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April 6, 2011

Professor Carl Bjerre heads to Rome for UNIDROIT

Professor Carl Bjerre, the Wallace and Ellen Kaapcke Professor of Business Law, has accepted an invitation to the first meeting of a UNIDROIT Study Group considering the preparation of transnational rules on the netting of financial instruments, to be held in Rome in mid-April. Professor Carl Bjerre

UNIDROIT, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, is an independent intergovernmental organization that was originally established in 1926 as a part of the League of Nations. The organization is made up of 63 member nations from five different continents and focuses on modernizing and internationally harmonizing matters of commercial and other private law.

The Study Group meeting will focus on the netting of derivative and other financial contracts. Netting is a commercial law remedy that is particularly important in connection with over-the-counter or exchange-traded contracts such as interest rate, other traditional swaps, credit default swaps, and commodities positions. “The large amounts at stake in many of these contracts, and the multiple transactions that often exist between pairs of parties, make it crucial whether the mutual exposures can be measured on a net basis rather than a gross basis,” Bjerre noted.

A small group of experts in the law of international financial markets will preliminarily discuss whether the process of drafting a treaty or other type of international instrument on this topic should be undertaken. The other U.S. representatives are a principal legal official of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Legal Adviser’s Office.

Professor Bjerre specializes in commercial law at Oregon Law with an emphasis on investment securities and other financial market transactions. After earning his J.D. magna cum laude from Cornell, he clerked with a federal district judge in New York City and then practiced with the international law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, and Hamilton for six years. Bjerre is also an appointed member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, a member of its Uniform Commercial Code oversight committee, and vice chair of the American Bar Association’s subcommittee on Investment Securities. In relation to UNIDROIT, Professor Bjerre was a member of the United States delegation for the negotiation of the Geneva Convention on Substantive Rules for Intermediated Securities.

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