchange Commission. The legal responsibilities of corporate managers, accountants, underwriters, and broker-dealers, occasioned by the securities regulatory scheme, will be investigated. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, from a managerial perspective, the various aspects of securities regulation studied. The course will discuss the recent financial crisis and ask the question whether enhanced securities regulation will prevent such a crisis in the future. The material covered in the course will provide familiarity with the basic legal structure of securities regulation and will assist in understanding the current policy issues in securities law. The course should help students to develop the ability to read and learn further in the field and to improve their effectiveness of communication with attorneys. It will also suggest ways of detecting instances in which an attorney should be consulted. The course is particularly useful for those students pursuing careers in corporate finance, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales and trading, venture capital, private equity, entrepreneurship, accounting, corporate management, and real estate.
This course introduces students to important ethical and legal challenges they will face as leaders in business. The course materials will be useful to students preparing for managerial positions that are likely to place them in advisory and/or agency roles owing duties to employers, clients, suppliers, and customers. Although coverage will vary depending on instructor, the focus of the course will be on developing skills in ethical and legal analyses that can assist managers as they make both individual-level and firm-level decisions about the responsible courses of action when duties, loyalties, rules, norms, and interests are in conflict. For example, the rules of insider trading may form the basis for lessons in some sections. Group assignments, role-plays, and case studies may, at the instructor's discretion, be used to help illustrate the basic theoretical frameworks. Course materials will highlight industry codes and professional norms, as well as the importance of personal and/or religious values.
The course examines the federal securities law and the operation of the Securities Exchange Commission. The legal responsibilities of corporate managers, accountants, underwriters, and broker-dealers, occasioned by the securities regulatory scheme, will be investigated. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, from a managerial perspective, the various aspects of securities regulation studied. The course will discuss the recent financial crisis and ask the question whether enhanced securities regulation will prevent such a crisis in the future. The material covered in the course will provide familiarity with the basic legal structure of securities regulation and will assist in understanding the current policy issues in securities law. The course should help students to develop the ability to read and learn further in the field and to improve their effectiveness of communication with attorneys. It will also suggest ways of detecting instances in which an attorney should be consulted. The course is particularly useful for those students pursuing careers in corporate finance, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales and trading, venture capital, private equity, entrepreneurship, accounting, corporate management and real estate. Requirements: Midterm and final exam. Materials: Text, pamphlet of statutes and rules, and study guide.
Student arranges with a Penn faculty member to do research and write a thesis on a suitable topic. For more information on honors visit: https://ppe.sas.upenn.edu/study/curriculum/honors-theses
WIEP features short-term courses that focus on various industries and feature visits to businesses, lectures, extracurricular activities, and networking opportunities with alumni. Students must apply online: https://undergrad-inside.wharton.upenn.edu/wiep/
Allowing Big Tech and other large corporations to set up banks would fundamentally alter the banking landscape in the U.S., says Wharton’s David Zaring in an interview with Wharton Business Daily on SiriusXM. …Read MoreKnowledge at Wharton - 3/16/2021