Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law
Eric Talley, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and noted expert in corporate law and governance, holds a Ph.D. in economics, strives to make corporate law and finance accessible to students by breaking the subject matter down into a handful of intuitive concepts that underlie most technical jargon. He requires students to subscribe to financial news publications and begins most classes with pertinent current events to bring the curriculum to life.
“Corporate law introduces myriad financial concepts that are foreign—if not wholly inaccessible—to the typical student,” he said. “But most of the jargon is smoke and mirrors. I take my students through this vocabulary systematically, remaining mindful of what entrepreneurs, shareholders, and investors want to accomplish. If students leave with an intuitive sense of how lawyers and business professionals can (and should) interact, I’ve done my job.”
Empirical methods play a major role in Talley’s courses. For example, students in his mergers and acquisitions course collect and analyze information on recent deals to understand emerging practices, and he has partnered with the American Bar Association (ABA) to produce an annual study based on the same data. Talley’s own recent research explores the impact of appraisal rights in mergers, corporate fiduciary disclosures, and the application of machine learning to law.
Talley’s efforts to make corporate law accessible extend beyond campus, as well. He currently works as part of an ABA initiative to understand why women are underrepresented in mergers and acquisitions practice.
Before arriving at Columbia in 2015, Talley was on the law faculties at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California, serving concurrently as a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. He serves on the boards of the American Law and Economics Association and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies.
Talley earned his J.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, where he was articles editor of the Stanford Law Review. He holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.