Shareholder Rights Project
The Shareholder Rights Project (SRP) is a clinical program operating at Harvard Law School and directed by Professor Lucian Bebchuk. The SRP works on behalf of public pension funds and charitable organizations seeking to improve corporate governance at publicly traded companies, as well as on research and policy projects related to corporate governance. Any views expressed and positions taken by the SRP and its representatives should be attributed solely to the SRP and not to Harvard Law School or Harvard University.

The Shareholder Rights Project (SRP) is representing and advising five institutional investors, four public pension funds and one foundation. These investors serve more than 2 million people, and the aggregate value of assets that they manage exceeds $300 billion. Additional information about each of the SRP-represented investors is provided here.

The SRP provides SRP-represented investors with a range of services, including assistance in connection with selecting companies for proposal submission, designing proposals, engaging with companies, negotiating and executing agreements by companies to bring management declassification proposals, and presenting proposals at annual meetings.

The SRP’s work for the three proxy seasons from 2012 to 2014 has focused on board declassification proposals. Such proposals have been submitted for a vote at the 2012, 2013, and/or 2014 annual meetings of 129 S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies. More details about the proposals submitted and their consequences can be found in the SRP’s 2012 annual report, the SRP’s final 2012-2013 report (for 2012 and 2013 proposals) and here (for 2014 proposals).

Major results of the SRP's work during 2012, 2013 and 2014 thus far include the following:

Annual elections are widely viewed as corporate governance best practice. Board declassification and the resulting annual elections could make directors more accountable and thereby contribute to improving performance and increasing firm value. The substantial shareholder support for board declassification, and the value of the work done on the subject by the SRP and SRP-represented investors, are described in a two pieces by the SRP’s director – a New York Times DealBook column entitled “Giving Shareholders a Voice,” and a response to critics entitled “Wachtell Lipton was Wrong about the Shareholder Rights Project.” Recent shareholder proposals submitted by the SRP on behalf of its clients, which note evidence of the benefits of declassification and shareholder support, are available here.

The SRP’s director is Lucian Bebchuk. Its 2012-2013 advisory board includes Richard Breeden, Jesse Fried, Jeffrey Gordon, Reinier Kraakman, and Peter Mixon. Scott Hirst serves as the SRP’s Associate Director, and June Rhee serves as Counsel.

Inquiries about the SRP should be directed to Emily Lewis, the SRP’s Administrative Director.