AALS Announces 2015 Scholarly Papers Competition Winners

Press Release
Jim Greif
[email protected]
(202) 296-1593

Washington, D.C. (December 16, 2014) – The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) has announced the winners of the 2015 AALS Scholarly Papers Competition for law school faculty members who have been teaching for five years or fewer.

The competition’s selection committee recognized the following outstanding papers:

David Horton, University of California Davis School of Law
“In Partial Defense of Probate – Evidence from Alameda County, California”

Honorable Mention
Jeremy McClane, University of Connecticut School of Law
“Agency and Teamwork: Measuring Benefits and Unintended Consequences in Securities Transactions”

Horton’s article examines probate: the court-based administration of the property of individuals who either made wills or died intestate. He reviewed every estate administration stemming from individuals who died in Alameda County, California in a single year in order to deepen understanding of the possible values offered by probate. In the face of criticism about the efficacy and cost of the probate process, his article challenges popular beliefs about the process and the demand for probate avoidance.

“I have always loved the pieces that the AALS Scholarly Papers Competition committee has selected, and it’s amazing to be included in that group,” Horton said.” Although probate has been condemned for decades as slow, expensive, and overly transparent, we actually know very little about it. The article shows that probate is more beneficial and less flawed than most people believe. It also suggests ways to reform the process.”

McClane’s article investigates the costs and benefits associated with “repeat-player” relationships in the negotiation of securities transactions. The paper analyzes a dataset of over 2,000 deals and finds that repeated interactions between the investment banks and law firms that frequently handle initial public offerings (IPOs) is associated with faster and more accurately priced deals. However, when repeated interactions raise the possibility of agency problems because the lawyers have an incentive to favor the underwriting banks over the issuing company, deals are marked by a significant loss of money for the issuing company via increased underpricing and a higher probability of securities class action litigation arising out of the deal.

“I am honored to have my work recognized by the committee, and to be in such good company in receiving this recognition,” McClane said. “I also appreciate the committee’s acknowledgement of all the work that goes into gathering and analyzing data to help shed light on important legal questions.”

“The task of selecting a winner for this competition was not easy,” said Donald A. Dripps, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, chair of the award’s selection committee. “Each of the papers made interesting and significant points and are destined for publication in a respected journal. We congratulate Professor Horton and Professor McClane, and celebrate the wealth of learning and creativity on display in all of the papers.”

The Committee to Review Scholarly Papers for the 2015 Annual Meeting includes:

The competition has been spearheaded by the AALS for more than 25 years. The awards will be presented during the AALS Annual Meeting, January 2-5, 2015 in Washington, D.C.


About the AALS

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), founded in 1900, is a nonprofit association of 178 law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve our many communities–local, national and international.