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Posted May 5, 2008

Business Law Professor to Join Law School Faculty

Geis

Business law expert George Geis will become a permanent member of the Law School faculty in the fall.

Geis, who previously taught at the University of Alabama School of Law, was a visiting professor at the Law School this year, teaching contracts, agency and partnership and corporate finance.

“I really like teaching here,” Geis said. “I’ve taught the corporate finance class this semester, as part of the entry-level law and business program, and it’s just been great. The students here are phenomenal, and I’ve had a lot of fun.”

Professor Jody S. Kraus characterized Geis as one of the most promising young contract and corporate law scholars in the country.

“His work combines a sophisticated understanding of the theories of contract, corporations and finance, advanced skills in formal modeling and empirical methodology, and invaluable real-world experience with cutting-edge commercial transactions,” Kraus said. “Given that George is also a superlative teacher and wonderful colleague, he really has it all.  We couldn’t be more excited to have him come aboard. “

Geis said he has long been interested in the areas where the business world and the legal world intersect. He graduated from the University of Chicago’s joint business and law program in 1998 with both a law degree and a master’s of business administration.

“When I did that, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to go the business or the law route,” Geis said.

He initially chose business, and worked for several firms. Geis spent five years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he served clients on corporate strategy, mergers, marketing and other issues.

“As part of that, I got hooked up with a brand new business school that was being built in India,” he said. “I took a leave of absence from McKinsey for two months to go teach at this business school, and just really liked it very much.”

The experience helped Geis realize that he wanted to get back into academia, he said.

“I thought a little bit about where I wanted to go and decided that the best place for me would be to go to a law school and teach business law. It’s really posed a nice overlap for me in terms of teaching and tackling research questions as well.”

His current areas of research center on contract law, business organization and corporate finance.

“I’m really interested in the use of empirical data to test whether contract theory is right or not,” he said.

Recently, he’s been looking at outsourcing relationships in the business world. Geis said his continuing relationship with the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India, will be an asset in this area.

“I’ve taught hundreds of students now that have been involved in these [outsourcing] transactions,” Geis said.  “I’m interested in the different theories of why these companies structure their businesses when it comes to outsourcing.”

The conventional theory is that companies outsource jobs and tasks because it saves money, he said.

“And certainly that’s true to some extent, but I think there are also other interesting reasons why firms are organizing their business relationships through some of these outsourcing transactions.”

Geis said his newest area of study involves researching corporate finance and examining the choices firms make in areas such as organizing their labor force or deciding what assets to buy.

“I’m also getting more interested in how firms are sourcing their money,” he said.

He said he’s also exploring how to determine the appropriate role for regulators in the quickly evolving field of corporate finance.

“So much has changed in the last 10 years. It’s such a complex world that I think there are some really hard questions about the best way to regulate some of these market innovations, if at all.”

 

• REPORTED BY Rob Seal