Printable Version

Spring 2013
7397 Finance & Ethics - ARBOGAST- 36018
added 11-1-12


Credits: 3

Course Areas: Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Law 
Business and Commercial Law

Time: 6:00p-9:00p  T  Location: 105 CEMO  At Bauer College

Course Outline: Finance and Ethics is a case study-based course that focuses on ethical breaches and the subsequent scandals that have impacted financial markets. The cases, authored by the instructor, give in-depth treatment to Enron and then to various firms involved in the Financial Crisis. The course’s objectives are: 1) to improve students ability to identify ethical issues in the workplace; 2) to train them in the case for and substance of good financial control; and 3) to equip them tactically to manage ethics issues they may encounter during their careers.

To accomplish these objectives, the course first examines Enron case studies that span the history of that firm. These cases demonstrate how Enron abandoned financial control early on while embracing flawed accounting and compensation systems. Each case also describes the financial engineering Enron used to pursue its aims, and the legal and accounting flaws which rendered its transactions problematic. The final cases focus on the efforts of resisters to reverse Enron’s tide of corruption. These studies recount the predicaments of Jordan Mintz, Vince Kaminski and Sherron Watkins, all of whom participate in the class’ analysis of their cases.

The second half of the course examines thirteen new Financial Crisis cases. Here the focus is broader – the financial industry, its gatekeepers and regulators. These cases cover Countrywide Mortgage, Goldman Sachs, Fannie Mae, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Moody’s, AIG, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Lehman Brothers. Students will examine the use and abuse of financial innovations, such as Collateralized Debt Obligations and Credit Default Swaps. They also will study the acute conflicts of interest which affected senior managements at financial firms. Finally, they will encounter another group of resisters who enjoyed new legal protections and tactical options in the post-Enron era.

Each student will be part of a team that presents a minimum of two case studies. There will also be a take-home case study final exam.

Course Syllabus:

Course Notes: For more information and to view the syllabus and sample cases, please visit   To register for this course, students must see Derrick Gabriel in the Student Services Office. There is more space in this class for law students than in the other courses taught by Prof. Arbogast, and this course is the least rigorous in terms of needing quantitative finance skills. Indeed it is designed to for teams of business and law students to work together. Still to assure that you qualify for the course, you must send Prof. Jacqueline Weaver a vita and statement describing your existing background in Finance and your interest in the course. Qualified students will be enrolled on a first-come basis, through Derrick Gabriel.


First Day Assignments:

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No

Experiential Course Type:

Bar Course: