| March 14, 2016

Published in 1987, Presumed Innocent was revolutionary in that it created the genre of the “legal thriller”, later built upon by authors such as John Grisham, Richard North Patterson and many others. Despite the time that has passed since its publication, Presumed Innocent remains one of the finest examples of the genre. The novel was made into a critically acclaimed motion picture in 1990, starring Harrison Ford. Presumed Innocent raises important questions of morality, truth and justice, which serve as an excellent backdrop to this course.

With this in mind, please consider the following.

The phrase “presumed innocent” refers to the bedrock principal in the U.S. criminal law system that an accused is considered innocent until actually proven guilty. Why is the concept of presumed innocence important? Is it necessary? Do we actually believe in this concept? Said another way, when a person is accused of a crime, does the public really believe in the innocence of the accused? What does this say about us as a society?

Conflicts of interest play a huge role in the novel. What are the conflicts and why are they important?

Are conflicts of interest legally important in business transactions? Give me some examples of conflicts that you have seen in your business and how they were addressed?

How should such conflicts be resolved? Is simple disclosure enough? What rules are or should be in place to govern conflicts?

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