Richard W. Painter, the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Law School delivered the 2012 Tabor Institute on Legal Ethics lectures at Valparaiso University Law School on Friday, April 13
Painter’s first presentation was entitled, “Conspiracy, In Pari Delicto, and other Issues in Lawsuits against Lawyers for Ponzi Schemes.” He discussed the roles that lawyers and accountants often play in the conceiving and operating of Ponzi schemes. In that connection, Professor Painter discussed several U.S. Supreme Court cases that interpret federal laws designed to prevent Ponzi schemes in terms of the primary violators, aiders and abettors and those involved with conspiracy. He pointed out that in many circumstances, it can be difficult for lawyers to be included in these groups of potential defendants, despite their often integral role in making Ponzi schemes work.
The second lecture was titled “The Moral Responsibility of Lawyers after the Banking Crisis of 2008.” Painter highlighted the changes that have taken place based on deregulation of the banking business, and how this has affected the role of lawyers in the corporate world. Professor Painter discussed the moral obligations that lawyers face in these circumstances and the fact that questionable firm conduct often cannot occur without the contribution of lawyers. He spoke of several inadequacies in the system of regulation which led to the mortgage crisis of 2008 and particularly the failure of Lehman Brothers, one of the oldest investment banking firms in the United States. Professor Painter closed by exploring how lawyers might avoid a repetition of these events by focusing more on basic moral values.
Painter received a B.A. in history summa cum laude from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale University. He currently teaches corporate law at the University of Minnesota Law School and has previously taught at University of Oregon School of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law. He also served as the Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel’s Office.
The Tabor Institute on Legal Ethics lecture series is made possible by a generous endowment from Glenn Tabor. Tabor is a Valparaiso University Law School alumnus and co-founder of the Valparaiso firm Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman. The goal of these lectures is to encourage reflection on virtuous living, illuminate the nature of the legal vocation, and clarify the responsibilities that lawyers have to both clients and society.