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College of Law Hosts Timely Wall Street Panel

September 30, 2008 — With the nation’s financial and banking sectors roiling in tumult, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will host a special public panel, entitled “Wall Street in Crisis” to address these vital legal and economic issues. The free panel will be presented at 12:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 6 in the Sutherland Moot Court Room at the College of Law. 

In recent weeks, many of Wall Street’s largest institutions – Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, American Insurance Group, Washington Mutual, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia Bank – have collapsed or been taken over. The common factor in each case has been large holdings of subprime mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. 

“Wall Street in Crisis” will trace the rapid deterioration of the banking system over the past year and describe the economic consequences from these historic losses, says panelist Professor Christian Johnson, a College of Law expert on markets, banking and derivatives.  

Joining Johnson on the panel will be Professor Christopher Peterson, a scholar on subprime and predatory lending, and Professor Ralph Mabey, a retired federal bankruptcy judge and bankruptcy law expert.

Peterson, who will speak about the structure of subprime mortgage securities, says the origin of the banking crisis dates back several years, when “new commercial practices crept up into the gaps in existing regulation, and a substantial market was unregulated.”

The panel seeks to paint a picture of the economic harm caused by the subprime mortgages on Wall Street, and look ahead at how losses on Wall Street may affect life on Main Street. It will also examine solutions being proposed in Washington. 

The College of Law is located at 332 South 1400 East in Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.  For more information: (801) 581-6833.