Friday, October 23, 2009
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
I'm attending my 30 year law school reunion (Stanford, '79) and coping. Several of us were standing in the courtyard of the law school, noting that it was pretty easy to spot our classmates: there is just a certain look to the mid-fifties; not quite doddering, but clearly having been around the bases several times. In 1998, when I was a mere child of 43 or 44, one of my then-law partners, who was 58, and a former Division I varsity baseball player, told me that the most significant change (read: decline) was in the ten years between 45 and 55. Sorry, guys, but I haven't yet met the Dorian Gray of our law school class. Everybody shows some ravage of age, whether it's thickness, lines, exposed pate. I didn't remember thinking that even five years ago. That's not that people don't look good: they look good for 55. But that ain't 25, and it ain't even 45.
Other notes. Stanford Law School, despite the budget issues facing everybody, is building a new building, very similar in purpose, I think, to the edifice I see most days down on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge. The complaint is lack of space, and I wondered about that, because neither the faculty nor the student body is significantly larger than when I was in school. It only took about five minutes of walking the halls to see why there is a problem. Thirty years ago, there were very few "centers" or "programs." Now the entire basement hallway that housed the law review (I think that's where it was - I didn't get there much) is taken up by the Center for Law and the Internet. The space that used to house the alumni relations people is taken up by the public interest law center.
Part of the building campaign is a completed law/graduate residence complex, funded by a $35 million gift from Charles Munger, of Berkshire Hathaway and Munger, Tolles fame. Lunch today was a dedication of the William Rehnquist Courtyard (in honor of a noted alum), in which his mentee and successor, John Roberts, spoke briefly and eloquently. Plus there was a swarm of what were either Secret Service agents or agents from The Matrix - complete with dark suits, ear pieces, and sunglasses. (You can see from the picture, snapped with my iPhone, that I was not sitting in the VIP section.)
Finally, not many people who are here are doing the same thing they did upon graduating. I don't know if that's a change from prior classes or not.