The prosecution is alleging some very interesting facts regarding Matthew Martoma’s past as a student at Harvard Law School. According an ABA Journal story, Prosecutors contend that Martoma was expelled from Harvard in 1999 after forging transcripts for judicial clerkship applications. According to prosecutors, Martoma submitted a forensic report to a Harvard disciplinary committee without disclosing that he founded the company that prepared that report. Martoma had a soft landing after Harvard – graduating with an MBA from Stanford and ultimately moving to SAC.
Beyond the evidentiary issues, if these allegations in the Martoma trial are confirmed, they should give law professors some pause. Student disciplinary matters are always gut-wrenching. Faculty members often hope that students can learn from mistakes. But students may be a lot more fully formed than we think by the time they enter law school. In the wake of every wave of scandals, there is always handwringing about the need for more ethics training both in law and business schools. There is an increased need for more empirical study of the effects of ethics courses and various approaches to teaching ethics. Just as we can’t extrapolate from a sample size of one, we also need to be fairly hardnosed about evaluating what does and doesn’t shape professional conduct.
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