December 8, 2006
Shilling for Seton Hall Law Schhool by Dean Hobbs
The Dean of Seton Hall, Patrick E. Hobbs, has written a letter to the WSJ responding to Richard Epstein's op-ed of Nov. 28 in the same paper. Professor Epstein makes the point that the United States Attorney for New Jersey over stepped the bounds of his office when he forced Bristol-Meyers to endow a chair of ethics at his alma mater, Seton Hall Law School, as a condition to granting a deferred prosecution agreement settlement to criminal charges. The Dean of Seton Hall rose to the bait and used the opportunity to tout the Seton Hall program. His bragging on ethics education, no less, did not deal with the ethical problem of his school's accepting a chair ( i.e., aiding and abetting an ethic breach) from a company that had been coerced by a federal prosecutor to give it. This is a highly controversial practice. Prosecutors should not use their office to fund their alma mater. Indeed, one can make a good argument that prosecutors should not use their office to fund any chartable institution this way. Analogies abound: We, for example, routinely condemn corporate insiders' use of gifts to the alma maters of outside directors as a way of compromising the outsiders' integrity (is it a bribe?). How is this different?? Has the company paid a version of a kickback to the prosecutor in the form of a gift to an alma mater?? It is, of course an ethical question, that the Dean ignores completely in his rush to hype his school's ability to teach -- well -ethics.
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