Stanford Law School Launches COVID-19 Memo Database in Collaboration with Cornerstone Research

Digital resource features more than 4,000 COVID-19-related memoranda generated by leading U.S. law firms, audit firms, and advisors

April 15, 2020 — Stanford, CA—Stanford Law School today announced the launch of its COVID-19 Memo Database, developed and maintained by the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University and Cornerstone Research. The database provides searchable access to approximately 4,000 memoranda covering legal, regulatory, accounting, and governance issues raised by the current corona virus crisis. These memoranda also address difficult social and political issues such as the government’s authority to order shutdowns and the possibility that businesses might seek compensation from governmental authorities or insurers because of shutdown orders. These documents are prepared by the nation’s leading law firms, audit firms, and other business advisors.

The database is available at

These memoranda provide a real-time snapshot of the significant legal questions affecting large businesses as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis. Questions relating to the CARES Act and tax matters generate the largest number of memoranda, with at least 253 and 237 on each topic, respectively. (All counts are minimum values.) Employment matters generate more than 200 memos, while SEC issues and securities regulation concerns generate 159. Antitrust concerns generate 78 memos, insurance coverage 63, litigation concerns 55, and FDA regulation 49. International trade accounts for 38 memos, while telehealth issues generate 36. Questions related to force majeure, a doctrine that allows parties to walk away from contracts without being liable for breach, motivate 69 memos. Dozens more deal with location specific issues arising in New York, China, Italy, France, Germany, and the European Union. 

Joe Grundfest, JD ’78, W.A. Franke Professor of Law and Business
Joe Grundfest, JD ’78, W.A. Franke Professor of Law and Business

“We are drowning in COVID-19 information,” said Joseph Grundfest, W. A. Franke Professor of Law and Business, senior faculty of the Rock Center, and chair of the audit committee at KKR & Co., Inc. “I see literally dozens of terrific memoranda every day from high-quality law firms, but have no way of quickly finding the most recent information specific to a problem I am researching. This database is a practical solution to a real-world problem that can also serve as a great resource for scholars and educators.”

“As we collectively strive to address the evolving coronavirus crisis, it is becoming clear that COVID-19 will have profound, far-reaching implications,” said Alexander “Sasha” Aganin, Cornerstone Research senior vice president. “In joining our firm’s capabilities with the reach and impact of Stanford Law School, we hope to provide a dynamic source of information that will be useful to legal and business enterprises as well as the broader community at large.”

The COVID-19 crisis has generated a complex web of legal, business, and operational challenges that affect the entire economy. Law firms, auditors, and business advisors have responded with thousands of memoranda addressing a broad range of topics spanning areas as diverse as tax, antitrust, employment, and contract law. The COVID-19 Memo Database aggregates this large collection of memoranda in a searchable format designed to help users quickly identify relevant information. 

The COVID-19 Memo Database features two resources:

  • The COVID-19 Firm Resources webpage lists each of the firms in the database and identifies each firm’s dedicated COVID-19 coverage. 
  • The COVID-19 Memo Database is a searchable index of COVID-19-related memoranda generated by each firm listed in the Resources Database. The memoranda titles are searchable, and the site directs the user to the originating firm’s website for full text of each memorandum. 

About the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance

The Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance is a joint initiative of Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The Center was created to advance the understanding and practice of corporate governance in a cross-disciplinary environment where leading academics, business leaders, policy makers, practitioners and regulators can meet and work together. The Center is led by outstanding Faculty with active collaboration from its Advisory Board.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

Media Contact:

Stephanie Ashe, Director of Media Strategy, Stanford Law School