When Life Imitates Legal Scholarship

Last year, my Pacific-McGeorge colleague Jarrod Wong and I wrote an article about corporate law and contract law.  A couple months ago, we found out that the selection committee had liked our work enough to give us the faculty scholarship award (named in honor of our colleague John Sprankling’s service as associate dean). It was a great night, and we even received bonus checks to celebrate our win!

But then came the irony. In addition to the bonus checks we were given at the awards ceremony, which we both cashed, and, one of us, ahem, spent immediately, we then received an email informing us that we had each received a second bonus amount via the direct deposit system. We were asked to give the second bonuses back.

The irony is that the article that won us the award was an article about clawback provisions. The first part of the article deals with clawbacks in the context of executive compensation, and most specifically, bonuses. (The second portion of the article deals with investors defrauded in ponzi schemes).

So what did we do? We weren’t entitled to two bonuses, so we of course made arrangements to return the overage. Further, it wasn’t particularly difficult to unwind the transaction.  Some of the critiques we’ve received of our paper, which focus on the logistical difficulties, now seem even more overblown.

Rather than cowering and hiding from the claw like the stuffed animals in the arcade game (who seem desperately slippery and evasive), we, like the sentient alien toys in the “Toy Story” movie, had nothing to hide from the claw.

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