The Great Recession of 2008: Statutory Background and Legislative Response   [Archived Catalog]
2017-2018 School of Law Bulletin

LAWS 849 - The Great Recession of 2008: Statutory Background and Legislative Response

Credits: 3

Like many people who rely on a 401K plan for retirement, I have taken a personal interest in the "Great Recession of 2008." The students at the law school lived through the Great Recession and are currently facing a diminished job market as a result of its effects. Some economists project that the careers of those now entering the workforce will be permanently impacted by the near-collapse of the banking system in October of 2008. I have read a number of books on the causes of the Great Recession, most by economists or financial journalists. All of the books refer to the statutory background as a cause of the credit collapse, but none of them ever quote or analyze the statutory material at length. None are really satisfactory from the lawyer's point of view. Lawyers should read the statutes before drawing conclusions about the causes of the Great Recession. This seminar would require all the students to read Charles Gasparino, The Sellout: How Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed America's Global Financial System (2009). Other reading assignments would be made from the attached Bibliography. The out-of-class readings would be supplemented by an in-class review of the statutory basis of the banking and home mortgage industries, including the major U.S. Banking laws, the enabling statutes of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, Gramm-Leach Bliley Act of 1999 (which repealed Glass-Steagall), the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, and the authorizing acts for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fanny Mae), and regulation of the bond, futures, derivative, and Credit Default Swap markets. In-class presentations would also cover the economic events that pre-cipitated the statutory schemes in place as of 2008, e.g., the Panic of 1907, the Great Depression, the Savings and Loan crises of the 1980's, the bubble, and the collapse of Long Term Capital Management. The class would also look at the key features of the Dodd-Frank Act to see whether those changes really addressed the Recession's underlying causes.

Note: This course satisfies the graduation writing requirement.

Basis of Grade: 30 page paper and class presentations

Form of Grade: Letter