Discussion | Law and Pop Culture – Billions: Money, Financial Crime, and Legal Ethics

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Discussion of the show with David Ginsburg and David Levien and Brian Koppelman

When does a prosecutor’s pursuit of a target cross an ethical line from the quest for justice into a personal vendetta? This is the question at the heart of “Billions” — Showtime’s new drama highlighting a federal prosecutor’s investigation of a high flying hedge fund manager. The show hits such timely issues as prosecutorial misconduct and Wall Street greed and abuse of inside information. The show also explores the destructive impact of the epic struggle between the U. S. Attorney (played by Paul Giamatti) and the hedge fund manager (played by Damian Lewis) on their families and the people who work for them.

The Stanford Center on the Legal Profession hosted a program about “Billions” on Saturday, May 14. This event was the Center’s fifth program on law and popular culture. After screening an episode from “Billions,” UCLA Law Professor David Ginsburg led a discussion with Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the creators and writers of “Billions.” Then there was a panel discussion focusing on the legal and ethical issues highlighted by the show and its real-life inspiration. Panelists include former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag, Stanford Law Professor Joe Grundfest, and Duke Law Professor Lisa Kern Griffin. This panel was moderated by Stanford Visiting Professor Michael Asimow.

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