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Robert Bird - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Robert Bird Robert Bird

Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics | University of Connecticut


Robert Bird is an expert in corporate compliance, employment law, legal strategy, business ethics, and corporate governance.


Robert Bird conducts research in compliance, employment law, legal strategy, intellectual property, law and marketing, business and human rights, and related fields. Robert has authored over seventy academic publications, including articles in the Journal of Law and Economics, American Business Law Journal, Law and Society Review, Connecticut Law Review, Boston College Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Robert has received sixteen research-related awards, including the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) best international paper award, distinguished proceedings award, and the Holmes-Cardozo best overall conference paper award. He has also received the best junior faculty paper award from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Business Law Association two years in a row, a distinguished paper award from the Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business, and a best paper award from the North East Academy of Legal Studies in Business. Robert was also awarded the highest honor for a new ALSB professor, the Junior Faculty of the Year Award, in 2003. Robert’s teaching-related awards include winning the outstanding article of the year award two years in a row from the Journal of Legal Studies Education, receiving the student-selected Alpha Kappa Psi Teacher of the Year award, and being a three-time invited finalist to the ALSB Master Teacher Competition.

Robert was editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal in 2012-13, publishing the 50th anniversary issue. He also served as administrative editor, articles editor, senior articles editor, and managing editor from 2006 through 2012. Robert is also a manuscript reviewer for several journals, including the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Legal Studies Education, Journal of Management and Governance, and Law and Society Review, among others.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Corporate Governance

Employment Law

Business Law

Corporate Compliance

Business Ethics

Legal Risk Management

Education (2)

Boston University School of Law: J.D.

Boston University Graduate School of Managment: M.B.A.






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Media Appearances (4)

Legal Protections for Transgender, Nonbinary and Gender-Nonconforming Employees: What You Need to Know

Business.com  online


"Companies can promote transgender inclusion by hiring transgender people. Firms can do this by encouraging applications from a diverse range of applicants, and promoting the company, and its job openings, in places where transgender persons might be exposed to the advertisement. However, at the end of the hiring process, employers should always hire the best person for the job based on objective job-related criteria," said Robert C. Bird, professor of business law and Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics Marketing at the University of Connecticut. "Just as employers should not attempt to impose hiring quotas of women and other groups, firms should not hire transgender employees specifically because of their status. This could potentially trigger a state or federal discrimination claim by excluded persons if a protected class (race, color, religion, gender, disability) is implicated."

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British Drug Maker Indivior Indicted On Fraud And Conspiracy Charges In The U.S.

NPR  online


Share prices for the British drugmaker Indivior plunged today on the London Stock Exchange. The drop came on news that the U.S. Justice Department indicted the company on fraud and conspiracy charges. Indivior makes the drug Suboxone, widely used to treat people suffering from opioid addiction. Federal prosecutors now claim the company falsely marketed Suboxone as safer and less prone to abuse than cheaper generic drugs. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports.

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Opioids: Boston trial opens what could be year of reckoning for executives

The Guardian  online


Robert Bird, professor of business law at the University of Connecticut, said the balance of power has shifted away from big pharma to the public. “Over the next year, a day of reckoning is possible,” he said.

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Tong vows to keep taking fight to Purdue Pharma

Stamford Advocate  online


“The decision will have a limited effect outside Connecticut,” said Robert Bird, a professor of business law at the University of Connecticut. “States have varying approaches to proving causation that will be applied in their own jurisdictions. Depending on state law, this case could have gone the other way.”

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Articles (7)

VUCA and the Legal Environment of Business SSRN


The legal environment is a significant source of disruption for business. With this disruption also comes the opportunity for innovation by firms willing to understand how legal systems function. This manuscript shows how firms can respond to legal volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) in order to capture value and manage risk. Firms can manage legal volatility by developing an agile organization that is able to exploit new regulatory opportunities before competitors.

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Pathways of Legal Strategy Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance


Strategy is a hot topic. Entire journals are dedicated to publishing business strategy articles and the study of it comprises a major subfield in the management discipline. Almost every source of competitive advantage imaginable – marketing resources, organizational capital, financial planning, company culture, information technology, and many others – has been examined except law. This is likely because most strategists are not legally trained and most lawyers graduate without a single course in business strategy.

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Organic Corporate Governance Boston College Law Review


A publicly-held corporation maintains a system of governance through separation of ownership and control of the firm. Under this framework, corporations attract capital and repatriate profits to their shareholders under the authority vested in the board of directors. However, significant evidence exists that Chief Executive Officers (“CEOs”) are commonly driven by self-interest, boards often indulge CEOs, and shareholders find it difficult to monitor management.

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Turning Corporate Compliance into Competitive Advantage University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law


Compliance is a core concern for corporate governance. Firms devote tremendous amounts of money, personnel, and attention to ensure compliance with regulatory mandates — and yet compliance failures proliferate. This is because the current static and binary view of compliance hinders both efficient compliance by firms and effective regulation by government.

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Tax Avoidance as a Sustainability Problem Journal of Business Ethics


This manuscript proposes that tax avoidance can be better understood and mitigated as a sustainability problem. Tax avoidance is not just a financial problem for tax authorities, but one that erodes critical common spaces necessary for the smooth functioning of regulatory compliance, organizational integrity, and society.

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The Domains of Corporate Counsel in an Era of Compliance, American Business Law Journal


The corporate legal department has become an indispensable business function.

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The Impact of Local Knowledge on Banking Journal of Financial Services Research


We use firm-level data to study how local knowledge impacts the wage and profitability of commercial banks. Using a novel regulatory and competitive environment as a natural experiment, we find that restrictions on the mobility of local knowledge negatively impact the incidence of new bank charters. Also consistent with expected theory, we also find no impact on banks formed through mergers or acquisition where the acquiring bank can simply purchase the local knowledge available.

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