This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Judy Feigin, and the interviewee
is Robert Kopp. The interview took place at the home of Robert Kopp in Bethesda, Maryland on
Thursday, July 18, 2013. This is the first interview.
MS. FEIGIN: Good afternoon.
MR. KOPP: Good afternoon.
MS. FEIGIN: You have an amazing career, and you have an amazing family history, so I want
to start with the family to put you in context. Let’s establish where and when you
were born and then we’ll move back to the family.
MR. KOPP: I was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1941, on November 29.
MS. FEIGIN: A week before Pearl Harbor.
MR. KOPP: A week before Pearl Harbor.
MS. FEIGIN: I’d like to go back as far as you know your family history, and since yours is
complex, I think we’d better keep the strands separate, so which side would you
like to start with?
MR. KOPP: Why don’t we start with my father’s?
MS. FEIGIN: Okay. Let’s do that. How far back do you know your father’s family?
MR. KOPP: At the end of the 19th century, my grandfather Harold Kopp and his brother
emigrated from I guess it was Lithuania to the United States, and they started their
American life in New York.
MS. FEIGIN: Were they educated people?
MR. KOPP: They seemed to have acquired from their parents a very strong respect for the
value of education, and although Harold and his brother were very poor when
they came to America, they saw education as the key to advancement in the
United States. Harold enrolled in a pharmacy school, and he got a degree in
pharmacy, and started off operating drugstores at several sites in New York. He
also was ambitious enough to enroll in Brooklyn Law School, although that never
seemed to work out because he didn’t graduate. His brother Shepard also had
respect for the value of education, and he went to pharmacy school, and for
decades thereafter ran one or more drugstores. Both of them had this great
respect for education which meant that their children got great support from them
in their own educational endeavors.
MS. FEIGIN: Was there a tradition in the family where your grandfather was expected to
become a pharmacist, or was there something else the family had him destined
MR. KOPP: Harold and Shepard were basically on their own when they came to the
United States. I think pharmacy schools were a way to get a start in this country
if you had a certain level of aptitude, and that was the path they took.
MS. FEIGIN: He became a pharmacist, and how did the family grow.
MR. KOPP: Harold married Frances Burger in 1908, and she’s my grandmother. Frances had
a father who had grown up in Russia, and her father felt particularly strongly
about the value of an education. The father’s parents had stressed to him how
important it was to be educated so that you could become a rabbi. Frances’s
father was not very religious at all, and he didn’t want to become a rabbi, but he
did take it to heart about the importance of becoming educated, and he passed that
desire on to his children. So Frances grew up with a very strong appreciation of
the value of education. She was living in Brooklyn, and when she graduated from
high school, she wanted to go to a normal school, which was preparation for
becoming a teacher.
MS. FEIGIN: “Normal” being a proper noun. You don’t mean that as just a regular school.
MR. KOPP: Normal school is what it was called. Normal schools were schools for teachers.
She applied to normal school, but she was turned down because in her high school
she had not taken the courses that the normal school required. So she then went
uptown a few blocks and applied to Barnard College, and she got in. At Barnard,
she did very well. She was near the top of her class. After graduation, she went
into teaching and she taught for about a year. Then she married Harold, and the
school’s policy at that time was that if a teacher married, she had to stop teaching.
MS. FEIGIN: Incredible. But before we get to her teaching, or her lack of teaching, maybe we
should say for people down the road reading this that Barnard was, and still is, a
sister school to Columbia, part of Columbia University, and in those days – hard
for this generation to believe – women could not go to the Ivy League schools.
Women could not go to Columbia. So there was a chain of what they called the
Seven Sister schools, Barnard being one of them, for women who wanted an
academic career, a good education, and couldn’t apply to the Ivies.
MR. KOPP: That’s right.
MS. FEIGIN: What was her husband doing when she got married?
MR. KOPP: He was a pharmacist.
MS. FEIGIN: Still a pharmacist. So she gave up teaching, and what happened to her? What did
she do?
MR. KOPP: Let me tell you a little bit about Frances’s side of the family. Her mother was
Sonia Sarah Schenck Burger. Sonia was part of a family that had produced nine
children, so she was one of the nine. This was the Schenck family. Several of the
brothers in the Schenck family in New York decided to go into the amusement
industry there.
MS. FEIGIN: What does “amusement” mean?
MR. KOPP: I think running amusement parks. I’m not totally sure what it is. I picked this up
from some reading that I did. I got the idea that it basically was amusement parks
and the like. These amusement parks were closely connected with the
entertainment business in New York. I gather they provided entertainers for the
parks and things like that. So they developed very close ties with the
entertainment business. At that time, movies were just starting to become
significant, and so knowing actors and people like that, they got into the movie
business. Several of the Schenck brothers, Joseph and Nicholas, gravitated to
Hollywood as a result, and they became the leaders of the movie industry in
Hollywood. They ran MGM during the Depression, and Joseph was heavily
involved in 20th Century Fox.
It wasn’t exactly a joy ride; there were a lot of ups and downs in terms of
their business. They were both brilliant. On the other hand, they never figured
out that television was going to be a significant industry and in the 1950s or so,
when they were elderly, their influence faded quickly. But in their heyday, they
were at the apex of Hollywood and were extraordinarily wealthy. I understand a
good portion of their wealth went down with the Depression, but by normal
people’s standards, they remained very well-to-do.
In the 1920s, my grandmother’s part of the family also moved to California
and settled in Los Angeles. Frances there obtained a job as a reader for MGM
and that meant that she would read a book and write it up and evaluate it in terms
of its potential for a movie. She got paid $5 a book. She loved reading, and she
continued in that job until she eventually retired herself when she reached the age
of 65.
MS. FEIGIN: Do you know whether anything she ever read she suggested they turn into a
movie that then became a blockbuster?
MR. KOPP: I think there may have been one or two, but I don’t know. She read thousands of
books. I know most of them were books that neither you nor I, nor anybody else,
would find interesting. I think she tried to read books that were brand new, so I
suspect the number that were worth reading was a small percentage of them.
Her husband, Harold, who had been a pharmacist in New York, was not a
great businessman, and I think didn’t have that close a relationship with the
Schenck family, but the Schenck family at least felt some obligation toward their
less-fortunate relatives and they gave him a job as a manager of a movie theater
on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, which he operated I think until close to his
death in 1947.
MS. FEIGIN: Did you know both of these grandparents?
MR. KOPP: Yes. I was very close to my grandmother, who lived to be 92. I also knew
Harold, and I actually have memories of Harold because – I must have been 5 or
so – I remember him telling me stories about what life was like in Russia. They
were benign stories, the type of stories you would tell to a child, and I was
MS. FEIGIN: So not about pogroms.
MR. KOPP: Not about pogroms.
MS. FEIGIN: Anything worth sharing about life in Russia that this generation would find
MR. KOPP: No, because I can’t quite tell with the passage of time whether what he told me
bore resemblance to what really happened or whether it was more like telling me
stories like Peter and the Wolf. But that is one of my earliest memories, his
telling me these stories. I did know my great-grandmother, Sonia, and she must
have lived to be close to 100 or so. I just remember her as a very old lady living
with my grandmother, and she would read newspapers in Yiddish, although she
did speak English. My memory of her is basically of somebody extremely old.
She must have at that point not been terribly communicative. Like with my
grandfather, I don’t have that level of memory.
MS. FEIGIN: So they’re out in California.
MR. KOPP: Harold and Frances had two children. One was my father, Robert, but whom
everybody called Bob. To avoid confusion because all the recent males in our
family seem to be called Bob or Robert, we’ll call him Bob because that’s what
everybody else called him. Bob had a younger sister, Hermione. Both of them
were absolutely brilliant. Now before Harold and Frances came to Los Angeles,
they lived in Syracuse for a while.
MS. FEIGIN: Syracuse, New York?
MR. KOPP: Yes. They grew up in Syracuse, and Harold and Frances sent my father, Bob, to
Columbia College to be educated and then to Harvard Law School where he was
on the Law Review. He was apparently somebody who was very comfortable in
that environment. He told lots of jokes, including sometimes jokes in class in
response to his professors. At one point I think Professor Byce said something
trying to illustrate a point, and my father, who was getting all excited as the
answer was spelled out, said, “That’s nice, Professor Byce” (laughter). He had a
sort of pleasant naiveté about him which almost everybody who met him loved.
MS. FEIGIN: Before we get onto your father’s career, do you know from your dad what
Columbia or Harvard were like in those days?
MR. KOPP: My other dad was able to pass that down to me more. I think one of the things
looking back that I sort of feel very bad about is that my father talked all the time
when they had friends over at home about law school, and since I was a young
boy at the time, I didn’t even have an idea what law school was. I had heard what
college was, but I didn’t have a clue as to what a law school was, not to speak of
any appreciation of the stories that he was telling. Everybody agreed that he was
a great storyteller, so all those wonderful anecdotes sort of just passed me
completely by. My father was very famous among everyone who knew him for
his humor and his ability to describe all sorts of interesting and amusing incidents.
MS. FEIGIN: So he graduated from law school.
MR. KOPP: When he was at law school, he developed a friendship with a colleague on the
Law Review, and that colleague was Arnold Raum. Arnold was to become a
major force in my life, because when my father died in 1953, a few years later,
Arnold became my step-father, which we can talk about in a few minutes.
My father’s sister was Hermione, another lawyer in the family. The
extraordinary thing is that although everyone considered my father to be brilliant,
and Arnold to be brilliant, Arnold certainly thought that Hermione was the most
brilliant lawyer of them all. I suspect my father would have readily agreed if he
had lived.
Hermione was never slowed down in terms of anything she did in her life
by the fact that she was a woman. She went to law school. When she and her
husband were stationed in Washington during World War II, she went to George
Washington Law School, and then when they moved back to California, she
finished up at USC and became a great lawyer. Her specialty was trusts and
estates. She became very active in the California Bar Association, and there is an
oral history of her that the Bar made which is absolutely fascinating. So I think
one of the things that sort of influenced me growing up was that there were a
number of really extraordinarily brilliant people in the family, more intelligent
than I ever considered myself, and in hindsight, it probably gave me the ability to
feel comfortable with people who were much, much smarter than I was, and that
was very good preparation for the type of law practice that I was going to be
involved in many years down the road.
MS. FEIGIN: Tell us about the practice that your father set up.
MR. KOPP: My father graduated from Harvard Law School in 1934.
MS. FEIGIN: This was in the midst of the Depression, and they were financially secure enough
that he could pursue his education?
MR. KOPP: That’s right. He obtained a job in Los Angeles with the law firm of Loeb & Loeb,
which was a big Jewish law firm.
MS. FEIGIN: Perhaps we should explain why there had to be Jewish law firms.
MR. KOPP: The legal business at the time was very much divided on the basis of religion –
not to speak of race – which was sort of obvious to people of that era. Jews were
not wanted at most of the big-time law firms, so they went out and formed their
own law firms. Loeb & Loeb, as I understand it, was one of those firms in
Los Angeles. With Loeb & Loeb, my father’s work included handling their
accounts with the movie industry. In a few years, my father then moved from
Loeb & Loeb to the MGM legal department, and he worked directly on behalf of
that studio.
Now I guess we should back up at this point and talk about my mother
because her family and her brother come into play in terms of my father’s
development as a lawyer. So we’re now jumping to my mother’s side of the
family. My mother, Violet Gang, was somebody who also, like on my father’s
side, came from a Jewish family that strongly believed in the value of education.
Her father was Adolph Gang, and her mother was Fannie Kopper, which is sort of
an interesting coincidence considering that my mother married a man by the name
of Kopp. Kopp and Kopper were completely different families.
Adolph Gang and his wife Fannie Kopper both left Eastern Europe as
teenagers and came to this country before the turn of the century. I’m not sure
whether they married in the United States or before they came to the
United States, but they came here at the turn of the century, and they settled down
in Passaic, New Jersey, where Adolph operated a furniture store, and there the
family had six children. My mother was the youngest in the family. In the 1920s
– I’m not sure of the exact time, some time in the 1920s – they moved to
Los Angeles. My mother, who was born in 1912, spent much of her life growing
up and living in the Los Angeles area. Adolph lived until 1939. He died two
years before I was born, so I never knew him. However, from everything that
I’ve heard about him, he must have been an absolutely remarkable person. He
was a strong believer in the value of education. He believed that it was really
critical to getting on and surviving and advancing in the world. And he insisted
that all of his children – five girls and one boy – had to be educated to as high a
level as possible. His son, Martin Gang, received a very fine education. Martin
went to Harvard College. He got a PhD at Heidelberg in Germany. He then went
to Boalt Law School at Berkeley, and became a lawyer. Martin’s sisters were also
given a college education. My mother didn’t want to go to college in California
the way her sisters had. She wanted to go east and ended up at Wellesley.
MS. FEIGIN: We should add that Wellesley is another one of the Seven Sister Schools.
MR. KOPP: My mother’s father also not only was somebody who believed in education, he
was also a very smart businessman, and somewhere in his life he must have
earned enough money to carry out his ability to bring up his children with the type
of support that he gave them. In New Jersey he ran a furniture store, and then
when he moved to Los Angeles, he invested in real estate, and he made sure in his
will that each of his children, including all his daughters, would get a large
enough inheritance so that they could live comfortably after he died. He left a
house to each of his daughters because he felt that in this world, a woman needed
a solid source of income to be able to survive on her own. While his daughters
did marry, he was concerned that if they became widows, they would have the
need to support themselves, so he provided for them by giving them the minimum
base of a house that they could use and live in. Some of these houses were
apartment houses so they could rent them out and have a good source of income.
As I mentioned, I never knew Adolph, although to some extent, in a family
of very interesting people, he may well have been among the most interesting of
them all. I don’t know whether he had a formal education or whether he taught
himself, but he viewed himself as a writer with a knowledge of economics, and he
must have acquired his skills somewhere. He wrote a series of pamphlets on
economic topics, and this was during the Depression. He consolidated them all in
a little booklet of about 150 pages or so called Monetary Reform and Federal
Insurance. This was a book that he wrote which gave his thinking on the causes
of the Depression and his proposals for how to solve it.
MS. FEIGIN: Did he self-publish?
MR. KOPP: I don’t know whether it was self-published or not. It was in the Library of
Congress, and on the other hand, it wasn’t a big mass seller. I know my cousin,
George Melnick who lived in Los Angeles, about every ten years or so happened
to go to Washington, D.C., and he always made a point of going to the Library of
Congress and signing out the book (laughter) so that it was a matter of official
record that people were reading the book. I’ve browsed through the book, and it’s
basically Adolph’s thinking on the causes of the Depression and how to solve it.
He attacks the gold standard, planned economics, communism, fascism, and he
advocates a very broad version of social security. Adolph was not a shy person
apparently, and he sent a copy of his draft to some of the economists and leaders
in the country. He sent it to the Treasurer of the United States, the Chancellor of
the Exchequer, and recipients of the book seemed to have taken the book quite
MS. FEIGIN: The Chancellor of the Exchequer in England?
MR. KOPP: In England. John Maynard Keynes wrote him back a note that said, “With the
ideas underlying your central theme, I am in considerable sympathy.”
Roger Babson, who some of the people who are reading this may know, was the
founder of the Babson Institute in Boston, replied to Adolph, “I agree almost
100% with what you say in the first 50 pages of the book.” Now the book was
over 100 pages (laughter).
MS. FEIGIN: Either he didn’t read the rest or he didn’t agree with the rest (laughter).
MR. KOPP: Exactly. And looking at the book today, it sort of seems to be a combination of
the utopianism that was very common in California in the 1930s and some very
modern sensitivities where Adolph seems to hit upon the same things that are still
at the center of our thinking today. For instance, he writes, “Organized society
has become an institution chiefly for the making of laws and the protection of
privilege and has failed to afford the individual the security which his deepest
instincts demand.” He writes also in the book, “There should be compulsory life,
health, old age, fire and accident insurance.” So Adolph hit upon a lot of the
issues that we are grappling with today.
Now, returning to my mother. She graduated from Hollywood High
School, which was her local public high school in Los Angeles. As I mentioned
earlier, she did not want to go to college in California, and remarkably, her
parents consented to her desire to go to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. It
was quite extraordinary in 1930 for a West Coast girl to want to go east by herself
to college.
MS. FEIGIN: It was probably a trek to get there. No planes.
MR. KOPP: It was a trek to get there, and no planes. She would go either by train, or at least
on one occasion, she went by boat through the Panama Canal.
At Wellesley, she was assigned a roommate who was a brilliant girl only
14 years old, and that girl was Hermione Kopp, who was my father’s sister, the
daughter of Frances and Harold Kopp. My mother dated on occasion a nice
Harvard law student from Los Angeles, a gentleman called Louis Brown.
Hermione introduced my mother to Hermione’s brother, Bob Kopp. The
relationship developed only slowly, but after the women graduated, it turned out
that Hermione married Louis Brown, and my mother married Hermione’s brother,
Bob Kopp.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, my father went on after law school to practice
law in Los Angeles, and he also, by marrying my mother, became close to her
brother Martin Gang. Martin at this point becomes sort of a significant player in
my family’s history because Martin at one point was in the law firm of Loeb &
Loeb, which was the firm that my father also had been at. But Martin was
unhappy in Loeb & Loeb and decided to strike out on his own and set up his own
law firm in Hollywood, and he asked Bob Kopp to join him as a partner. So they
set up a law firm and then they picked up a third attorney, Norman Tyre. That
firm became known as Gang, Kopp and Tyre, and because of the fact that Loeb &
Loeb was a Hollywood law firm connected with the movie industry and the
Schenck family was obviously a part of the movie industry, both Martin and my
father had very strong Hollywood connections. They developed a very successful
business as Hollywood lawyers and represented some of the very top Hollywood
stars and writers at the time – people like Bob Hope, Gene Autry, Marilyn
Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and many other people at that level. And the firm
itself is still in existence and it’s thriving today. It’s now called Gang, Tyre,
Ramer and Brown, with the Brown in the firm being Hermione Brown’s youngest
son, Harold.
MS. FEIGIN: I can’t let you go on to the law without interrupting here and asking whether you
yourself know, either through your family or your memory, do you have
memories of these stars that would be interesting to share with us.
MR. KOPP: This gets to the point where I was told all these wonderful stories that went in one
ear and out the other (laughter). What was remarkable about one aspect of my
growing up is how little of what went on in certain environments sank in. I never
really knew these big stars. There was a famous writer, Robert Ardrey, who lived
on the same street we lived on, about three or four houses away, so I knew he was
a good friend of my parents and had written books. But that was basically the
extent of it. And I’m sure also I was introduced to some of these movie people,
but to a boy growing up, 10, 12 years old, none of this made much of an
MS. FEIGIN: But Gene Autry was a cowboy! (laughter)
MR. KOPP: I know, but there were just some parts of my environment that I just wasn’t
interested in. In hindsight, there were all sorts of interesting things that I missed.
But as I said, Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown is today an extraordinarily
successful law firm, and for lawyers who are in private practice and reading this,
they may be interested in knowing that one of the things that Martin Gang felt
was essential and that the firm has carried on was that the size of the law firm
must be limited. As I understand it, the law firm has always kept itself to under
15 attorneys. That’s a very interesting fact about this law firm which sort of
seems like an anachronism today. But I guess if you have the right clients, it
doesn’t matter.
MS. FEIGIN: We should probably talk a little more about Martin Gang because he became
pretty well known as a lawyer himself.
MR. KOPP: Martin was a very significant Hollywood lawyer. As I mentioned, he represented
a lot of the Hollywood stars, and he also became a center of quite a bit of
controversy himself during the McCarthy Era. He was a lawyer who believed that
his duty was to represent his clients’ interests. During the McCarthy Era,
Hollywood was one of the central points of attack by people like McCarthy. The
movie industry was very much on the defensive. They were very frightened of
the McCarthy Committee, which developed a blacklist of people who were
accused by the McCarthy Committee of being communists or communist
sympathizers. They couldn’t get work in Hollywood, and a lot of actors and
writers were scared to death of the McCarthy Committee, and the Committee kept
its focus on Hollywood which made life very unpleasant.
People in Hollywood without any communist sympathies at all found
themselves on the blacklist. It was an era that, looking back at it, was one of the
low points in American history. So my uncle Martin Gang was there with a
clientele consisting of actors and writers who were being made uncomfortable and
called as witnesses before the McCarthy Committee, and Martin Gang’s approach
to his job was to represent the people that came to him. He would ask his clients,
“Well, did you do anything wrong?” and they would say “No,” and he would say,
“Well you should go before the Committee and tell the truth.” And so he advised
them to go and testify, and he said since you didn’t do anything wrong, you
shouldn’t take the Fifth Amendment. Well this, in fact, became a very
controversial thing in Hollywood because by telling the truth and not taking the
Fifth Amendment, a good number of these people ended up naming names and
answering questions the Committee asked them. This made the Committee’s net
in terms of people it was interested in wider and wider. So Martin’s practice
became very controversial within Hollywood. But he viewed himself as doing
what a good lawyer would do when taking his client’s interests to heart and giving
them the representation they deserved.
People who didn’t want that style of representation went to other lawyers.
So he became known as sort of the person that you go to if you were going to
simply go there and answer the Committee’s questions. I’m sure that with time
Martin knew that what he was doing was quite controversial, but that didn’t
bother him. There’s an anecdote told in several places that at one point he went to
some party in Hollywood, and there were 20 or 30 people in the room, actors and
writers, and he went into the room and looked about him, and he said to his host,
“I got every one of those sons of a bitches off” (laughter). So that was my uncle
Martin at that stage in the development of his law practice.
MS. FEIGIN: That jumped ahead to the McCarthy Era. What happened to the law firm during
World War II?
MR. KOPP: The war, of course, interrupted everybody’s life, and as we discussed earlier, I
was born in 1941, November 29 to be exact, and for the adults in the world, and
particularly Jewish adults at the time, 1940-1941 were horrible and terrifying
years, even if you lived in the United States. In 1940, my aunt Hermione Brown,
who I have mentioned, had a baby boy, my cousin Larry, and Hermione, in the
oral history she gave to the California Bar, relates that when her father,
Harold Kopp, learned that she was pregnant, he became terribly upset, and he
didn’t talk to her for nine months, because he felt that it was absolutely wrong,
with Hitler in power and all the awful things that were happening in Europe, it
was just wrong to be bringing a child into the world. By the time I was born on
November 29, 1941, apparently he had calmed down somewhat because there are
no stories with respect to his being unhappy with my being born, and in fact,
during much of the war years, my mother and I ended up living with my
grandfather and my grandmother Frances, and they provided a loving home to the
two of us.
Meanwhile, with the coming of the war, my step-father was working in the
Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and by that time, he was a Deputy
Solicitor General. In fact, he was the Deputy Solicitor General, and on Sunday,
December 7, 1941, as he often did, he was working over the weekend and was
alone in his office. Apparently he was the highest-ranking person in the
Department of Justice building that day, and he got a phone call. It was from an
admiral in the Navy who asked to speak to the Attorney General, and my stepfather said that the Attorney General wasn’t there and that he was the top official
in the building at the time, was there a message he could take, and the admiral
said, “Yes. Please tell the Attorney General that the nation is at war.”
MS. FEIGIN: Unbelievable. People down the road will not, I think, be able to comprehend that
there was no way to access somebody other than at his desk (laughter). Just to
make this clear in terms of your history, at this point he was not your step-father.
MR. KOPP: No, he was not my step-father, and of course I was only eight days old.
MS. FEIGIN: I just don’t want to get that part of your life confused. So what happened to the
law firm and your dad during World War II?
MR. KOPP: The law firm continued, but my father joined the Army, or I guess what actually
today would be considered the Air Force, and the military sent him to be educated
at UCLA to be a weatherman. After he was taught how to study the weather, he
was assigned overseas and served in Greenland. That was at the time of the
Normandy invasion, and I have no idea whether he personally played a role or not
in terms of predicting the weather at the time of the Normandy invasion, but as I
understand it, places like Greenland were giving significant input into the decision
about the weather that was made at that time, and so I like to think that he was
involved in the judgment decisions that were made in evaluating the weather and
Eisenhower’s decision as to whether the Normandy invasion should go ahead or
not. It’s one of those things I’ll never know, whether he had a personal role or
not. He really didn’t talk much about the war after he returned, and probably
given how I missed so many important stories, I probably wouldn’t have
remembered had he discussed it.
In any event, after the war, he returned to the practice of law and to the
firm of Gang, Kopp and Tyre, and for a few years before he got sick, he was a
critical part of that law firm. I remember that they were located at Hollywood and
Vine. Part of the reason I remember that is that when I had to get braces, there
was a dentist located in the same building at Hollywood and Vine.
MS. FEIGIN: We should probably say, because this may not be true down the road, that that
was the key corner in Hollywood.
MR. KOPP: Hollywood and Vine became the symbol of Hollywood. I do remember a couple
of times visiting the law firm. I think my dentist’s office was on the 12th floor and
I sort of remember the law firm was probably on the 7th floor, and I do remember
that there were books strewn all over the place and it was sort of a mess
(laughter). At some point at that time, another partner joined the law firm –
Hermione Brown, who was my father’s sister. Hermione in her own oral history
writes that her joining the law firm actually created a mini family crisis for her
because her husband, Louis, was a lawyer in a significant law firm, and when his
law firm heard that she was going to become a practicing lawyer in another law
firm, they said, “Well, if she’s going to practice law, then you can’t be in our law
firm.” So Hermione’s husband Louis said, “Well then that’s fine. I’m leaving.”
Hermione joined the firm that became Gang, Tyre, and Brown, and her husband
Louis moved over to a different firm, Irell and Manella.
MS. FEIGIN: That’s one, I think, we’ll find of many examples of feminism in your family
history, leading all the way through to you. But that is to come. Do you want to
continue at this point, or is this a good point to break?
MR. KOPP: We’re about half-way.
MS. FEIGIN: Half-way to the beginning of your career? Okay, we’ll finish this part of the
family history next time and then move on to how you continued on to the family
business of law. Thank you very much.
MR. KOPP: Thank you. This was fun.