Roger Zuckerman Second Interview: January 13, 2014Dawn Bellinger2022-05-23T16:10:00-04:00
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24 ORAL HISTORY OF ROGER E. ZUCKERMAN Second Interview January 13, 2014 This is the second interview of the oral history of Roger Zuckerman as part of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Gene Granof. The interview took place in Mr. Zuckerman’s office at the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder in the District of Columbia on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. Granof: Okay, I think just to go along back on the record here, I think last time we talked about your college career which you, I think, described as not particularly spectacular, but I thought it was more spectacular than you characterized it. But at some point you decided you wanted to go to law school. Zuckerman: Yes. I would say my college career was notable for the high grades I got and the extracurricular activities I engaged in. And in a sense I’m reprising a little bit the college aspect of this that I found myself as a student. I was a good, but not unusually able, student in high school, but I was an exceptionally studious and responsible student in college, and it made a great difference in my life. I graduated from Wisconsin in the early summer of 1964 and had been accepted to Harvard and Chicago and wait-listed at Yale, and picked Harvard and then spent the summer of 1964 in a job that actually served me well in my later years. I was a process server in San Francisco and learned the basics of tracking people down and serving them with legal papers – and in perhaps an understandable and perhaps an odd way – the lengths to which people would go to avoid service. And they were people of all stripes – regular, legitimate, suit-and-tie-wearing, business people. I would appear at their door and announce myself as a process server, ask for Mr. Wilson or Mr. Jones. I would be told with a great deal of sincerity that they weren’t home and then just hang around and see them leave the house an hour or two thereafter. It was extraordinarily surprising to me. Many a service I accomplished by the triedand-true method of flipping the legal paper at the unwilling recipient. The law then being, or at least as I understood it as a 21-year-old kid, that if you 25 effected service, and the person understood it was a legal paper, and declined to take it, that constituted service. So, I would say, “This is for you.” They would hold their hands up, I would say, “Here – Boink, ” try to hit him with it, “You’re served,” go back to the office, fill out my affidavit that I had accomplished service and go on to my next task. The only bad feature of the job really, I think we got paid something like, I’m guessing, two bucks a job or something and the amount of shoe leather that was required to track these people down, give them their papers and the like was such that the job was not very remunerative. Granof: I want to ask you why you decided to become a lawyer, but this summer job – before I get to that – this is interesting. How did you happen to get a job? How did you end up in San Francisco? Zuckerman: The trips that kids now take in between is the off-year trip or the summer trip following graduation. Back in those days the trips then were much more modest. I didn’t go to Europe. I went to San Francisco to see the world. Nowadays, kids take off six months or a year and they’ll slog around Europe. But I went there and I knocked on doors. I actually remember the name. I actually had the card, ABC Legal Process, was what it was called, and I supported myself modestly for a couple of months in San Francisco as a process server. It was interesting and eye-opening. Granof: Had you been to San Francisco before? Zuckerman: I think it was probably the first time I had seen the city. It was absolutely breathtaking, beautiful. But for the fact that I had and have so many of my family on the East Coast, I think I would have considered relocating to San Francisco after law school. But it made no sense. Granof: I can sympathize with that. I had exactly the same reaction when I first saw San Francisco. 26 Zuckerman: I came back from San Francisco and without making this memoir too personal, I will reflect a bit on my physical and my medical condition. Because it’s really part of my life, if not directly part of my career. But I came back from San Francisco in the late summer of 1964 and had developed an inflammatory bowel condition that was diagnosed as ulcerative colitis, which is not an unserious – could be an immunosuppressive disorder or could be an ulcerative condition – but not an unserious thing. It was something that I dealt with from the summer of my 21st year, probably until I was in my early thirties. I had it and was hospitalized twice for it in law school. And I had it as a young prosecutor and a trial attorney and the like. I have been symptom-free and basically cured probably for forty years. But it’s a daunting thing for a young fellow to have and a daunting thing for a trial lawyer to have because the principal symptom of the disease is that you frequently get diarrhea and you have to run to the bathroom. Although I was on medication in law school and I was on medication in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it was an extraordinary thing to have when you were in court trying cases to a jury. I think the condition and a lot of the symptoms were essentially mental. You’re almost phobic. I was always pleased that it never ever bothered me when I was in court. Never bothered me when I was trying a case. But I knew every bathroom between Van Ness North, where Irene and I moved after law school, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It’s the nature of the disease. You get on the bus and all of a sudden you have to go to the bathroom, you get off, find a gas station, go to the bathroom, and get back on the bus. Sometimes you get off the bus again. It’s an extraordinary thing. Granof: I have heard that stress plays a role in that disease. You would know more about that than I would. Is stress a problem? Zuckerman: I don’t know. I truly don’t know. As I say, the psychology of it – the way in which your brain reacts to it – is probably a big part of the symptoms, if not the disease. When you get anxious, you begin looking for a bathroom. But somehow I got myself to a point where I understood, perhaps subconsciously, 27 Rog, “You’re in court now, grow up and try your case and stop worrying about this stuff.” I had a lot of hard trials and a lot of long trials, and it never ever bothered me when I was in the courtroom. Granof: But, you must have had a tremendous amount of self-confidence with that kind of medical problem which you knew could disrupt trying cases and interviews with witnesses, and nonetheless to say I want to be a trial lawyer. Zuckerman: You know, Gene, when we’re looking back from the perspective of forty or fifty years, my reaction is what choice did I have? Granof: You could have been an estates lawyer. Zuckerman: No, I had – we’ll get back to that but I’ll tell you how my career unfolded. I never felt that it was defining in that sense and always felt that, by hook or crook, I would deal with it and live the kind of life I felt I wanted to live. Granof: But since we’re on the medical – the idea that you were cured after ten years. Zuckerman: Yes, it’s about ten. Granof: Do you have any reason for it? Zuckerman: Cured to the point where I must say where there is, in the colonoscopies I get now, there is no evidence of it and doctors will ask me if I may have been misdiagnosed. “Are you sure you had ulcerative colitis?” To which my response is, “you better believe I’m sure.” I have no idea. I think a lot of – in my case – a lot of it was, with the help of my wife, overcoming the anxiety that it caused and getting control of certain kind of emotion and calming myself. I was probably an early practitioner of some sort of biofeedback and got, I think, to become rather adept at utilizing biofeedback, and I think that made a difference. Granof: What do your doctors say about it? I guess you were seeing 28 gastroenterologists. Zuckerman: No, no I haven’t seen – Granof: No, but at the time? Zuckerman: At the time I went to the famed Irving Brick at Georgetown University. He was a dean of gastroenterology and at Georgetown – I’ll never forget that one of the early cases I argued was against his brother, Albert Brick, in the U.S. Court of Appeals. I thought there was something very appropriate about that. There isn’t a whole lot to say. I won’t give you the “super” graphic detail. There are a lot of hilarious stories. The meds I took and how I took them are really inappropriate for the D.C. Circuit Historical Society. Granof: But it’s important that this kind of disease, as I understand it, it can be progressive. Zuckerman: Yes, and it can lead to a lot of problems with your colon and worse. But I mean for whatever value there is for the few who would listen to this or read about this, it’s a circumstance that it is a part of my life and deserves mention because you can get through it and do what you have to do. Granof: That’s what I think is the interesting part. That’s why I asked you about it really, because it is a serious disease and certainly would have affected – normally, you would expect it could influence how you decide to practice law and what to decide to do. And the fact that you decided to work through it and ultimately it got better, got cured, is really quite a story. Zuckerman: It’s bizarre. I’m very lucky. Again, it’s a biofeedback response that I actually was taught by my wife, Irene, and I owe her a great deal for that. Irene was trained as an occupational therapist at Tufts. She has always been an extraordinary caregiver and figured out how she had to help me deal with my head and she got me to a place where I needed to be. 29 Granof: September of ’64? Zuckerman: September of ’64 and I continue a practice that was traditional in our family, at least for me. I packed my bags and took myself to Harvard. I had packed my bags and taken myself to Wisconsin each of the four previous years. Granof: But what made you decide to become a lawyer? Zuckerman: What made me decide to become a lawyer? My focus, perhaps characteristically, perhaps not. I was not focused on pursuing the career that my father had pursued. My father was a very able and extraordinarily smart civil engineer. A profession in which there is a right answer and a wrong answer. If you get the wrong answer the building comes down. If you get the right answer the building stands. In law there is often no right answer and no wrong answer and – Granof: As we find out in the first year. Zuckerman: Right. There is – without denigrating in any respect, and the Historical Society should forgive me for putting it this way – there is a lot of BS in law and a lot of sales and advocacy skill that is very different than the hard sciences. For whatever reason, I was more comfortable as an advocate and a speaker and a presenter than I was as a hard scientist. That’s one, and two, my aunt, Sydney Gold, was the one of the youngest lawyers admitted to the bar in the thirties (I’m guessing). She attended the Washington College of Law without having studied anywhere as an undergraduate. Became a lawyer, had a career working both for the government and for the Democratic National Committee. And she was a very significant influence on me. She was very interested in politics and I related to that and I enjoyed her political insights and enjoyed talking with her about that and felt much more comfortable in the world of politics and law and public service than I did in hard sciences. I have a couple of friends, young men with whom I went to school and grew up with, who became hard scientists or scientists at least. One became a physicist and one 30 became an economist, which, I suppose, is a soft science. I always felt that I was cut out for law. It seemed to have a romantic quality. When I was growing up in Montgomery County, I was a member of the Key Club, which is a public service organization for kids, high school students sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. I would go to the lunches as the student representative and was always taken with a man there, very dapper man named Plummer Shearin, who became the States Attorney in Montgomery County, and then, I think, became a judge. I don’t know that he was much more than a lawyer when I encountered him in high school and he cut the kind of figure that I thought was impressive. So, it’s a mix of those things. It fit my skill-set better. My aunt and my outlook seemed to me to draw – Granof: I believe you mentioned her last time and talked about her. When did you decide that you wanted to be a lawyer? Was it when you entered college, did you know that? Zuckerman: No. I would say I had gotten – I was a political science major and a philosophy minor, basically, and I had a peer group principally of young men at Wisconsin who were government majors. That’s where all of them were headed. So you were influenced in that respect as well. The idea is you would work hard and study hard and do the best you could do. You would take the LSATs and you would then go to law school. It was the career path that my peer group was on. I must say, and my modesty is not false modesty, that it was a lot easier in my recollection at that time to get into the so-called eastern law schools than it is today. It’s really striking how many of my friends ended up at Harvard or Yale or Columbia or Penn. I find it hard to believe that if we had gone through Wisconsin today, even if we had worked as hard as we worked back in the 60s, that the admissions to those schools would have come about in such volume. It was striking to me as I think back on it. Granof: So, you applied to schools and you get into Chicago, which is a fine law 31 school, and was a fine law school then. Zuckerman: I was a little miffed that I did not get into Yale. I was only wait-listed. But even at the time, Yale was very selective I suppose. My classmate at Wisconsin was Jeff Greenfield, who went on to fame as a really right-hand man to, I think, John Lindsay and then Robert Kennedy in the 70s, and then took on a career as a television commentator and the like, and he ended up at Yale. He did very well at Yale. He was the editor of the Wisconsin Daily Cardinal, the student newspaper. Granof: As between Harvard and Chicago. Zuckerman: Doesn’t sound good to put it this way, but Chicago was my safe school, I suppose you would say. Harvard seemed to me to be a better bet and a good choice. I showed up there (just having gotten ulcerative colitis) as one of eight students from Wisconsin out of a class of about 525 in the fall of 1964 and lived in the dorms. I had worked like a dog for four years. I was essentially a pretty competitive person, and I said I am going to basically work as hard as I can work as many hours in the day as I can work without driving myself nuts for at least the first year to see how I do. I took the standard array of courses: Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Contracts, and Torts. I was very fortunate. I had, I thought, very extraordinary professors, except for a visiting professor, who shall go unnamed, in my Torts class, whom I did not think the world of. I had Charles Fried, for example, for Criminal Law who went on to have a storied career, was the Solicitor General of the United States for a while. At the time he was teaching me Criminal Law he was probably 29. Granof: Who did you have for Property? Zuckerman: I had Casner for Property, A.J. Casner. I never dealt with him later, but I ran across either his son or grandson in later years, who was an attorney in of all places St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. I had David Shapiro for Contracts, he was probably 28. There were these extraordinary men, maybe 27 years old, 32 and I had Alan Dershowitz in my second year for a course on something like Law and Psychiatry. He was probably 27 or 28. But the three of them were these storied, young and brilliant young men. Granof: Who did you have for Civil Procedure? Zuckerman: Richard Hinckley Field, who at that time seemed like an old man. Granof: He wrote the textbook. Zuckerman: Yes, he seemed like an old man. He was probably 65. Probably five years younger than I am today. But they were just extraordinarily impactful personages to this impressionable kid who had come out of Triple A ball in Wisconsin, and now I was in Major League-95 mile-an-hour fast-pitch at Harvard. It was extraordinary and it was a year – by far and away – the most memorable of the three years that I had at the school. Granof: I think that’s true of most of us here. Zuckerman: It resembled “The Paper Chase,” not in the way so much people behaved, but in the sense of pressure that you felt you were under. Granof: Absolutely. Did you ever think you were going to flunk out? Zuckerman: No, no. Granof: Neither did I. We had all these bright people who had done very well in college and we all wanted to do well in law school. Zuckerman: Yes. It was highly competitive and I think one of the weird secrets of Harvard – maybe it’s not and I don’t know whether I’m revealing proprietary information – but I think it’s very hard to flunk out of law school there. I had a dorm friend who literally never went to class and never studied, who made it through. I think it’s pretty tough to flunk out. I studied very hard. I made good friends. I have a distinct recollection my first year – don’t know whether 33 it was the fall or the spring – but we played touch football outside the dorm, and one of the young fellows who was playing there was a guy who had come up to get his Masters in Tax. He had just finished, I think, a clerkship for United States District Court Judge Howard Corcoran in D.C. His name was Bob Bennett. I became friends with Bob several years later in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It always struck me as interesting that probably of many of our peer group – these people who came through the U.S. Attorney’s Office – became prosecutors and then trial lawyers – I ran across Bob before anyone. It was in late ’64 early ’65 when he was getting his Masters. Granof: You had mentioned “The Paper Chase,” I think, and I think you said it was competitive but – Zuckerman: No, I think people behaved themselves. Granof: That’s my sense. Zuckerman: People behaved themselves. I didn’t believe in study groups. I wasn’t in a study group. I believed in just doing my work and studying. It took me a while to acclimate myself to the Socratic method, which I have a lot of feelings about. I don’t particularly think it’s a good way to teach, or at least not for me. I spent four years at Wisconsin. Professors gave lectures and you thought about what they had to say. You studied and you parroted it back or dealt with it and tried to learn from it. The Socratic method was very hard for me to follow because I was often not sure of what exactly the point of the professor playing Socrates was, what the right answer was, what the point was, and – Granof: Isn’t that precisely why they do it because they want to convince you in first year that there is no right answer? Zuckerman: Could be. It could be. The class that I mentioned the visiting professor who taught me Torts, his Socratic style was something that I just could never grasp, and it was my last exam – I ended up with the lowest grade. Oddly, the class 34 where I ended up with the highest grade – High A – complete with a letter from the professor, was the class in which you got the right answer and the wrong answer and you couldn’t BS. And that was Property. And the way Casner taught Property – Professor Casner – taught Property was probably anachronistic and whatever. But there are in Property some rather strict rules. He must have spent three or four classes, at least, teaching common law conveyancing, which was a variant of symbolic logic. There is just a whole bunch of rules that you had to learn, but if you learned the rules, you could parse the way in which property was transferred way back when. You had “The Rule in Shelley’s Case” and you couldn’t skip a generation doing this and you had to do that. Then the test, in a bizarre way and in a way that bore no relation to anything useful in life, had a very significant component on common law conveyancing which is pointless but at least it’s something that I understood. I took a bunch of logic classes in college and I always thought it was a bizarre but very pleasurable, but did not add a lot to the sum total knowledge of the law that I got my first year. But it was a good year; I did well. I shared this with you, I think. I don’t want to put your class standing in but your class standing was much higher than mine. Granof: Well, I, it’s very serendipitous. After all, you had one exam at the end of the year. Zuckerman: Yes, but I was 104th which was about the top 19 percent and my dear high school buddy, who had been much smarter than I in high school by a lot and had gone on to become a Phi Beta Kappa at Oberlin, was 124th. So, I felt vindicated. Not so much that I’d come in a few spots higher, but at least I had shaped my brain to the point where I could look him in the eye and say I’m about where you are in life, at least in terms of how we performed at the first year of law school. Granof: I’m just curious. 35 Zuckerman: Out of 525 or so, the folks who were on law review you certainly remember, they were luminaries in the class. It’s like they were wearing crowns and the folks who were in the top 5 or 10 were extraordinary. You always remember the guy (there weren’t many women), but the guy who was Number 1 and Number 2 and Number 3, they were – Granof: They were very smart. Zuckerman: Very, very able, talented guys. Extraordinary. Women, there were 25. It was scandalous, although none of us at the time took it as such. The value of diversity was not a value that was celebrated in the 1960s. I remember going back to interview law students at Harvard for employment at the firm here, 20- 25 years later, and being just awestruck at the diversity of the class in every conceivable respect. It was like going to the UN to interview. I mean it was just an extraordinarily diverse place and they had done a wonderful job over a couple of decades in completely reforming the school. My second year was uneventful and my third year was not uneventful. It was eventful in an interesting way. My second year I took the standard array of courses – Granof: Tax? Zuckerman: Tax from the Dean. Granof: People who took it from Stan Surrey, he did not as I understand teach the Socratic method. He basically taught tax from the textbook. Zuckerman: Yes. Granof: Ernie Brown taught the Socratic method. I guess the Dean did, and I came away with the idea you can’t teach Tax, Estates and Trusts with the Socratic method. Zuckerman: Exactly. Exactly. Well, I had Griswold. I ran across him. I had two interactions with him outside of my class. First, I was hospitalized for a 36 couple of weeks at Georgetown Hospital with ulcerative colitis and my dad called the Dean to tell him I would not be able to take my mid-term exam or exams or whatever. The Dean was pretty decent about it and the Law School essentially, for at least a couple of my courses, just gave me my average at the time I went into the hospital, which was, by my account, okay. And the second interaction is I ran across Dean Griswold in the 80s or 90s after he had left Harvard, when he was “Of Counsel” to Jones Day. He was sitting by himself in a large room – it must have been at some legal convention or something – and I went up to him and as warmly as I could, introduced myself and said he looked well and I was pleased to see him and wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed his class in Tax in 1966 or 1967 or whatever. And he could have cared less. Granof: He was not known for social skills. Zuckerman: No, he was not at all either receptive or whatever. Maybe he had a bad day, but I didn’t get a lot of warmth out of that interaction. Granof: I think I had one interaction with him when he was at Jones Day and it was on the phone, pleasant and businesslike. It was not a bad experience. Zuckerman: My summer jobs deserve a bit of mention. I worked for a small law firm here on Farragut Square doing not much of anything after my first summer. It being a law firm buyer’s market in those days. As I recall, for the One Ls’ – that is, first year law students – a summer job, it was not the easiest of things to get. Granof: That’s right. They weren’t in those days hiring One Ls. Zuckerman: The One L summer job I recall was not easy. The Two L summer job I got was kind of odd and I need to preface it with some stuff. Granof: What law firm were you working for here? 37 Zuckerman: Sher & Harris. It’s about a three- or four-person law firm. They did some litigation and antitrust work. Bob Sher was the uncle of my college roommate, Mike Zola, and through Mike’s intervention, I was hired by Bob, to do what amounted to clerical work on a bunch of discovery that he had gotten in a civil antitrust lawsuit where he represented something like the Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority against a consortium of power providers or whatever. He had gotten a bunch of discovery and he had to start plowing through it. And this bright enough but green kid, who had finished a year at Harvard, was hired to try to make sense out of it which I’m sure I didn’t, but I tried. My second summer job was interesting, but again I preface it with the following. One of my second year roommates was Tom Northcote. He went to a mixer, met a woman whom he liked; she had a friend, and her friend was Irene d’Ancona. Through Tom and his friend, I was fixed up with Irene and met her on a blind date in front of the Harvard Coop on March 5, 1966, on our way to the theater right around the corner from the Coop. You may remember the Brattle Theatre. We went to see “The Man From Uncle” or one of “The Man From Uncle” shows. And then back to party some more at our apartment on Central Square. Granof: Well, I can picture Central Square. Zuckerman: Yes. It was basically love at first sight, I think, for the both of us. And we ended up getting married when I graduated law school. She was at Tufts studying occupational therapy. She graduated in June of 1967 as did I and we got married. Granof: That’s wonderful. So, you met her in ’66? Zuckerman: Toward the end of my second year. We went out together for about two or three months and then by coincidence, she had gotten a job at a hospital in Milwaukee as a training occupational therapist, and I had gotten a job with what was then the highest paying law firm in the country – I remember this – 38 for summer jobs. It was then called Foley, Sammond & Lardner and it paid $140 a week, the normal remuneration at the tony firms being $125 a week. So we got to spend the summer together by complete happenstance in Milwaukee. She had a very rewarding experience at her summer job. I did something that was sort of bizarre and reflecting on it, I can’t tell you why I did it. They asked me – they hired about twelve young men – what area do you want to be assigned to. This is at the end of my second law school year. I had not taken a course in trial law or litigation. They didn’t have those things, maybe they had them the third year, I don’t even remember them then. You just didn’t study litigation as a technique. You might join the voluntary defenders, I think that’s what they were called, and you got a chance to go to court. There may have been a trial practice class your third year taught by a practitioner, that’s what I’m thinking. But up through two years, I had none of that stuff. The Civil Procedure course that Richard Field taught didn’t exactly grab me and the Criminal Law class was very theoretical. It was actually a little bit like philosophy. I enjoyed it. So they asked me what I wanted to do at Foley and I said I really don’t have a preference. You just put me anywhere you want to put me, figuring they would put me someplace where I knew a little and would study a little. The mistake that I made was I should have told them to put me where I had a course that gave me some training. They put me in the probate section, okay, working for a lawyer whose name I can’t remember. I didn’t find him particularly engaging and I’m sure that he thought that I was a nitwit. I had absolutely no training in probate. To be perfectly candid, I had no interest in it. Granof: It’s not the most exciting field. Zuckerman: I thought it very hard to grasp and the like. It was a miserable summer. With all deference to Foley, Sammond & Lardner, I’ve done a lot of work with them afterwards. I had wonderful relations with Foley. It’s a fine firm, but that summer I was mismatched. If anybody from Foley is ever listening or reading 39 this, please be advised that the fault in all of this is mine, not Foley’s. Granof: Why did you choose to go to Milwaukee? You had been at Wisconsin, I know. Zuckerman: Well, at the time Foley had some cachet and I really had enjoyed my time in Wisconsin and thought that this was a possibility for me. They seemed to be a well-regarded firm, and out of the class the year before they had taken one or two people from Wisconsin who had gone to Harvard who had done extraordinarily well, and I thought it might be a good spot. But it didn’t work. I did get to meet – for which I was grateful – I got to spend a little bit of time with Lynford Lardner. He was a fine man and who was the president of the U.S. Golf Association, I think, at some point in his career. That, I carry with me and that was a nice thing. He was a good person. Granof: One thing that you said I want to ask you about. You had mentioned that Foley was paying the most money – and I have a theory – and I want to get your reaction to it, and that is that in the 60s there were a number of firms across the country that started competing with the Wall Street firms for the same talent. People, particularly from places like Harvard, were saying I don’t need to go to Wall Street. I have a better chance of becoming a partner and maybe even a better lifestyle going to some of these other firms. And that’s when the Wall Street firms really felt that they had to jack up the salary structure. I don’t know – Zuckerman: Could be. Gene, the dominant memory I have of that period is that you could go to Harvard, you could get really good grades, but it was hard as the dickens to get a job. There just wasn’t a huge demand for lawyers – for young lawyers. The Wall Street firms at the time – the giant Wall Street firms – had a hundred lawyers. I don’t know how many Foley had but I remember Louis Auchincloss, a great short story writer and chronicler of the upper class in New York, would write these great short stories about these mythical New York 40 firms. They had a hundred lawyers and they were huge firms. So it was very, very hard to get a job. The irony – one of the interesting ironies – goes something like this. It is said that in this day and age in the early 21st century, the life of a young lawyer is much harder and much more precarious than a couple of generations ago because it’s so much harder to make partner or so much more is demanded of young lawyers. It’s not a profession really to seek out. You’re much better going to business school or becoming an artist. Maybe that’s true, but the fact of the matter is, it’s fifty times easier for a kid from Harvard Law School, with a standing where about I was, to get a job now than it was two generations ago. I think that you can probably say that for a wide swath of bright kids at many, if not most, of the top 25 or 50 law schools in the country. It’s just easier to get your start and your start is more remunerative by far than it was two generations ago. If there is a problem, it’s a problem that comes a bit later in time. But getting off the ground strikes me as being much easier now than it was in my experience when I was in law school. When I graduated, my third year was uneventful. My third year I had decided that I pretty much knew everything about the law that I needed to know. There wasn’t a whole lot that I was going to learn that was going to make me a better lawyer – a completely silly, fatuous view of a naïve young person. But I decided that law school really should only be two years. I had learned the way that lawyers think, knew how to read cases, read law books, and taking these – what I thought were fairly narrow-gauged – courses, like corporations, wasn’t going to get me anything. With one or two minor exceptions, you might say, I opted out of law school my third year. I took the courses, took the tests, but I did not attend many courses. I spent my time hanging with Irene. We had a great year. During the evenings I played cards a lot, played intramural basketball a lot, and had a pretty good life. The one course I took that was interesting to me is I took a national security seminar – which absolutely had nothing to do with the law – taught by Henry Kissinger, then a young government professor at Harvard College, and by Leach of 41 Casner & Leach. Granof: Yes, Leach was my Property teacher. Zuckerman: Whose credential was he was a General in the Air Force Reserves – Granof: A Brigadier General. Zuckerman: Yes, I think that’s what gave him the stature to compete with Henry Kissinger in National Security. It was a great class. We had – either through Leach or through Kissinger – we had Robert McNamara come and speak. I think when – McNamara was mobbed on campus – remember this is the second semester, the spring of ’67. Granof: Yes. Zuckerman: I think it’s when he came up and one of the things he did was talk at this seminar. We had McNamara, we had McGeorge Bundy, we had any number of these personages who became historical figures and were certainly luminaries in connection with this failed undertaking in Vietnam. It was a wonderful course. Granof: I would imagine. Were you taking it after the Tet Offensive? Zuckerman: Don’t remember. But I enjoyed it very much and I thought it was very worthwhile. The other stuff I felt wasn’t going to get me to where I needed to go. For me, the value in law school was a little bit less about the substantive information, but it was more understanding style and process and patterns of thought. In retrospect, I was completely wrong. Granof: Why do you think you were wrong about the substance? Zuckerman: Because I think that there is an enduring value in understanding something, for instance, about labor law and corporations. Even if what you’re being taught is the law as it was forty years ago, it gives you a frame of reference and tells 42 you a little bit about how legal problems are resolved in that frame of reference that probably sticks with you. I was wrong to blow those courses off, and whoever is listening from that period – who may still be around and taught those courses – I apologize. Trust me, I blew them off. I was into national security issues, Irene, gin, and playing ball. I would have been into working out, which became a lifelong pleasure, but we really didn’t have – we had Hemenway as a gym – that was not a fad back in the 60s. You didn’t spend half your week at gyms and you didn’t spend half your week jogging. Granof: One of the things that you have said was it didn’t get you – that is – you didn’t think these courses that you didn’t spend a lot of time with wouldn’t get you to where you wanted to go. Where is it that you wanted to go? Zuckerman: At the time, I absolutely had no idea. It’s a good question, I absolutely had no idea. Granof: But you knew it wasn’t there? Zuckerman: I just didn’t think they were going to make a whole bit difference in my life. I could have been completely wrong. I actually think that that perception was true and I can’t say why. I can’t say why. One of the things that I have never enjoyed doing is teaching. I think I am a good mentor. I think people have learned a great deal from me. I don’t want to be immodest. I think they have. I think it’s pretty much from osmosis and being around me. I think the formal act of going down and teaching trial skills to a class of 23-year-old kids leaves me with the same feeling that I had forty years ago when I was taking some narrow-gauge course at Harvard. And that is the likelihood for most of these people that this course will end up being meaningful to them is the same as the likelihood that a narrow-gauge course in corporations would end up being meaningful to me – it is pretty low. So, what am I doing? Is this really a good use of time? Is this really what I want to do? As opposed to – weird but if you forgive me for digressing a little bit – as 43 opposed to teaching botany, geology, psychology – these sort of introductory courses that deal with the human condition and the environment in which we live – which are subjects that everybody should know about, and if reasonably studied, will add immeasurably to your life. Those are worthwhile things to teach because you can say to yourself as the teacher I’m giving you something that a high percentage of you if you ingested and you carry it with you, it’s going to mean something to you as your life goes on. A lot of the arcane and narrowness of law I think is less easy to have that feeling about. In any event, at the end of this period of my third year in law school, I had a quite acceptable resume, but the legal market was very tight. I had heard that David Bress, who was then the U.S. Attorney – this is the spring of 1967 in D.C. – and was a Harvard graduate, had come to the law school to interview and I had missed his interview. It was a little weird, although I did not know it at the time, because the U.S. Attorney’s Office in any city never hired out of law school. You hired people from clerkships or thereafter. But I wrote him and got an interview; I came down to D.C. and interviewed with him. He ended up hiring two people from our class to be, I guess you would say, “clerks” in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for nine months, and then to be appointed Assistant U.S. Attorneys. I was one of the two people whom he hired. You always keep a list of people in your life to whom you owe something great, and as I go through this interview I will give you my list. David Bress is on my list. I feel very fortunate that, for whatever reason, he selected me as one of the two people whom he hired. Granof: Why do you think he did that? I mean, after all you were a bright guy but you weren’t in a clerkship, you didn’t have any trial experience – Zuckerman: He was determined to hire two people out of Harvard, I guess. I think that he was probably taken with the fact that – I’m completely speculating and it sounds immodest – but there are three things that would have struck me if I were he. One is I am a local kid, Southeast, Silver Spring, I’ve got a lot of roots in the community. The second is I seem, however circuitous it is, I seem 44 at least in my undergraduate life to have done stuff on my feet. I was active in student government and politics and seemed to have some ability or willingness to stand up on my feet and say something. And three, I was a reasonably good student. I came down, I interviewed with him, we got on fairly well, and he hired me and a nice fellow named Reid Chambers, who has gone on to become one of the deans of the Native American Indian law bar, I think, in this country. It is the fall 1967 – Irene and I have just been married in her parents’ backyard in Woodmere, Long Island, taken a very brief honeymoon at Ocean City, which Irene thought not much of and decided we were leaving early. She really thought the place was not up to honeymoon status. Granof: She was right about that. Zuckerman: She was right about that. We came back and lived at a new apartment house that had just opened in 1967, Van Ness North on Veazey Terrace and Connecticut Avenue, which was just a lovely place. She worked at the Washington Hospital Center as an occupational therapist making $6,000 a year; I made $7,200 a year. Granof: That was good money then. Zuckerman: We paid $180 a month in rent for a lovely one bedroom apartment on the 13th floor or something at Van Ness and were just in the high cotton. It was extraordinary. It was a nice time in our lives. I will get to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in our next interview. But I’ll forecast that by telling you that two of my very dear friends who become very prominent lawyers in town and were good friends from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, if not before, were (1) John Aldock, who I actually went to grade school with, who became the managing partner at Shea & Gardner, and then a senior manager at Goodwin Procter, and (2) Bob Watkins, who became a partner at Williams & Connolly. They were our dear friends at the time, and both moved into the Van Ness apartments. It 45 was a very special time. Granof: Before you get to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I should ask you did you look anywhere – did you apply to law firms or the government other than the U.S. Attorney’s Office? Zuckerman: I’m sure I applied. Yes, I did, I know I did, I think. I’m virtually certain I did. I don’t know whether I applied in New York – I applied in D.C. I remember one firm that I applied to for no particular reason whatever. You would go – you may remember this, Gene – you would go and look at these descriptions of law firms that were posted on the board at Harvard and they describe what they paid and who they were. I applied to Surrey, Karasik, Gould & Greene and remember going and interviewing and meeting a very lovely young lawyer, nice guy, named Mike Nussbaum, who became a very prominent lawyer in town, since passed. I did a lot of work with him. His office – Nussbaum, Owen & Webster was his firm – his office was in this building for many years. My impression was that it was a really thin market. A really thin market! You could get a job in the government, but the law firms were relatively small. There were a lot of graduates out there, and they were just not hiring in volume like they are today. Granof: Well, this is a good place to end. Thank you.