Learn about the JD/MBA Lehman Brothers Project

Anita Herrmann

The JD/MBA Lehman Brothers Project

By the student research team: Beverly Cheung (JD/MBA’20), Brian Haddock (JD/MBA’22) and Dana Levin (JD/MBA’22) 


TORONTO, Fall 2019 – The Hennick Centre for Business and Law partnered with Hot Docs for Continuing Professional Education to develop a CPD/CPE accredited webinar course studying the documentary Inside Lehman Brothers. Under the direction of Professor and Hennick Center Senior Fellow Garrick Apollon and Osgoode Faculty Supervisor Prof. Cynthia Williams, JD/MBA students and student researchers Beverly Cheung, Brian Haddock and Dana Levin had the opportunity to interview securities law expert Dean Mary Condon of Osgoode Hall Law School. The spotlight then turned on the students as they gave on camera interviews and asked questions about their opinions on the documentary, ethical leadership and the consequences that flowed from the financial crisis more generally.

The students interviewed Dean Condon to discuss her opinions on the changes that have been made in the years since the financial crisis and the issues that still remain over a decade later. The discussion on the various topics flowed from research conducted by the students on the impact of the financial crisis in Canada versus the United States, gender-based equality, tone at the top, ethical leadership and public interest responsibilities of industry professionals. In her on-camera remarks, Dean Condon spoke to the necessity of a strong regulatory framework in today’s marketplace, noting that “you do need regulators to have a systemic overview” if they are to effectively monitor the conduct of market participants who are now dealing in increasingly complex and complicated financial products.

Watch initial reaction of Dean Mary Condon & the Student Research Team after watching the film:

In the documentary, ethics, professional responsibility, and gender equality issues quickly came to the fore, something the research team of JD/MBA students touched upon in their own recorded remarks. “I think one of the things that stood out the most to me in the film were the stories that were told by a number of female whistleblowers who were working at Lehman Brothers at the time of the Collapse,” noted 4th year student Beverly Cheung.  “This was one of the first films that I had seen on the financial crisis that highlighted some of the issues that can flow from a lack of gender-based equality in the workplace,” she continued

Touching upon the role of lawyers in navigating the many issues raised in the film, 2nd year student Dana Levin highlighted the importance of personal and collective professional responsibility, especially in the context of the self-regulated legal profession, commenting that “I know that in my future profession I will have a tremendous amount of responsibility to act ethically and to safeguard the public trust…Lawyers can only do what they do because the public has entrusted them to do it,” he added.

This project introduced business law students to visual legal advocacy and the art of legal documentary filmmaking such as the production of short nonfiction advocacy films on behalf of actual individual clients and legal experts, as well as in this particular case, to advance the cause of social justice.  Students had the chance to practice their skills by participating in personal video interviews on the matter which allowed them to partake in something out of the box within the legal profession field and a great addition to their resumes as well as future practice adventures.

The completion of this research study marks another successful Hennick Centre visual legal advocacy project, and adds to an existing portfolio of projects produced in collaboration with Hot Docs for Continuing Education including an original film production Collared, a documentary on Insider Trading.

Learn more about the Lehman Brothers Project here.