Corporate crime fighters

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Business scandals boost interest in white-collar crime law.

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Corporate crime fighters

  1. 1. STATE OF MARKET 1.800.973.1177PAGE 1With scandals like Enron, WorldCom, GlobalCrossings and Martha Stewart’s questionablestock sales making media splashes in recentyears, an increasing number of law studentsare becoming interested in the area of white-collar crime and securities law. And lawschools are stepping up to meet that growinginterest with more courses and seminarsthan ever before.The University of Houston Law Center is oneschool seeing a spike in student interest.“Corporate law has gotten sexy,” said Pro-fessor Doug Moll, who teaches a first-yearrequired corporations class.Moll and Geraldine Moohr, who teaches asecond- and third-year elective in white-col-lar crime, both say that while their classeshave usually been full in past years, thesedays they have both seen increased interestfrom their students in how the topics relateto real life.“I do notice an increased interest in the stu-dents we have,” said Moohr. “They are keenlyinterested in what they are hearing about inthe news.”James Lee, who was enrolled in Mohr’swhite-collar crime seminar, is one of thosedrawn to the topic. He got interested in theissue after the Enron collapse happened justacross town.“My friends and family would constantlyquestion me on exactly what happened andthat led to a direct interest in the subjectmatter,” he said. “In fact, until the Enrondebacle I did not know that UH offered thewhite-collar course.”Moll said that the scandals have resulted innew legislation and regulations in the areaas well.“There has been a major overhaul and en-hancement of the securities laws recently,”he said.That means in addition to a growing numberof classes like Moohr’s popping up across thecountry, professors at law schools who havetraditionally taught core classes like Moll’sare retooling their curricula as well.“Law schools have always taught the basicsof this area but suddenly now everyone wantsto know more,” Moll said. “And there arenew areas to cover. It’s new law, it’s hot, andstudents are asking about it.”Moohr said the growing interest from stu-dents and new regulation will likely combinewith an existing trend toward expansion atlaw firms, government agencies and corpo-rations, to make for more jobs in the field aswell.“It’s been an expanding field for sometimeand it’s going to get a boost from what’s beengoing on,” said Moohr. “White collar crimespreads throughout business and it’s not justsecurities, but also covers environmentallaw, occupational health and safety, politicalcorruption and trade secrets and copyrights.I recommend all students who are interestedin business law take [this kind of] course.It’s definitely an expanding area and it isdefinitely going to continue to grow.”Allison Ply, another student who tookMoohr’s class, said she knows of severalclassmates taking the seminar in hopes ofworking as legal counsel for corporationsand businesses. But she said she doesn’tthink media coverage will spark that manymore students to follow the field into defenseor prosecution work in the area.“It is not for the faint of heart, nor for thoseseeking instant gratification,” she said. “Iknow more students would be willing to gointo prosecution, law enforcement or similarfield if it paid more. I have had that conversa-tion with several students.”This story appeared in the March, 2003 edi-tion of The National Jurist, www.nation-aljurist.comCorporate crime fighters[by Rebecca Luczycki]Business scandals boost interest in white-collar crime law.

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