The two courses “Law and the Lobby” and “Trust and Honesty in the Real World” were designed by Professors Tamar Frankel and Mark Fagan, a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The objectives of these courses are to expose students in both Business Schools and Law Schools to different environments, concepts, views, and methods of analysis in business and law disciplines, both of which may apply to the same issues. This cross-disciplinary approach uses cases drawn from actual business experiences and requires students to role-play in a variety of situations and to discuss and evaluate different courses of action that they could take to resolve the issues.

An Interdisciplinary Course for Lawyers, Business People and Regulators

Trust and Honesty in the Real World; Fathom Publishing Company (2007)

This course will be taught at Boston University Law School beginning January, 2008. It will be jointly attended by students from Boston University School of Management and the School of Law. The teachers of the course will be Professor Frankel of Boston University Law School and Mark Fagan, a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The course is designed to expose students to the language, views and methods of the other disciplines that affect their own, and to the role of each discipline in establishing and maintaining trust and honesty in America.

The goal of the course is to help students and seasoned practitioners recognize the ease with which trust and honesty can be lost, understand the impact of the business environment and social culture on trust and honesty, and explore measures to reinforce and, if necessary, restore trust and honesty in the business world.

The course materials are founded on “Trust and Honesty, American’s Business Culture at a Crossroad” (Frankel, 2006). The centerpiece of each module in this book is a case study drawn from actual business experience.

In this course no answers are provided. Rather class discussions lead students to reach their own conclusions.

Many aspects of trust and honesty are unclear. By analyzing case studies, students will evaluate options and tradeoffs based on actual situations that legal, business and policy leaders face.

Role playing exercises that complement the case studies bring the issues to life. Students analyze the situations as well as work with those in other disciplines to enhance their understanding. Finally, students learn to strengthen their consensus-building skills to bring their desired solution to reality.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Legal, business scholars team up on teaching ethics

Boston Business Journal – by Lisa van der Pool Journal staff

Tamar Frankel, professor of law at Boston University School of Law, will co-teach a course on “Trust and Honesty in the Real World,”a unique offering for MBA and law students.

“Navigating the slippery world of business and legal ethics can be difficult for young professionals, especially given that many real-life situations are not always black and white.”

That was the impetus behind Boston University’s new course “Trust and Honesty in the Real World.”

The new class marks the university’s first course that will mix both MBA-candidates and law students, teaching them about methods to navigate ethical issues against the backdrop of the corporate scandal of recent years.

The course, which starts in January and will be housed inside the law school, will be taught by Boston University law professor Tamar Frankel and Mark Fagan, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The course is a companion to the book “Trust and Honesty, America’s Business Culture at a Crossroad,” which was written by Frankel.

“I can’t prove that there’s more fraud now, but there’s more tolerance to it,” said Frankel, a native of Israel who was the first woman to join BU’s law faculty in 1968. “I want to change the younger generation — not to give them a sermon, but to make them experience it.”

Likewise, Fagan says there is a clear benefit to combining business and law students in one class.

“We saw there was a great opportunity to get lawyers and businesspeople to work together,” said Fagan. “What we wanted to do was put a series of cases together.”

Using classic scandals about Charles Ponzi, E.F. Hutton & Co., Enron and Worldcom, the course will require students to role-play a variety of situations and talk about different courses of action they could take.

Boston University’s class appears to be a relatively unique offering among local law schools. At Harvard University, the business school and the law school both have ethics classes, but there is no class that is cross-disciplinary, according to Fagan.

Similarly Suffolk University has a legal ethics class and a business ethics class, but they are not combined, according to a school spokesperson.

“One of the things that people always knock law school about is that it doesn’t have a lot of relevance to the real working world unless people have the benefit of being at a firm and working with partners who are attuned to ethical issues and who are good about helping people understand them,” said Paul Clifford, a principal at Law Practice Consultants LLC in Boston.

“Getting that stuff in law school I think is terrific, especially against the backdrop of (corporate scandal). Often you see people who are ethical in their personal lives, but they don’t carry it over to their business lives. They say, ‘It’s only business.’ “

Lisa van der Pool can be reached at

This course will be taught at Boston University Law School beginning January 2011. The teachers of the course will be Professor Frankel of Boston University Law School and Mark Fagan,a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lobbying is fundamental to our participatory democracy. The courts have steadfastly upheld the right to lobby based on the First Amendment. Lobbying efforts have led to numerous societal gains from cleaner air to safer cars. Lobbyists also play a vital role in helping members of the government understand complex issues. However, lobbying has a dark side. Throughout our country’s history there have been scandals where money was used to unethically and unlawfully gain influence. Efforts to regulate lobbying have followed each major outrage yet they continue. This class will explore the legal, business and public policy aspects of lobbying. The course begins with history of lobbying focused on its legal foundation, regulation and resulting litigation. Next the business of lobbying is explored including the size, structure, strategy and economics of the industry. Finally we consider the impact of recent events on the future of lobbying – What has been the fallout from the Abramoff scandal? What is the impact of the Citizens United decision? What is the impact of the internet on lobbying, especially for non-profits? The reading materials include legislation, legal cases and business cases, collated by the instructors. Students will be required to write one 15 page paper at the end of the course.