The April 2013 Session of ND Conversations is full to capacity. If you would like to add your name to the email distribution list, please contact Lisa Heming via email at email@example.com. Also, the Alumni Association will host the next session in Summer 2013. Thank you for interest in the program.
ND Conversations is a new Alumni Association academic program designed to have alumni, parents and friends from around the world gather together online and discuss pressing issues facing society today. Engage intellectually and continue the Notre Dame tradition of life long learning. The program is led by Notre Dame faculty.
The next ND Conversations will be held in late April 2013 and cover the topic of legal ethics which will focus on the collapse of Lehman Brothers and its impact across the US and world. It will be hosted by Rev. William R. Dailey, CSC, Lecturer in Law, Notre Dame Law School and Thomas More Fellow, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture.
Participants will receive pre-reading for the case along with four questions to help shape their thoughts for the discussion. Materials and instructions for the case discussion will be sent the week of April 8, 2013
The participants will join the online group discussion board interacting with other participants and post their answers on the group discussion board. There discussion board will be open up to the large group to encourage more group participation.
: Everyone is invited to participate in the all group audio/web conference with the faculty to discuss the case in more detail. The call is scheduled for April 25th at 12:30 eastern
and will last for one hour and fifteen minutes.
In September 2008 the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global financial services giant, rocked the United States financial and political system and was the most traumatic event in a series of shocks whose reverberations are still being painfully felt by so many in America and around the world. At the heart of Lehman Brothers’ collapse was a series of decisions with major ethical as well as financial dimensions. This discussion will explore how the decisions of elite lawyers and the finest accounting firms helped to keep Lehman Brothers afloat for too long and doubtless increased the destructiveness of its eventual collapse
Mark Twain once quipped that “history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The complex legal and accounting details of the deception leading to Lehman Bros. fall were in sum and substance very similar to those at the heart of another all too memorable recent financial scandal involving the Enron corporation, whose bankruptcy in December 2001 represented another shocking failure of the elite financial and legal sectors to protect investors and the public from deceptive practices. In each case, legal and accounting rules were exploited to hide the true financial state of the companies in question: deals that were effectively loans increasing the liabilities of Enron and Lehman Bros. were cleverly masked to look like sales of assets and thereby improvements in the companies’ bottom lines. Enron memorably “sold” a useless pair of Nigerian barges to Bank of America, who made no use of said barges except to sell them back to Enron at a premium looking suspiciously similar to a short term loan some six months later. Through a more complicated technique called “Repo 105,” clever lawyers at Lehman Bros. were able to make massive borrowing look like sales, and thereby artificially removing debt from Lehman’s balance sheets and deceiving the market and the public about the state of the 4th largest investment bank in the country in a time when the financial sector was increasingly important.
We propose to explore whether the aggressive tactics of Lehman Bros. lawyers and accountants represents a lapse of what we hope for from our best and brightest, or was simply what we hope for when we send them to law schools and business schools—shrewd and clever exploitation of the environment they face.
Now is your chance to take part in Notre Dame’s tradition of lifelong learning from the comfort of your own home or office. Register today for ND Conversations by clicking the link below. If you have additional questions about the program, please contact the Alumni Association Academic program staff at 574-631-5940 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Alumni Association will host the next session in Summer 2013.