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Date Created: 12/21/15
CAREER CORNER 1.800.973.1177 Arthur Gross-Schaefer, the Rabbi-attorney [by Teresa Talerico] A lawyer, rabbi and ethics professor, Arthur Gross-Schaefer is using his JD for higher purposes. That includes challenging his students to develop a strong sense of their core values and to apply those values in the workplace. Dr. Gross-Schaefer teaches ethics, spiritual- an employee as an example. I want to know are and they have a sense of their own values. ity and other classes as co-chair of the De- what the legal avenues are, the legal rules. I And then they (examine) what the values are partment of Marketing and Business Law at want to know what the ethical considerations of where they are working. Because wherever Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. are and the spiritual dimension. My goal is to you’re working, those values of the work en- (consider) all three together. vironment will tend to, over time, erode your A 1976 graduate of Boston University School own values if there’s a conﬂict. of Law, Dr. Gross-Schaefer has had various Q: Do most law schools have ethics classes? irons in the ﬁre. After graduation, he brieﬂy I want them to have their own mission state- worked for a CPA, practiced as a litigation A: The answer is yes and no. On the bar ment, their own core values and a very good attorney, ran his brother’s congressional exam, to become a lawyer, you have to pass sense of the real values - not the articulated campaign and worked for a member of the an ethics test. That’s a very different type of values - the real values of where they’ll be Israeli Parliament. In 1984, he was ordained ethics than what I’m talking about. The ethics working and see if there’s a connection. as a rabbi after completing his studies at they do is how not to be sued for malpractice. Hebrew Union College. What I’m talking about is bringing your core Law is an amazing background. And that values of honesty and integrity, or whatever background gives you entry points into all Q: What inspired you to become a rabbi? your core values are, into how you practice sorts of personal endeavors, all sorts of pos- law. What I focus on is a very different type sibilities. I have even used it in my work as a A: My goal at a very young age was to make than your typical ethics classes in law school. rabbi, in my work with school boards and with the world a better place. I was about 8 years In many schools, it’s more philosophical public education. old and saw John F. Kennedy and saw politi- ethics. In other words, they teach you about cians and politics as the best way to make Hume or teach you about Mill. Very beautiful Q: Who inspired you to go into law? the world a better place. There were three theories, but you have no idea how to bring skills I needed to master: one was money, so that into your day-to-day life. A: The people who inspired me the most were therefore accounting; one was law; and one the lawyers who were able to take unpopular was how to work with people, and that was Q: When you were in law school, what did you kinds of situations and defend those people social work. I did all three of those things. envision doing with your law degree? or at least give voice to those people who did The problem is when I started to practice law, not have others speaking for them. Brandeis my goal was to make sure I won. When I ran A: Probably it was to go into politics. is one who comes to mind very, very quickly…I my brother’s campaign…again, you started believe that the law needs to mirror our val- to get where you wanted to win. I started to Q: What’s your advice for those looking to do ues, not the other way around. ﬁnd myself losing my moral compass. Rab- something different or unconventional with binic school was a way for me to retool who I their JDs? How can they avoid simply follow- wanted to be. ng their peers who are applying to big ﬁrms? Q: How does your JD continue to help you A: You know how corporations have mission today? statements? I want them to have their own personal mission statement, who they want to A: What I often do with my articles and so be. So when the demands come howling down forth is to have a situation - take terminating on them, they have a foundation of who they PAGE 1
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