Gilbert Asks Lawyers and Laymen To Protect Minority Stock Rights
Mr. Professional Minority Stockholder offered his solution to America's business ills in a jammed Law School Coffee Hour session yesterday.
Lewis D. Gilbert, long a crusader for minority stockholders' rights, called for greater regulation of corporation affairs through greater stockholder participation in annual meetings.
Gilbert has spent the last 20 years going from one stockholders' meeting to the next, noisily voicing the interest of small stockholders. He will attend 125 corporation meetings this year.
At the Harkness Lounge, he called upon prospective lawyers to follow the trend to corporation democracy while they are still idealists. He pointed out changes in corporation law which ought to be made, and middle-man functions which lawyers can perform in reminding company executives to consider stockholders as partners in a company. He warned prospective lawyers of the danger of allowing management to argue with the stock-holders. "A chairman loses all his prestige the minute he begins to argue," Gilbert explained.
"Corporation democracy is no longer an idealistic dream. It is fast becoming a reality and ten years hence we will be as far from where we now stand as we now are from where we stood in 1932." Gilbert credited the Securities and Exchange Commission and Louis Loss, professor of Law, who served for many years as Associate General Counsel to the Commission, with hastening this democratic development.
Gilbert has recently published his "13th Annual Report of Stockholders' Activities at Corporation Meetings, 1952."