This afternoon, in his annual orientation speech to new students, Harvard Law School Dean Robert C. Clark spoke of the need for “moral courage” among the nation’s lawyers and business leaders.

“In any career path you choose, you will be faced with moral dilemmas and pitfalls all along the way,” said Clark. Specifically citing Enron and other corporate scandals, he added, “Every day newspapers are filled with stories about lawyers who have made tragic mistakes for themselves and their clients because their decisions and advice were not anchored in a clear sense of what is right.”

“Ask the tough questions,” Clark went on to say. “Isn’t there a conflict of interest here? Should there be an independent committee? Should we have clear rule that we shouldn’t do this? And if clients insist on going forward, you must say, ‘No, we can’t do this. This is wrong.'”

A corporate law specialist, Clark was appointed dean of Harvard Law School in 1989. He is currently the longest serving dean of a Harvard school or faculty. His book Corporate Law has been used at law schools throughout the country and is considered one of the definitive textbooks on the subject.

Clark spoke to a crowd more than 500 students, faculty members, and Harvard Law administrators.

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