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02/18/92

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Ian Ayres - corporate, antitrust law expert - joins law faculty

STANFORD - Ian Ayres, 32, a lawyer and economist specializing in corporate law, has joined the Stanford Law School faculty as a full professor.

His appointment to the tenured post, which took effect Jan. 1, was formally reported to the Stanford University Board of Trustees on Feb. 11.

Ayres previously held a joint appointment as an associate professor at Northwestern University Law School and as a research fellow with the American Bar Foundation, both of Chicago.

He spent the 1991 fall term at Yale University as a visiting professor of law.

"Prof. Ayres is widely recognized as one of the outstanding scholars of his generation in the fields of law and economics and corporate law," said Paul Brest, dean of Stanford Law School.

"His work is unusually broad in scope, ranging from such areas as accident law and the economics of contracts to consumer law and discrimination on the basis of race and sex," the dean said.

Ayres, who is considered a rising star in the field of corporate law, received a J.D. in 1986 from Yale, where he was articles editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Ayres did his undergraduate work at Yale, where he majored in both economics and Russian and East European Studies.

A top student, he was elected in his junior year to Phi Beta Kappa, the national academic honor society, and received his B.A. in 1981 with highest honors.

In the five years since graduating from law school, Ayres has not only earned a 1988 doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but also passed the Illinois Bar exam, clerked on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, spent a summer as scholar-in-residence at a law firm (Chicago's Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal), written 23 academic articles, co- authored a book for the Oxford University Press, served as associate editor of the journal Law and Social Inquiry, conducted an empirical research study with the American Bar Foundation, and engaged in various pro bono activities.

During the 1990-91 academic year he was both a visiting professor at the University of Virginia and a guest scholar of the Brookings Institution.

Ayres made news last spring when the Harvard Law Review (104:817) published his article "Fair Driving: Race and Gender Discrimination in Retail Car Negotiations."

Based on Ayres' American Bar Foundation research study, the article showed that the proffered price of an automobile can vary significantly depending on the race and sex of the shopper. Car dealers (at least in the study area of Chicago) offered the highest prices to black males and black females, and the lowest to white males, even though all buyer-testers followed an identically scripted bargaining strategy.

Other articles by Ayres explore issues where economics and law intersect. In a 1989 Yale Law Journal piece (99:87), "Filling Gaps in Incomplete Contracts," Ayres and co-author Robert Gertner deal with the problem of how courts should interpret and enforce contracts that have incomplete or open terms.

Ayres also has written about antitrust policy and the increasingly subtle forms of collusion by which industries may defeat the purpose of antitrust laws.

His book for the Oxford University Press, which he wrote with John Braithwaite, suggests innovative methods for delegating regulatory authority to private parties. Called Responsive Regulation: Transcending the Deregulation Debate, it is scheduled for release early in 1992.

Much of Ayres' work exhibits a concern for the less- privileged members of society. The automobile shopping study is one example. Another is a paper for the Northwestern Law Review on retail markup disclosure. A third involves the price and availability of insurance, with Ayres serving as an economic expert to the attorneys general of 18 states for the case, In re Insurance Antitrust Litigation, C88-1688 (N.D.Cal.).

He has been continuously involved in unpaid public service work, such as the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and the New Haven Battered Women's Temporary Restraining Order Project. Last year, he succeeded in convincing a judge to vacate a death sentence in an Illinois case where he had been counsel.

In a lighter vein, Ayres is remembered at Yale as much for his singing as his scholarship. He was a soloist with the Yale Russian Chorus and with the famed Whiffenpoofs.

Also a marathon runner (Boston 1984, in 3 hours, 12 minutes), he placed first in the 1989 5-kilometer run of the Law and Society Association.

-ch-

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