A Conversation with Distinguished Professor Martin

Meet the People of Zarb: Cypres Family Distinguished Professor Susan L. Martin

[Note: This is one in a series of posts to highlight the people who contribute to making the Zarb School of Business a special place.]

Here is our Q&A with Professor Martin, one of the Zarb School’s distinguished professors.

  • Could you describe your educational, academic, and professional background.

I graduated from Barnard College and the Hofstra Law School where I was research editor of the Hofstra Law Review.

I practiced law on Long Island before I started teaching at Hofstra in 1988.

  • What are your major areas of teaching and research interest?

I teach the introductory Legal Studies in Business course and a course in Contracts.

My current research is about compliance and a culture of integrity in businesses. I’ve published articles about life settlements, litigation financing, siting of cell phone towers and windmills, direct shipping of wine, and insider trading.

The journals in which I have published include the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law and the Hofstra Law Review

  • What is your philosophy with regard to the three major goals for ZSOB faculty: teaching, research, and service?

Teaching philosophy: “A teacher affects eternity; [s]he can never tell, where h[er] influence stops.” (Henry Brooks Adams, 1907).

I have three main purposes in teaching Legal Studies to business students:  (1) helping students learn about business-related law so that they will recognize the legal implications of their business decisions; (2) giving students the confidence and knowledge that will facilitate useful relationships with their legal counsel; and (3) contributing to students’ becoming generally well-educated businesspeople.

It may be somewhat grandiose, but ultimately what I hope happens as a result of my teaching is that twenty years hence, my former students will be going about their work or reading the newspaper, and they will come upon something that leads them to say to themselves, “I know about that because I learned it in my Legal Studies class at Hofstra.”  I teach for the long haul:  that means students acquire a genuine understanding about fundamental principles and a method for finding out the unknown details.

Research and service philosophy: I admit that I do what interests me. There are so many opportunities for research and service at Hofstra that I can make a contribution to the University and to my discipline by undertaking activities that I really like to do.

  • Please describe some of your accomplishments while at the Zarb School.

As Director of the Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence, I had the opportunity to mentor many new faculty members at Hofstra and to help experienced faculty discover University resources for their teaching and research.

I wrote the report for my department’s first AACSB accreditation. Even today, only five other institutions in New York have AACSB accreditation in Accounting. 

I have won many awards for presentations I have made at regional and international academic conferences. My articles have been cited in many court opinions including one by Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

  • How have you seen the Zarb School change over the years?

The most important change for me personally has been having the Legal Studies in Business discipline go from 2 or 3 “service” courses to successful major and minor programs with a wide variety of course offerings.  This change has provided many opportunities for students that did not exist before.

  • What is something most people don’t know about you?

 I have fished for small mouth and large mouth bass and pike in Maine lakes, halibut and salmon in Alaska, and trout in Chile.

  • Any final thoughts?

Students sometimes ask me, “If you’re a lawyer, why are you teaching?” I tell them,”Because teaching is fun and practicing law full-time is not.” They think I’m kidding, but I’m not.


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