On Demand Audio

The Big Short Explained: Legal Reasoning and Repercussions

(1030 reviews)

Produced on February 18, 2016

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$ 89 Business, Corporate, & Securities Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 91 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Did you enjoy the book or film The Big Short but have trouble keeping up with all of the acronyms and financial and legal lingo? Were you captivated by the movie’s suspense but not always entirely certain what was going on? Were you wondering where all the lawyers were?


While, sadly, neither Anthony Bourdain nor Selena Gomez is available, attorney Gary J. Ross of Jackson Ross PLLC is on hand to break down the layers of mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, tranches and synthetic derivatives, and help participants better understand these complex financial instruments and their role in bringing about the financial crisis of 2007-08. Gary also analyzes the laws governing securitization and structured finance transactions, as well as the role of lawyers in facilitating these deals. Gary concludes with a discussion of the laws passed in the wake of the financial crisis that attempt to prevent its recurrence.


Learning Objectives:

I.     Recognize acronyms for various financial instruments

II.    Grasp the basics of how these instruments work

III.   Understand the role of these instruments in the collapse of the housing market

IV.   Identify the laws governing securitization and the role of lawyers

V.    Comprehend laws that were created in the aftermath of the financial crisis and why they were created 

Credit Information

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Gary J. Ross

Ross Law Group, PLLC

Gary J. Ross advises venture capital funds, angel investors, and emerging growth companies a variety of transactional, disclosure, corporate governance and compliance matters. He founded Ross Law Group, PLLC in 2017, a boutique law firm that focuses on corporate and securities law, investment funds, and startup law. Gary previously worked at Jackson Ross, another firm that he founded, for four years, and previous to that he worked in the Corporate Transactions & Securities and Capital Markets practice groups at Sidley Austin LLP and Alston & Bird LLP. 

From 2009 to 2012, Gary served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he managed conflicts of interest issues pertaining to contractors and financial agents engaged by Treasury to provide asset management, advisory, and other services relating to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). In that capacity, he developed and recommended compliance standards and regulation interpretation guidelines and designed the on-site testing carried out by the TARP audit department, during which he served as the subject matter specialist. He also helped draft the federal regulation for conflicts of interests as they pertained to TARP, and prepared the official conflicts of interest responses to Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) inquiries. 

Mr. Ross is an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and Seton Hall Law School and has lectured at schools such as Penn State Dickinson Law. He has been quoted in articles in MarketWatch, Corporate Counsel, The New York Times and the Associated Press.

Gary received his J.D. from Northwestern Law School in 2004 and earned a B.B.A. from the University of Miami in 1994. Prior to attending law school, Gary worked as a Case Manager for the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Gary is admitted to practice law in New York, the District of Columbia, and Georgia.

(Website www.rosslawgroup.co)


Linda L.

Very interesting - important information, but complicated, and should probably watch again. Will watch "The Big Short" again and, hopefully can get a better understanding.

George M.

Complex subject explained in a very clear and interesting way.

Jamey B.

Good background and clear description of events and remedies made.

John K.

Great review of the mortgage crisis and interesting presentation style.

Brant M.

I thought Gary did a very good job of presenting complex subject matter in a cursory but not oversimplified manner. I appreciated his candor regarding his lack of understanding of the economics and risks of the underlying investments but I also found that a bit scary.

Joseph M.

Best CLE I have viewed.

Richard K.

Good program. Only critique would be to include more discussion of efforts to rein in risky loans at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the mid-2000's.

Paul A.

All I can say is wow - well presented, and hoping attorneys like Mr. Ross can help prevent a recurrence. Makes me want to see the movie; well done!

Ron V.

Interesting topic. Good explanation of the instruments that served as the basis for the financial crisis.

Catherine H.

Great explanation of tranches.

Elizabeth P.

very interesting subject matter

Russ R.

Using the movie to drive the lecture was a great idea. Good presentation.

Lizzy S.

great information for someone outside of this field. Very interesting content and relation to modern day movies etc

Eric S.

Excellent and knowledgable.

connie m.

Excellent presentation. Speaker was very prepared and knowledgeable.

Cynthia W.

The Trifecta - interesting, informative, and educational.

F. Kim C.

Really good

Hugh M.

excellent let me know what other courses ross has , it was sufficiently interesting it went fast

Jennifer L.

I really like the analysis of the movie in the scope of explaining the financial crisis.

Elizabeth F.

knowledgeable speaker and interesting to work it around the book/movie; a topic many won't admit they don't fully understand!

Tina T.

This was interesting even though I don't practice in this area.

William M.

Good presentation.

Michael M.

This was a fun one to listen to...

Lawrence R.


Craig S.

Excellent speaker and presentation.

Adam S.

Educational and entertaining.

Robert S.

Highly recommend Lays out crises in lay terms. Thank you

Kenneth C.

Very good overall.


a very nice synopsis

Nytasha T.

I liked the book/movie connection made it more interesting with good point of reference

Paul E.

Most interesting CLE I have taken!

Paul B.

Very timely. Interesting topic.

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