College of Law Hosts Panel on Wall Street

By Marty Stolz

With the nation’s financial and banking sectors roiling in tumult, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law has assembled a special public panel, titled “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, October 6 in the Sutherland Moot Court Room at the College of Law.

In recent weeks, many of Wall Street’s largest institutions, including 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 a panelist, Prof. Christian Johnson, a College of Law expert on markets, banking and derivatives.

Joining Johnson on the panel will be Prof. Christopher Peterson, a scholar on subprime and predatory lending, and Prof. 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 date back several years, when “new commercial practices evolved within the gaps of existing law, in effect deregulating much of the nation’s mortgage market.”

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, Johnson says. It will also discuss solutions being proposed in Washington.

The College of Law is located at 383 South University Street in Salt Lake City, Utah 84112. For more information: (801) 581-6833.