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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Bold Idea: Catholic Law School & MBA Program

Despite the unflattering photo of myself with Mr. Kahn bellow, I join arms with Advocatus Militaris and his Modest Proposal and add what might be a Bold Idea that could solve some of the funding issues associated with a law school start up.

St. Borromeo School of Law & The Francis Drexel MBA Program

(Borromeo was a civil and canon lawyer who was likely the source of key passages of the Declaration of Independence. Francis Drexel was the father of St. Katherine Drexel and a prominent business man. Here is a talk given to the Chicago Catholic business community about being a Catholic businessman. Drexel knew how to be a Catholic tycoon, unlike some. These names are just suggestions.)

As you know there is a bit of a restoration occurring among the professions. AMSL for law, the IPS for psychology, ND's program for Architecture, however there are no MBA programs that take Catholic Social Teaching seriously.

Yes, St. Thomas U and ND talk about "ethics" but scratch deeper and talk to serious Catholics who have taken the programs and you will find situation ethics and really no integration with the Mind and Heart of the Faith.

This is an opportunity and creates a unique offering in the market that would attract national and international investors in such a project (remember that the dollar is really weak re: the Euro and so getting European investors will bump up their donation when converted to dollars). Additionally, there are a number of very successful Catholic business people who are moving into the philanthropic phase of their careers and would like to see their wealth make an impact that is meaningful.

The combination of law and business also recognizes the nature of the culture war we are fighting - yes, it is legal but it is also about the excesses of capitalism - materialism and consumerism. What institutions exist to teach young Catholics how to be Catholic in the business world, and how to create businesses and organizational culture that is deeply Catholic and makes an impact on the wider culture? How many of our social and policy problems really have at their root economic underpinnings?

This is something that hasn't been done . . . yet.

There is a saturation in the market for law schools and there is quite a bit of differentiation occurring. Creating a program that is focused on advancing Catholic legal and business scholarship and is innovative in taking a practical approach to learning, would be attractive especially when the focus is on producing Catholic professionals who want to change the culture.

Prof. Lee, when asked about Catholic MBA programs said there are none because MBA programs teach people how to be pirates - they are institutions deeply opposed to the Faith.

I have a friend currently in the ND MBA program and another at Northwestern. Both want a Catholic MBA education, but it doesn't exist. They tell stories about how antagonistic these programs are to a Catholic sensibility.

A joint JD/MBA program with a bright and bold Catholic mission would be very distinctive and attractive institution. As part of this institution, a Catholic venture capital network would be created to support business viable ventures developed in part by the students. You can see how this could develop . . .

Just recreating AMSL without Monaghan is a great idea, but at this point, the idea has to offer more both in its Catholic and professional dimension to attract the big bucks. We aren't looking for a "Monaghan" to fund a new law school, we are looking for investors to build an institution that will produce generations of "Monaghans," albeit with a deeply formed Catholic worldview.

What are your thoughts?