Monday, October 24, 2011

Ponzi Scheme Lawyer: What Does This Story Say About the Profession?

Upon viewing the 60 Minutes report on NY lawyer Marc Dreier's ponzi scheme a cold chill ran up my spine. The video was brought to my attention by Mark Spurling, a colleague at the University of Connecticut.  Mark uses the video for a discussion of Business Ethics in his Legal Environment class.  I hope to use the video in the class that I teach for freshman honors students entitled, Law and Lawyers in Song and Story.  In that class we examine popular cultural representations of the legal profession and the legal system and compare them to reality.  A recurring exercise in that class is to analyze various movie character lawyers as either "good lawyers" or "bad lawyers" in an effort to distill out the characteristics of each designation.

While viewing this video, I couldn't help but think that the qualities that made Dreier a "good" lawyer may also have served him well in his criminal enterprise. What does that revelation say about the legal profession?

Click on the image below to be linked to the video:

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