Thursday, August 18, 2016

Department of Justice Will End its Use of Private Prisons

The United States Department of Justice announced today that it no longer intends to house federal inmates in private, for-profit prisons.  The DOJ cited its own study finding that private prisons "simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department's Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security."  In a memo released by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, federal prison officials were directed to no longer renew contracts with private prison corporations, like the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, or to significantly reduce the scope of the contract with the end-goal of eliminating federal use of private prison facilities.  According to Deputy Yates' release:  "Today, I sent a memo to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons directing that, as each private prison contract reaches the end of its term, the bureau should either decline to renew that contract or substantially reduce its scope in a manner consistent with law and the overall decline of the bureau’s inmate population.  This is the first step in the process of reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons."

This is clearly not good news for CCA, the GEO Group, and other for-profit private prison operators.  The federal government had steadily supplied prisoners to these profit centers for the past decade as mass incarceration overwhelmed good moral and fiscal judgment in the United States.  In fact, CCA and GEO Group stock plunged nearly 40% upon the news today.  CNN reports: "[A]dvocates for prison reform believe this could be the beginning of the end for private prisons. Wall Street appears to agree. The stocks of two of the largest private prison operators fell dramatically after The Washington Post reported the news. Corrections Corporation of America (CXW) lost 40% of its value Thursday. Geo Group (GEO) also slumped about 40%" 

The Street reports:  "Shares of private prison operators have plunged to new lows for the year on steep declines Thursday following the [DOJ's] decision to effectively end contracts with those companies. . . . Neither company [CCA or GEO] figures to weather this storm very easily, as they don't have any significant brand extensions that insulate them from their primary business of providing correctional facilities for the government. In 2015, for instance, 45% of GEO revenue came from the Federal Government. However, these companies also operate state penitentiaries, which should not be directly affected by the DOJ's action."

The Corporate Justice Blog has long maintained that private, for-profit prison corporations are fundamentally immoral as its leaders are perversely incentivized to injure U.S. citizens by lobbying for harsher sentences (three-strikes laws), developing "new" crimes punishable by prison time (AZ SB 1070, crimmigration), providing poorer services to inmates in order to cut costs, and forcing cities and municipalities into signing contracts that guarantee 90% occupancy rates in the private prisons.  Recent research and scholarship indicate that the promised benefits of private prisons, that they are  cheaper, safer, and more efficient, are simply not true.  This research shows that private prisons keep inmates locked-up longer (for same-time sentences), are less safe, and are more costly, each attributable directly to a profit motivation.

Adam Lamparello and I recently published an update on the perverse incentives that motivate private prison executives summing up the research that finds that private, for-profit prisons do not deliver on their promised efficiencies:  Private Prisons and the New Marketplace for Crime.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Trump's New Smoot-Hawley Depression?

I have written extensive legal critiques on the shortcomings of the western model of globalization that the US largely imposed after WWII. Indeed, my book on the lawlessness of the uber-class in the years before the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, Lawless Capitalism, includes an entire chapter called "Rigged Globalization."

That chapter argues that US financial and corporate elites (including the megabankers Trump wishes to free from law and regulation) rigged globalization to maximize profits from low wages world-wide and the use of unsustainable debt to spur consumption even in the face of declining job prospects throughout the developed world due to massive off-shoring of jobs to low wage locales. Globalization was not constructed or implemented with a view towards sustainable economic growth.

The book includes specific innovations to reconstruct globalization in accordance with economic science to vindicate its pro-growth potential to the maximum extent possible. These innovations include empowering all people to freely move to their highest and best use (which would double global GDP) and investing currency reserves into global infrastructure projects which would immediately spur massive global job creation. Globalization can be fixed and can operate to secure rising living standards worldwide.

 Trashing globalization and pursuing protectionist policies such as higher tariffs is not a good idea. In fact, it was done before and led to global economic disaster. In 1930, the GOP-controlled Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, and GOP President Herbert Hoover signed the Act into law. There is broad agreement among economists that this Act prolonged and deepened the Great Depression by raising tariffs and triggering a global trade war. According to the Economist, global trade collapsed by over 60 percent in the aftermath of Smoot-Hawley as shown in the accompanying chart.

Yet, Donald Trump, ignoring history, consistently built his campaign on the theme of protectionism. He has pledged to slap a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports and a 35 percent tariff on Mexican imports. We need not rely only upon history to understand the danger of Trump's economic ideas. Mark Zandi (a former economic adviser to the Senator John McCain presidential campaign in 2008) of Moody's projects that Trump's trade policy would lead to a recession, drive up unemployment to 9.5 percent, lead to up to 7 million lost jobs, and increase the national debt by 60 percent. In short, according to Zandi, it is a scenario "any rational person would want to avoid." Zandi is not the only economist that concludes that Trump's idea's would lead to risks from a severe recession to higher prices for consumers.

Even traditional GOP supporters are aghast at the sheer recklessness of Trump's promises. For example, Peter Singer, a financial expert and longstanding GOP donor states: "If he actually . . . gets elected president its close to a guarantee of a global depression, [a] widespread global depression." Former Bush Administration official, Robert Zoellick, calls Trump's trade ideas "foolhardy." He adds that free trade saves the average household $10,000 per year through lower prices on a range goods produced outside the US. In fact, no less than three former US Trade Representatives joined 50 other former GOP officials to reject Trump's candidacy and terming his proposals "most reckless."

In sum, economic science and theory, history, and expert opinion all align on Trump's trade proposals: they are dangerous, reckless, and ill-informed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Trump Wants to "Dismantle" Dodd-Frank and Re-ignite the Great Financial Crisis of 2008



Understandably, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and the rump of the GOP still standing behind his "bigotedcampaign (in the words of former  and current GOP representatives) do not want to talk about the accompanying chart at right. They claim the USA economy is "ruined." The chart at right proves them wrong and proves that President Obama can rightly claim that the US economy is the "envy of the world."

President Obama is not the only one making this claim. The Economist termed the US economy the "lonely locomotive" of growth in a world mired in stagnation. The OECD reckons that since 2008 the US economy is 11 percent larger, while the Eurozone and Japan have grown by a small fraction of this number. The out-performance of the US economy under President Obama is a reality-based fact!

Further, with respect to the crucial question of job growth, President Obama's policies led to more than 14 million new jobs since the depths of the crisis of 2008. Even a cursory look at job growth in the USA since the Bush Administration (see chart below) proves that the GOP led the economy to the greatest job destruction in modern history. According to the Wall Street Journal, George W. Bush had the worst job creation record since WWII. President Obama quickly turned around the massive job losses he inherited, and has now presided over 70 straight months of job growth.

And, the most recent jobs report from the US Department of Labor is perhaps one of the best yet. Wages were up. The employment ratio was up. The US is now creating more jobs than at any other time since the last Clinton years.

Certainly, more job growth would be better, particularly for the middle class. Inequality is also a major barrier to continued economic growth. Economic weakness across the world further hinders US export growth. Global growth in turn would lead to more impressive job growth.These topics warrant separate posts, for another day.

The key point for this post is that after a devastating economic collapse in  2008, after 8 years of GOP control, the US economy has achieved the most impressive economic recovery among developed nations. The entire developed world suffered a massive heart attack in 2008, and faced a total financial collapse; the US recovered the fastest and has enjoyed the most growth since the crisis.

The charts herein and the facts cited above show beyond dispute that the USA outperformed the entire world after the GOP trashed the economy the last time they controlled the government. After 8 years of GOP leadership, the US economy cratered in 2008, losing over 800,000 jobs per month. It now produces hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, month after month.

What particular policies led to this historic turnaround?

The OECD attributes the US recovery to government policies, including Obama's stimulus bill and financial stability, secured by the Dodd-Frank Act. Indeed, the OECD finds that:

Chart of GDP growthEfforts to raise further capital requirements for large financial institutions, reduce fragmentation among regulators, and introduce macro-prudential tools is justified. In this respect, full implementation of Basel III and the Dodd-Frank Act is critical.

I have previously criticized the Dodd-Frank Act for being incomplete, too weak, and too pro-banker. That is why I agree with Hillary Clinton and the experts at the OECD that it should be fully implemented and expanded. After all, the American economy outperformed the entire developed world after the financial crisis while Dodd-Frank became law and regulators implemented its mandates.

Yet, Trump wants to go the opposite direction. Trump quite clearly wants to "rip up" Dodd-Frank and return to the 2008 pre-Dodd-Frank legal and regulatory reality that spawned the Great Financial Crisis. This is the key difference between Trump and Clinton on the issue of bank regulation according to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, Trump has already met with congressional leaders to plot the repeal of Dodd-Frank, suggesting that unlike most of his other crazy ideas he is quite serious about returning to the dark days of later 2008.

But given the impressive and successful performance of the US economy after the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, it just makes no sense to return to the same legal and regulatory reality that spawned that crisis. Why even roll the dice? If the gamble goes wrong (as so many Trump gambles do) it could mean mass unemployment like that which occurred prior to the inauguration of President Obama.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Federal Reserve is too ‘White and Male’ say Democrats

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
Democratic lawmakers recently forwarded a letter to Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen indicating that the level of diversity currently represented at the Fed is unacceptable.  The letter stated:  “When the voices of women, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Americans, and representatives of consumers and labor are excluded from key discussions, their interests are too often neglected. . . .  By fostering genuine full employment, the Federal Reserve can help combat discrimination and dramatically reduce the disproportionate unemployment faced by minority populations.”  The letter, signed by 11 U.S. Senators and more than 100 members of Congress, called upon chairperson Yellen to aggressively seek to increase minority and female representation at the Federal Reserve bank.  To wit: "[W]e remain deeply concerned that the Federal Reserve has not yet fulfilled its statutory and moral obligation to ensure that its leadership reflects the composition of our diverse nation in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, economic background, and occupation, and we call on you to take steps to promptly begin to remedy this issue."

The letter noted that the Federal Reserve bank leadership is "overwhelmingly and disproportionately white and male."  The Financial Times noted that "[e]leven of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents are white and 10 of the 12 are men. All of the 10 current voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy, are white, while four of them are women. Members of the Fed’s Board of Governors, who rank among the top rate-setters, are selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but the Board of Governors has a key role in selecting the Fed’s regional bank presidents."

Of course, this story begs the question, does diversity in the boardroom and diversity at the heights of fiscal policymaking make a difference?  Would the Fed set different policies if board members were women or persons of color?  Certainly 11 Senators and 116 Congresspersons believe so.


hat tip:  T.J. Williams, Indiana Tech Law School

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Predatory lending in the context of home ownership continues in 2016 under another name



   Almost five years ago I wrote an essay about predatory lending practices that targeted African Americans and other communities of color.  Mortgage originators relaxed their standards to offer subprime mortgages, and in some instances, engaged in fraud so that they could make more loans at high rates of interest and therefore make more money.  Many consumers of color who qualified for prime or low-interest mortgages were offered only subprime, high-interest loans.  People of color who did not qualify for low-interest mortgages were offered subprime loans even though they had no or low incomes and no assets.  Lenders told these consumers that they would be able to pay off their mortgages as housing prices climbed.  But the housing bubble burst and housing prices plummeted.  Predictably, many borrowers could not repay these predatory loans.  The mortgages, however, had been pooled together to create securities that were sold to investors.  Banks and lenders were able to transfer foreseeable risks that borrowers would default on the underlying mortgages to investors who purchased the securities.  These are risks that should have been anticipated by lenders and the experts who advised them.  These risks were understandably unforeseen by borrowers with no economic expertise.

     Billions of dollars in wealth were drained from African American and Latino families when banks foreclosed on the homes of consumers who were victims of this predatory lending.  Communities were infested with unsightly, abandoned homes. Investors who purchased mortgage-backed securities lost billions.  Predatory lending harmed local, national, and global economies and helped to precipitate the economic downturn of 2008.

     In that article I described how banks and other financial institutions targeted people of color, and African Americans in particular, for high-interest predatory mortgages.  For example, a former Wells Fargo credit officer revealed in a sworn statement that the bank targeted African American borrowers for high-interest loans they could not afford because of the pervasive perception at the bank that African American customers were not savvy enough to figure out that the loans offered them were predatory.  Another loan officer admitted that African Americans who qualified for prime loans were targeted for subprime loans.  Yet another Wells Fargo loan officer revealed that African Americans were called “mud people” and the predatory loans offered them were labeled “ghetto loans.”  Loan officers targeted black churches also.  And, when loan officers referred borrowers who qualified for low-interest loans to the subprime division, they earned bonuses and higher fees. 

     In the aftermath of the predatory mortgage lending that targeted African Americans and Latinos, and even after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act enacted, in part, to address this misconduct, the predatory practices used in the mortgage context werereplicated by the auto industry.  Auto dealers often connect auto buyers to lenders.  The dealers are allowed to engage in discretionary pricing when setting interest rates and there is evidence that dealers charge consumers of color more for their auto loans than they charge similarly situated white consumers.  As was true in the mortgage context, these predatory loans are assigned to other institutions.  When it was created, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau covered auto lenders but only if they do not assign the loan.  The creation of the CFPB under Dodd-Frank left unprotected those consumers whose auto loans were assigned.

     The stunning audacity of this type of economic discrimination in the auto industry becomes even more outrageous when we consider the Bush administration’s decision to bail out Chrysler and General Motors along with the banks and other financial institutions near the end of the twenty-first century’s first decade.  The justifications for bailing out car companies were identical to the pro-bailout arguments made for the banks.  The argument was that like the banks, Chrysler and GM were too big to fail.  If they failed, massive layoffs at the two companies and the firms that supply them with goods and services would exacerbate the economy’s demise.


     Even more disturbing is the fact that predatory conduct in the context of home ownership continues in 2016 under another name.  On April 18, 2016, the New York Times reported on a relatively new practice that targets low-income homebuyers who are now unable to get mortgages because they lost homes in the recent downturn, and because banks now adhere to lending standards.  The deals allow home sellers to provide consumers with high-interest, long-term loans that are known as contracts for deed.  If the consumer can repay the loan in installments on time, he or she will own the home.  But two things make it unlikely for borrowers to be able to pay on time.  First, the interest rates are exorbitantly high.  Once again we see the terribly familiar practice of imposing interest rates that make repayment difficult if not impossible.  Second, many of the homes are in a state of disrepair and consumers need to spend money to make the home inhabitable.  When a would-be homebuyer defaults on the contract for deed, the lender may convert the contract to a month-to-month tenancy.  Even worse, the laws that protect homeowners who default on mortgages from eviction do not apply in this context.

Monday, May 2, 2016

United Airlines CEO Gets $36.8 Million Severance Package After Resignation Triggered By Federal Probe

I find myself posting yet again about another bizarre CEO golden parachute package.  This time, Jeff Smisek, the former CEO of United Airlines, is set to receive $36.8 million in severance pay and other benefits following a federal corruption probe into United's relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Smisek resigned as United's CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board in September 2015. 

Smisek's pay package includes a $4.9 million severance component, $1.7 million as part of United's annual incentive program, and $29.4 million in equity-based awards.  Additionally, Smisek is set to receive the following perks from United:

  • Smisek will receive lifetime flight privileges and parking benefits at United's hub airports in Houston and Chicago;
  • Smisek will continue to get life insurance coverage and he and his dependents will continue to receive health insurance coverage until he qualifies for Medicare; and
  • Smisek will get to keep his company car which he received while serving as CEO.


Ultimately, United's board could force a clawback of up to $10,1 million of Smisek's severance payment.  Upon Smisek's resignation from United, Oscar Munoz took over as CEO.  Should corporations still continue to reward questionable executive behavior with such lavish severance package awards?     

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Venmo Under Investigation by FTC

Venmo, the popular mobile payment app owned by PayPal, revealed in an SEC filing that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating Venmo surrounding possible deceptive or unfair trade practices.  Venmo revealed that it had received a Civil Investigation Demand in March from the FTC requesting documentation and answers to interrogatories surrounding Venmo's services. 

Venmo indicated that it is cooperating with the FTC, but informed investors that the investigation could potentially lead to enforcement action, operational changes, or substantial costs.  Venmo is a free app allowing it's users to transfer money online to other Venmo users.  Paypal acquired Venmo in 2013.  In 2015, Venmo processed $7.5 billion in payments/transfers

Friday, April 29, 2016

CLASS CRITS IX: CALL FOR PAPERS


Loyola University Chicago School of Law will host the 2016 Class Crits Conference on October 21 and 22, 2016, and I invite all to attend and submit papers in response to the following Call for Papers:


ClassCrits IX: Call for Papers and Participation

We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, and paper presentations that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes.  Proposal due: May 16, 2016. (Download a PDF of this page)
As the U.S. presidential election approaches, our 2016 conference will explore the role of corporate power in a political and economic system challenged by inequality and distrust as well as by new energy for transformative reform.
In January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. FEC, redesigned the functioning of our constitutional democracy. By giving corporations a fundamental right to bankroll elections, the Court effectively shifted power to a new economic ‘royalty’ that sits atop the most massive capital aggregations in history.  Further, other government officials, influenced by elite lobbying and theory, have diminished longstanding rules and systems of corporate accountability (including criminal liability for financial crimes and basic norms of corporate disclosure) on the premise that some corporations and institutional forces are too big or important to fail or control. The result is that, along with other billionaires, these corporate and financial elites now may hold more influence in our political system than ever before.
The heightened power of monied interests has loomed over the 2016 election, provoking a groundswell of populist anger and resistance.  Even as elites have selected, shaped, and mediated candidates and campaigns, traditionally marginalized groups have also flexed new electoral muscle.  For example, #Blacklivesmatter and Fight for 15 have turned new energy toward visions of power based on values other than quantifiable individualized material gain. Yet this emerging and democratic populism has also confronted new restrictions on voting and newly limited protections for voting rights that strike at the heart of the public’s ability to enact meaningful democratic reform.
If the election has brought new mainstream attention to problems of inequality and insecurity, it has also exposed deep popular skepticism toward existing political and economic systems and whether they will provide adequate answers to these problems.  Out of this sense of human powerlessness, some populist calls seek security and control not only through invigorated social and political engagement, but also through messages of exclusion, fear and hate, as well as violence.  Against this backdrop, many social movements increasingly target corporate power and corporate citizenship rights, particularly the Citizens United ruling, as a source of numerous social, political, economic and environmental ills.
How might a sharper understanding of corporate power shed light on the current context of inequality and distrust?  How have legal changes in corporate rights and regulation reshaped political and social as well as economic activity?  Does the contemporary corporation simply empower individual human interests, as the Supreme Court suggested in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, or do the legal rights of corporations operate to narrow, distribute, and distort human rights and interests and citizenship?  What kind of person is the contemporary corporation and what does this mean for society, government, and law?   What is missing from the prevailing legal theory of the corporation as a nexus of contracts reflecting individualized economic transactions?  How does the contemporary legal understanding of the corporation help enforce and excuse inequality and instability? What structures of race, gender, and class have been advanced or obscured by the corporatocracy?   And finally, what law reforms might best reshape the corporation?  What alternative forms of business organization might offer better opportunities for more inclusive and responsible economic coordination? And, how might insights from other disciplines, including studies on religion and mindfulness, inform and inspire alternative visions and practices of law, democracy and political economy that promote human and (planetary) thriving?
We seek to explore these and other questions by focusing on a range of legal subject areas. Possibilities include:
  • Antitrust and Competition Law
  • Comparative Corporate Law
  • Corporate Constitutional Rights
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Personhood
  • Corporate Power and Labor
  • Corporate Power, Class, and Poverty
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Corporations and Campaign Finance
  • Corporations and Civil Justice Systems (civil procedure, class actions, judicial elections, tort reform)
  • Corporations and Diversity
  • Corporations and the Family
  • Corporations and Human Rights
  • Corporations and Immigration
  • Corporations and International Trade Law
  • Corporations and the University
  • Corporations, Pensions, and Social Security
  • Corporatization of Professions such as Health, Education and Law
  • Corporations and Small Business
  • Criminalization of Corporate Wrongdoing
  • Economic Development and Corporate Subsidies
  • Financial Institutions and Financial Regulation
  • Gender, Sex, Sexuality and the Corporation
  • Global Regulation of Corporations
  • Law, Corporations and Political Economy
  • Law, Litigation and the Corporation
  • Legal History of the Corporation
  • Race and the Corporation
  • Religion and the Corporation
  • Social Movements and the Corporation
ClassCrits IX also seeks to engage activists who help organize communities to action. The conference solicits the participation of activists who believe their work should be informed by a deep understanding of the limitations of current legal and institutional structures, as academics and activists alike strive to energize and mobilize our many communities for a more equal and just society.
Finally, we extend a special invitation to junior scholars (i.e., graduate students and non-tenured faculty members) to submit proposals for works in progress. At least one senior scholar, as well as other ClassCrits scholars, will provide feedback and detailed commentary upon each work in progress in a small, supportive working session at this year’s workshop.
Proposal Submission Procedure and Deadline
Please submit your proposal by email to classcrits@gmail.com by May 16, 2016. Proposals should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information, the title of the paper to be presented, and an abstract of the paper to be presented of no more than 750 words.  The Conference also welcomes panel proposals.  Junior scholar submissions for works in progress should be clearly marked as “JUNIOR SCHOLAR WORK IN PROGRESS PROPOSAL.”
The venue for the gathering is Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago IL, October 21-22, 2016. The workshop will begin with continental breakfast on Friday, October 21, and continue through the afternoon of Saturday, October 22. Arrangements are being made for conference hotels. Please check our website, http://www.classcrits.org, for further updates. The registration fee is $150.00 for all conference attendees who are full-time faculty members.
Registration is free for students and activists. Participants who do not fit into these categories, and/or who for individual reasons cannot afford the registration fee, should contact us at classcrits@gmail.com. Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.
Conference Organizing Committee

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mass Incarceration and the Clintons

Bill and Hillary Clinton made news last year when both admitted regret in the roles they played in the 1990s in exacerbating the mass incarceration hysteria that gripped the nation in the 1980s and 1990s.  The Corporate Justice Blog highlighted as much at this time last year.  At that time, both President Clinton and the First Lady added fuel to the fire as reported by the New York Times:  “'Gangs and drugs have taken over our streets,' President Bill Clinton said in 1994 as he signed a far-reaching anti-crime bill to bipartisan acclaim.  Defending the law at the time, a frightened era of crack cocaine wars and record murder rates, Hillary Clinton, as first lady, warned about an emerging generation of 'super-predators' — a notion she later repudiated."

Now, the NY Times is reporting that the 1994 crime bill that is often blamed for massively increasing incarceration rates in the United States, signed into law by Bill Clinton, was simply a measure that piled-on to the draconian legislative provisions that criminalized drug abuse beginning in the Nixon and Reagan administrations.  Adding to this morass is data that shows that violent crime was already dropping, and rapidly, at the time the crime bill was signed in 1994 and despite notable drops in violent crime, law enforcement continued to lock up American citizens at record rates.  Why?  Consider the chart below:


As reported by the New York Times:  “'The trend of increased incarceration had already started two decades before 1994,' said Jeremy Travis, the president of the John Jay College of Justice in New York. . . .
'To lay mass incarceration and the damages to black communities on the doorstep of the 1994 crime act is historically inaccurate,' Mr. Travis said, although elements of the law added to the problem in a modest way.
What the historical record does show is that many federal and state changes in criminal justice policy led to a fourfold rise in the incarceration rate from the early 1970s until it declined modestly in the last few years.
The rise in incarceration was driven by state laws like the 1973 Rockefeller drug laws in New York. And it was stoked by a major 1986 federal drug act, which expanded mandatory sentences and set the now-notorious 100-to-one ratio in the quantities of powdered versus crack cocaine that could trigger severe penalties."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Women Underrepresented at Wall Street Firms

Supreme Court Justices O'Connor, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan
Public Domain
According to Bloomberg, women in general are underrepresented at Wall Street law firms and female partners are badly underrepresented at these firms.  The ABA Journal reports that:  "Law360’s third annual 'Glass Ceiling Report' surveyed 300 law firms with U.S. offices; the numbers reflect 2015. Its data showed that there are 8,549 attorneys practicing at Wall Street Law firms. Of that total, 17.1 percent are male partners, and only 3.9 percent are female partners. This puts women at 18.6 percent of Wall Street firms’ partnership ranks."

Law360 further reports that "Wall Street firms are notorious for keeping their partner ranks trim, but climbing to that top rung remains even more challenging for women, with less than 4 percent of female attorneys at those firms defying the odds to make the cut, a Law360 study found."