Olser of Baylor Law Speaks on Art and Ethics

October 30, 2008 | 1 Comment

original article

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – As part of Campbell Law’s Professionalism Lecture Series, Mark Olser, Professor of Law at Baylor University School of Law, addressed students on the topic of Art and Ethics on Oct. 15 at the Law School.

“Why art? It goes back to something that happened to me, that changed my life,” Olser said. “I used to believe that if something was seen as beautiful, it was contextual.”

This changed when Olser and his wife went to Italy. As he was standing in front of Michelangelo’s David, he realized he was wrong.

“At that moment, I started believing in genius,” he said. “There I was, standing with people from all over the world, and we were all thinking the same thing.”

Since then, Olser has used art history to explain ethics.

“All of the ethical rules fall under one of three principles,” he said. “These three principles are honesty, engagement and humility.”

Using pieces from a variety of artists, including van Gogh, Rockwell and Rivera, Olser systematically described and illustrated how these principles must be applied in the life of a lawyer.

“I was a prosecutor a long time ago, and I still carry a Miranda card in my wallet,” Olser said. “The reason I love it is because it’s a sacred principle. You have the right to remain silent… that’s pretty incredible.”

“So, I made up a Miranda card with these principles that I’ve been talking about, for you to all put in your wallets,” he added. “And when you take it out of your wallet to throw it out one day, I hope you feel a little guilty.”

About Olser: Mark Olser is a Professor of Law at Baylor Law School, where he teaches Criminal Practice, Oral Advocacy, Professional Responsibility and Sentencing. A graduate of the College of William and Mary and Yale Law School, Olser has extensive experience as a prosecutor, and has served as a U.S. Attorney in Detroit, Mich. He is a national expert on federal criminal sentencing, and has written numerous articles and books, including Jesus on Death Row and The Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights.

About Campbell Law’s Professionalism Series: Campbell Law’s Professionalism Lecture Series introduces first year Campbell Law students to some of the most respected and successful attorneys from across the nation. Select speakers for the 2007-08 series have included: Dean Kenneth Starr, Pepperdine University School of Law; Joseph Cheshire V, Esq., Cheshire Parker Schneider Bryan & Vitale; William K. Suter, Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court; and Charles L. Becton Slifkin & Bell PA.

About Campbell Law School: Since its founding in 1976, the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others and create a more just society. The School has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. In 2008, the Law School’s Moot Court Program was ranked in the top ten nationally by the University of Houston’s Blakely Advocacy Institute among 196 ABA accredited law schools. Campbell Law boasts more than 3,000 alumni, including 2,000 who reside and work in North Carolina. For the past 20 years, Campbell Law’s record of success on the North Carolina bar exam is unsurpassed by any other North Carolina law school.


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