case western reserve university



History of the Center: 1998-Present

In 1998, Professor Robert Lawry and the Center for Professional Ethics joined forces with Professor Marvin Rosenberg to create Drama Discussions, a unique, theater-based ethics education program that continues to this day.

From 1998 to 2002, the Center sponsored an ongoing program called Ethics Dinners. The 1996-1997 ethics fellows were invited to hear various ethics scholars speak on the issues and dilemmas in their fields. The list of speakers include (if possible, you'll be able to click on the names which will bring you the article written on the speech):

  • Professor Tom Anderson, Visiting Ethics Fellow, Ethics in Leadership
  • Professor Linda Ehrlich, Cinematic Justice
  • Professor Mikhail Gratchev, Ethical Russian Entrepreneurship: Does it Exist?
  • Professor Ted Gup, ethics in journalism
  • Professor Eric Juengst, Groups as Gatekeepers to Genetic Research
  • Professor Edward Lawry, Visiting Ethics Fellow, On Virtue and Morality
  • Professor Richard Momeyer, Physician-Assisted Suicide: Morally Permissible?
  • Professor Andrew Trew, Regulating Ethics: A Comparative Approach
  • Professor Richard Weisberg, Private and Public Discourse
  • Professor Brenda Wirkus, Searching for Foundations: Feminist and Postmodern Approaches to Philosophy

In Spring of 1999, the fourth annual Robert W. Clarke Memorial Lecture featured Richard Weisberg, the Walter Floersheimer Chair in Constitutional Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University giving a talk entitled: Vichy Law and the Holocaust in France. Past Clarke speakers include: Stephen L. Carter, Yale University, and Dennis F. Thompson, Harvard University.

In an ongoing partnership over the last few years, the Center has periodically joined forces with Periaktos Productions (LINK), a theater troupe consisting of the husband and wife team of Graham and Anna Marie Thatcher. The couple uses original plays to dramatize the lives of several important figures including Clarence Darrow, William O. Douglas and Thomas More. These plays help their audiences to ponder social and legal justice, as well as ethical and moral issues.

In 2001, the Center assisted the Case School of Law in presenting the Jonathon M. Ault Symposium on Professional Responsibility and Multi-Disciplinary Practice. The symposium looked at how the traditional structure of legal practice is under increased pressure today, with many signs of change—market pressures, demands of clients, and the voices of some lawyers are demanding new types of collaborative arrangements with non-lawyers. This symposium examined how this trend will effect ethical prohibitions against fee-sharing and non-lawyer partnerships and economic forces pushing for change in the organization and management of professional groups. Speakers from the academy, practicing bar, and the accounting profession who shared their perspectives and experiences include: Carole Silver, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director, Law and Social Science Program, Northwestern University School of Law; Charles W. Wolfram, Charles Frank Reavis Senior Professor of Law Emeritus, Cornell University Law School; as well as commentators Andrew Bailey, Professor of Accountancy, University of Illinois; Frederick J. Krebs, President American Corporate Counsel Association; Dale C. LaPorte, Chairman, Executive Committee and Partner, Calfee, Halter & Griswald; Kevin McMunigal, Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law, School of Law, Case Western Reserve University; Gary Previts, Professor of Accountancy, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University; Ann Zimmerman, General Counsel, Cleveland Bar Association; and Ann Southworth, School of Law, Case Western Reserve University.

In 2002, the Center for Professional Ethics was awarded a grant by the University Annual Theme Initiative through the Office of the Provost. This generous grant enabled Director Lawry to bring Professor Philip C. Bobbitt to speak at a forum entitled: Ends and Means in the War against Terrorism. Professor Bobbitt, along with CWRU Professors Ken Grundy (Political Science) and Michael Scharf (Law) touched on all facets of the challenges in the living in today's United States from myriad standpoints; from privacy to war to the hope of peace.

In spring of 2004, some Case groups, including the Hallinan Center and the Department of Religion, featured the documentary film Bonhoeffer by Martin Doblmeier. With the help of Robert Lawry, the viewings—in tandem with discussions afterwards—were set up so that the Case community can begin to think of the importance of conscience and how it is nurtured in ones' life.

In the fall of 2004, Robert Lawry was asked to moderate a panel on the day of the Vice-Presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University. Dubbed "The Race at Case" by the university, the event and its surrounding programs were, without a doubt, a highlight of the university's last decade. The panel gathered at the Weatherhead's Peter B. Lewis building included Robert Lawry, moderator; Professor Sam Thomas, Banking and Finance, Weatherhead School of Management; Professor Michael Craw, Political Science; Michael Scharf, Professor of Law, and Director, Frederick K. Cox International Law Center; and Dean May Wykle, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. The discussion was available around the globe by webcast.

The Case Western Reserve University School of Law has helped to fund the Center since 2002 and in 2004-05 the Center became a full-fledged law school entity.