The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Q&A with Professor Jennifer Taub of Vermont Law School

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Jennifer Taub, professor of business law at Vermont Law School, visited Dartmouth last week to discuss the Dodd-Frank Act that may or may not prevent another large-scale financial crisis. As a researcher and writer in the areas of financial reform, corporate governance, and mutual fund regulation, Taub has the expertise necessary to analyze if the financial system is still risky after all these years. Before kicking off her lecture on "The U.S. Financial System: Still Risky after All These Years," Andres Ramirez '14 sat down with Jennifer Taub to delve deeper into her life and opinions.

Andres Ramirez: What aspect of law drives to practice and teach? What drew you into law in the first place?

Jennifer Taub: What drives my passion for law is the intersection between consumer protection and financial markets. I left the practice of law, however, to teach at both a business and law school because I wanted to bring the experiences I had working in the private sector to students and help them appreciate the promises and perils of tough choices in legal issues.

When I was in college, I thought I would become a journalist, an academic or a lawyer. I decided on law because I wanted to not just think and write about policy issues, but also become engaged in them. I was generally interested in gender equality and social justice, but ended up falling in love with commercial law.

I went in thinking I wanted to be a public interest lawyer, but then decided to practice business and commercial law. There is always a fear associated with your first job. I went in not exactly knowing what I wanted to do, but in the end, I have been fortunate enough to blend all three of my original passions into one career.

AR: Why Vermont Law School? With a reputation of environmental law, what was your motivation to teach corporate law in such a rural area?

JT: I first taught business school and then decided to teach law to students. Vermont Law School was an ideal choice and I fell in love with their motto: law for the community and the world. The students come in and are focused to change the world and I enjoy every minute of it. I enjoy a mission driven school and I think the students and faculty are very special. I hope I can bring to life these issues of corporate law and financial market regulations. These things affect people’s lives.

AR: You have written extensively on the financial crisis, could America have foreseen our past recession?

JT: Everybody saw this coming. Everybody saw the housing bubble inflating. But there were a few big questions: when would it burst, how big, and who would take the losses? It was clear that there was a massive bubble by 2002 and that the bust would come soon after.

AR: With the upcoming fiscal cliff after the election, do you think either Romney or Obama can be the transformative factor in the economic process?

JT: There is a natural tendency to focus on presidents, but we have to also look into the House and the Senate. The Executive Branch only has so much power. But whomever wins will have to work fast as the fiscal cliff is fast approaching.

This post is part of a new series featuring Rocky student leaders engaging with special guests on campus.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences