Thirty-four of the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance are affiliated with Harvard Law School, according to a review by Directorship Magazine.
The Directorship 100 List, published annually, compiles “the who’s who of the corporate governance community” and the “most influential people in the boardroom,” according to the magazine, a publication aimed at the directors of public companies.
Directorship’s 2009 list includes President Barack Obama, a 1991 graduate of the Law School, Congressman Barney Frank ’61 (D-Mass.), a 1977 Law School graduate, and Senator Charles E. Schumer ’71 (D–N.Y.), a 1974 Law School graduate.
The majority of Harvard’s affiliates on the list are part of the Law School’s Forum on Corporate Governance.
“The work that the forum has done is very thoughtful and makes you reconsider your own views,” said H. Rodgin Cohen ’65, a 1968 Law School graduatewho was included in list.
Cohen, former chairmen of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, has advised the boards of many financial institutions on risk management this past year. Cohen was called the “trauma surgeon of Wall Street” by The New York Times in November.
“The forum is probably the premier forum for discussion about corporate governance issues,” said Robert J. Giuffra, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, who was also recognized.
Giuffra said he became involved in the forum after working on a corporate governance case with Law School professor Lucian A. Bebchuk, who was also on the list. Bebchuk attended the Law School for both his doctorate and master’s degrees.
As a non-partisan institution, the board of the Law School’s corporate governance forum does not take positions on current issues.
“I think this decision facilitates the objective of the forum,” Cohen said. “It should be a place to debate and for people to learn. It is far more about educating than proselytizing.”
Holly J. Gregory, also included on the list, is a regular contributor to the forum and a corporate partner at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm.
“The forum has been an excellent collection point for writing in the field,” Gregory said. Gregory said she reads the forum’s blog frequently.
Gregory said the forum’s neutral stance allows it to draw on people in the field with very different viewpoints.
“If it took a position on something, it would no longer be a broad-based group,” Giuffra said. “When a group is narrow and has an agenda, then people will not want to be a part of it.”
—Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org