February 21, 2024
  • UCLA law school is offering a class called “Law of Elon Musk” on the billionaire’s business dealings.
  • Taught by corporate law expert professor Stephen Bainbridge, the course covers lawsuits against Musk.
  • “He’s generating a lot of really interesting case law,” Bainbridge told NY Mag.

With Tesla and SpaceX mired in lawsuits regarding CEO compensation, the potential Twitter acquisition, and related securities investigations, billionaire Elon Musk’s legal troubles are the central topic of a new class at UCLA law school being offered next semester.

The “Law of Elon Musk” course, taught by corporate law expert Professor Stephen Bainbridge, covers Musk’s “push the edge of the envelope style” of business leadership and lawsuits regarding Tesla’s purchase of SolarCity, a company in which Musk was a shareholder, the ongoing battle about Musk’s would-be acquisition of Twitter, and potential conflicts of interest in his business dealings.

“As someone who manages an enormous amount of other people’s money, Musk constantly faces the temptation to pursue his own interests and goals rather than focusing on the welfare of those who have entrusted him with their savings,” the course summary reads. “This course examines some of the ways in which law constraints (or fails to) Musk’s divergences from shareholder interests.”

Bainbridge did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Musk, Bainbridge told NY Mag, is an “incredibly smart and adventurous guy who’s capable of generating ideas that produce enormous amounts of value but who would be a pain in the butt as a client because he often leaps before he looks.” Those leaps, he said, have in a continual pattern of flouting legal procedure that has resulted in multiple lawsuits and securities litigation.

“[Musk is] generating a lot of really interesting case law out of Delaware,” Bainbridge told NY Mag about his class.

Despite being headquartered in California, the legal battle over Twitter’s future is moving through the Delaware court system as the social media company was incorporated in the state in 2007.

“And then there is a pending case on his Tesla CEO compensation package, which is a great case because it’s what will strike the students as an egregious amount of money — billions of dollars in CEO compensation — in excess of anything we’ve ever seen ,” Bainbridge told NY Mag.

As Musk’s 15% stake in Tesla has called into question conventional wisdom that a controlling interest requires a 50 percent share of the business, Bainbridge’s course will also cover how the richest man in the world has changed corporate law, such as identifying the controlling shareholder of a company.

“There are all these cases from different areas that all involve Musk,” Bainbridge told NY Mag. “And given how high profile he is this year with Twitter and everything, I thought this would be a way of really grabbing the students’ attention.”

Representatives for Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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