Monday, October 30, 2006

I Coulda Been a Professa....*

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Imagine you are the chair of a Faculty Appointments Committee some time back in the mid-1970s, and this is the C.V. that comes across your desk:  Harvard College, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School (winner of the Fay Diploma for graduating first in the class and Articles Editor of the Law Review), clerkships with Irving R. Kaufman on the Second Circuit and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, then two years as Counsel to the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox.  I suppose nowadays you'd want to see an article or two published as well.

This, of course, was the early resume of Peter Kreindler, the current Senior Vice President & General Counsel of Honeywell International, who hired me (a long time ago when Honeywell was AlliedSignal) and was myKreindler boss for five years.  From the Watergate Special Prosecutor's Office, Peter went on to partnerships at Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Arnold & Porter before being hired at AlliedSignal by one of the great and charismatic business leaders of the last thirty years, Larry Bossidy

I thought of Peter when I saw Brian Leiter's note (and Avery Katz's update) on one of every twelve Yale Law School alumni being a law professor.  It made me wonder about all of the alums of the law-professor-producing schools who, like Peter, it seems to me, were probably minimally qualified to be law professors (note the sarcasm, please) but chose other careers.  How many are there?  Of the law review editors/Order of the Coif types at Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Yale, etc., what percentage go on to be law professors?  Of those who do not, are there particular kinds of practice to whom they tend to gravitate?  Do they ever have second thoughts about the road not taken?  Do they stay in touch with issues on the academic side of the profession?  How do they see the subject of curricular reform of the kind discussed over at Money Law?

By the way, were it not for the fact that Peter is a great human being, having him as my direct supervisor for five years would have been (well, actually it was anyway) the most intimidating experience of my life.  I have never met anybody in private practice, corporate life, or the academy, whose CPU ran faster than Peter's.  The sheer speed at which he could deconstruct and reconstruct a problem was staggering.  Peter's law department was also a school of sorts for general counsels:  his former deputies moved on to be the top lawyers at Perkin-Elmer, FMC, American Standard, Medtronic, Visteon, Raytheon and others.

*HT to Marlon Brando and Elia Kazan

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