2011: Has that much really changed?

I want to start by wishing everyone a very happy New Year and by thanking my colleague Danielle Citron and all of the permanent authors of Concurring Opinions for inviting me back to guest blog. I truly enjoyed my time as a guest blogger last January, and I look forward to participating on the blog during the next few weeks.

2010 certainly was an active year—we saw Congress pass landmark legislation (see here and here), voters overhaul the political landscape in the mid-term elections (see here and here) and everyone continue to focus on the economic recovery (see here, here and here). But as I reflect on the past year and look forward to 2011, I am not really sure that much has changed.

Yes, we were told that the economic recession officially ended, but people, businesses and countries are still feeling the pain. Domestic unemployment continues to hover around 9.8 percent, and some jobs lost during the recession may not be coming back (see here). The U.S. national debt exceeds $13 trillion, and we have no clear path for reducing it (see here and here). Several European countries continue to struggle with liquidity issues (see here and here) and banks continue to fail.

Nevertheless, some things do appear to be changing—albeit at a very slow pace. For academics, slow change can be good, in that it allows us to analyze critically the causes, developments and potential resolutions in (almost) real time. For others, the slow pace of change can be exceedingly painful. In any case, part of what I hope to do during the next few weeks is explore ongoing changes in the corporate and financial fields, as well as the challenges we continue to face in the legal profession generally. These areas are the primary focus of my teaching and scholarship, and I will endeavor to impart some of my passion, concern and optimism for each through my upcoming posts.

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