Sam Bankman-Fried messed up a lot of lives when his crypto exchange FTX collapsed. He lost billions of dollars belonging to customers who deposited their savings with FTX, caused the bankruptcy of at least two other crypto firms, and left hundreds of his own employees jobless. Now, the damage appears to have spread to his parents, both of whom have been scrubbed from Stanford University Law School offerings next semester, where they were longtime and influential professors.
Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried won’t be teaching at the prestigious school in the coming term, according to The Stanford Daily. For Bankman, that means that the single tax-policy class he was teaching in the winter is canceled. Fried told the student paper that it was because of a “long-planned” retirement, which has “nothing to do with anything else going on.” The change in plans marks a pretty stark reversal of fortunes for the family. Sam Bankman-Fried was, in many ways, a product of the Stanford Law School, even though he wasn’t a graduate. As my colleague Liz Weill reported, he and his brother, Gabe, used to play in their parents’ offices as children.
SBF’s parents have been, by his own account, a part of the rise of FTX and his own personal story. Not only were they politically influential in Democratic circles; Bankman wrote books on start-ups in Silicon Valley. Recently, a $16.4 million Bahamian vacation home in their name has come under scrutiny as investigators try to figure out where the money has gone. “They may have stayed there while working with the company sometime over the last year,” Bankman-Fried told the New York Times.
Since the collapse of FTX, SBF said that he had reached out to his parents as his companies crumbled, but he has been formally advised by a carousel of other lawyers, including another Stanford Law professor, David Mills. He’s lost his representation from a small handful of other law firms, including Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and his previous attorney, Martin Flumembaum, according to CoinDesk.
I reached out to the school to get its take on this but haven’t heard back. It’s entirely possible they could come back and teach again some time after this semester. It would definitely be in line with the ethos that Fried, Sam’s mother, had advocated before, when she argued that it’s time for the law to “move past blame.”