University of Iowa News Release
Sept. 12, 2003
Law School's Corporate Crimes Students Have A Lot To Study
When the University of Iowa College of Law last offered its Corporate Crimes class three years ago, names like Enron, Adelphia, Worldcom and Arthur Andersen had yet to become synonymous with fraud and deceit.
The class is being offered again this fall, and it has a lot more case studies to examine.
"There have been so many that I could probably teach the course using nothing but case studies, but I'll limit myself," said Tung Yin, the associate professor of law who is teaching the class. But while the current cases are grabbing headlines, most case studies in the class will look at older, more settled legal decisions. Current controversies may be helpful anecdotally, but since only a few have resulted in actual legal decisions (in some cases, indictments still have not been brought), they are of limited use in the classroom.
"It's not always the newest, sexiest cases that are best from a teaching standpoint," he said. "We study cases that are the best in presenting the legal doctrine and issues to the students."
One of the current controversies that will be discussed is the fate of accounting firm Arthur Andersen. One of Andersen's largest clients was Enron, and a partner in the firm's Houston office pleaded guilty to destroying documents related to Andersen's audit of Enron's financial statements; subsequently, the Department of Justice indicted Andersen for obstruction of justice, and a jury convicted the accounting firm. Although the sentence was only $500,000 and a term of probation, the consequences of the conviction have all but driven Andersen out of business.
"Arthur Andersen is a good case study to demonstrate the consequences of corporate crime," Yin said. "A lot of students will look at that and say, is it fair for the entire corporation to suffer from the actions of what may have been a few rogue employees?"
Students in the class will study many different classes of corporate crimes, including fraud, conspiracy, racketeering and obstruction of justice, as well as issues involved in criminal defense, such as attorney-client privilege, representation of multiple clients and document production. Yin is well qualified to teach the class because of the nature of his work at a Los Angeles law firm before he became a professor.
"Since half my practice as an attorney was white collar criminal defense, it seemed like a good fit to teach a class about corporate crimes," he said.
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