611.35 Readings: Theranos: Leadership, Corporate Governance and Ethics

This one-credit Readings class will focus on the rise and fall of Theranos under the leadership of its founder, Elizabeth Holmes. Through readings and discussion, students will examine the story of Theranos, primarily through Wall Street Journal writer John Carreyrou’s book, Bad Blood, and consider the decisions made both by the company’s leadership and affiliated lawyers. We will look at the company’s corporate governance model (including investor base and board composition), consider the ethical obligations and conduct of the lawyers and analyze Elizabeth’s Holmes’ leadership using Frances Frei and Anne Morriss’ “leadership trust triangle.” Particular attention will be given startup culture, the cult of the founder and our own sense of ethical lawyering in challenging circumstances. This course should be particularly interesting to students planning to practice in the emerging companies/venture capital space and for anyone interested in serving as corporate counsel.

Prerequisite: Business Associations.

The class will meet in [eight, 85-minute sessions, weekly starting on August 25 and ending on October 13, on Tuesdays from 10:55am to 12:20pm.] Three short reflection papers will be required. No exam or long paper is required.

Special Notes:

Theranos: Leadership, Corporate Governance and Ethics

Fall 2021

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Reflective Writing
Class participation
Erika J.S. Buell
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.611.35.F21
Email list: LAW.611.35.F21@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Requirements - LLM-ICL
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice
Course Areas of Practice