Professor Kish Parella has been selected for the second time in consecutive years to present at the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum, which will be held this summer at Harvard Law School on June 13-14, 2018. The Forum’s objective is to encourage the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange. Meetings are held each spring, rotating at Yale, Stanford, and Harvard. Twelve to twenty scholars (with one to seven years in teaching) are chosen by blind review to present. This year, Professor Parella will present her paper, “Public Relations Litigation,” which explores the relationship between courts of law and the court of public opinion and examines how strategic business actors can use the former to influence the latter in post-crisis situations. Last year at the Junior Faculty Forum held at Stanford Law School, Professor Parella presented her paper, “Reputational Regulation.”
Abstract from “Public Relations Litigation”:
It is no secret that litigation can harm a defendant’s reputation. Less well understood is that plaintiffs—and especially sophisticated business plaintiffs—use litigation to enhance their reputations. This Article examines how and why litigants use courts of law to influence the court of public opinion. In doing so, this Article makes three contributions to the literature. Descriptively, it improves our ability to understand litigants’ incentives. For decades, legal scholars have asked: why do plaintiffs file lawsuits they know they cannot win? This question has divided scholars: Law and economics scholars argue it is because of wealth extraction through settlements, while law and social movements scholars attribute it to social mobilization and heightened public awareness. This Article synthesizes the insight from these academic camps to provide a more complete and nuanced understanding of litigants’ incentives: that is, litigation can serve economic and informational objectives for both private and public gain. Normatively, this Article highlights the importance of an oft-neglected function of adjudication: information transmission. Accounting for litigation’s effects in court of public opinion enables us to better distinguish between socially desirable and undesirable “public relations litigation.” Practically, this insight allows us to design better rules for encouraging the former while discouraging the latter.
Professor Parella was also competitively selected to present “Public Relations Litigation” at the 2018 annual meetings of the American Law & Economics Association (ALEA) and the Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics (SIOE).