Stanley Temko was far from alone in decrying how much the legal profession had changed from the time he began his career. But his oral history provides a fascinating insight into how a prominent and experienced attorney such as Temko – who worked as a corporate lawyer at Covington Burling for more than four decades – could simultaneously appreciate the reasons for, and yet bemoan the effects of, such “new” aspects of the practice of law as, for example: the unceasing focus on revenues; the lateral transfer of partners jumping ship to other firms; clients shopping among law firms via “beauty contests”; law firm mergers; and increased lawyer specialization. Not that Temko’s oral history doesn’t also touch on the highlights of his distinguished career, including his
Supreme Court clerkship for Justice Wiley Rutledge, his work on the historic Steel Seizure case, and his involvement in acquiring a rival newspaper on behalf of the Washington Post. Long-time legal reporter Carl Stern provides a summary of Temko’s oral history.