The Holloran Center Ethics Program: "Lessons Learned" Speakers

Hank Shea is a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, MN and a Fellow at the School’s Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions. Shea, who has specialized in prosecuting a wide-range of corporate and other economic crimes, was a federal prosecutor for 20 years in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.

Shea has appeared with more than two dozen white collar felons, many of whom he prosecuted, in more than 125 joint presentations at law schools, business schools, universities, colleges, and high schools, as well as business conferences and public forums. These felons -- former lawyers, government officials, bankers, brokers, and business executives -- are each willing to share their powerful, though often painful, stories of temptation, deceit, indulgence, ruin, and recovery.

The format of these joint presentations is unique and engaging. Shea begins by establishing each person’s background and history. He then draws out the various reasons and motives behind their misconduct and prompts them to describe the many legal, professional, and personal consequences of their offenses, including the impact of their crimes on their victims. They jointly explore the lessons to be learned from each felon’s wrongdoing and how other persons and organizations can best avoid such disasters. Topics discussed range from the importance of mentors and the perils of “willful blindness” to the role of leading by example to establish ethical cultures and the value of integrity, honor, and reputation. Finally, they typically take questions and, time permitting, actively engage the audience in an often robust discussion. Most people leave the presentations with lessons, facts, and impressions that they will long remember.

These dozen felons, and a growing number of others with whom Shea is working, typically have served their sentences and are under no obligation to make presentations. They participate in these events voluntarily and without compensation (except for reimbursement of expenses). While each has personal reasons for participating, most are seeking to make amends for the harms they have caused by steering others towards a different path. These presentations are not a simple descriptive litany of describing transgressions and punishments, but rather a genuine exploration of the often unspoken causes of misconduct and the often misunderstood realities of criminal punishment. For some presentations, the role of apology, forgiveness, and redemption is raised in the context of faith and justice.

If you are interested in hosting a presentation, please contact Hank Shea at


"Again, thank you so much for such a terrific program. I and the students are deeply in your debt; there was so much good modeling of ethics on display. Please convey my gratitude . . . I hope you will keep us on your rotation."

~ Deborah L. Rhode ~ Director, Center of the Legal Profession & E.W. McFarland Professor of Law at Stanford Law School

January 6, 2012
The Holloran Center has learned of bank robbery charges being filed yesterday against Mark Wetsch. The Center, through its Fellow Hank Shea, permanently severed any relationship with Mark Wetsch in early July 2010 when Hank Shea learned of previously unknown wrongful behavior by Mark Wetsch involving his restitution obligations connected with his 2005 fraud conviction, a case that had been prosecuted by Mr. Shea when he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Lessons Learned 2012