How and Why Did it Go So Wrong?: Theranos as a Legal Ethics Case Study
The Theranos saga encompasses many discrete areas of law. Reporting on Theranos, most notably John Carreyrou's Bad Blood, highlights the questionable ethical decisions that many of the attorneys involved made. The lessons attorneys and law students can learn from Bad Blood are highly complex. The Theranos story touches on multiple areas of professional responsibility, including competence, diligence, candor, conflicts, and liability. Thus, Theranos serves as a helpful tool to explore the limits of ethical lawyering for Professional Responsibility students. This Article discusses the author's experience with using Bad Blood as an extended case study in a new course on Legal Ethics in Contemporary Practice. It begins by discussing the pedagogical justifications for including Theranos in the course and the unanticipated ways in which Bad Blood highlighted particular topics and questions. The Article then describes student reactions to using Bad Blood as a primary text to communicate ethical principles in legal practice and the strengths and weaknesses of doing so. It concludes by contextualizing the use of Theranos as a case study in the larger history of other uses of popular texts in legal education and what lessons other instructors might take from using such case studies.