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The Honorable Jeh C. Johnson

Cabinet officer and lawyer Jeh C. Johnson was born on September 11, 1957 in New York City to Norma Edelin and Jeh Vincent Johnson. He graduated from Roy C. Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls, New York in 1975. He then received his B.A. degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1979, and his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in New York City in 1982.

In 1982, Johnson was hired at the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, and later joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 1984 as an associate. From 1989 to 1991, Johnson served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He subsequently became the first African American partner at Paul Weiss. In 1998, Johnson was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force until 2001, when he returned to Paul, Weiss. Johnson was later appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense in 2009. In 2012, Johnson returned to private law practice. The following year, Johnson was nominated by President Obama as Secretary of Homeland Security and served until 2017. He then rejoined the law firm of Paul Weiss as partner.

Johnson has served as chairman of the New York City Bar’s Judiciary Committee and was elected as a fellow by the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2004. He has also served as special counsel to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, on the board of directors for Lockheed Martin, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Center for a New American Security. In 2008, Johnson was a delegate for the Democratic National Convention. He has also served as a non-resident senior fellow for the Harvard Kennedy School of Business and as a trustee for Adelphi University.

In 2017, Johnson was named Cyber Security and Data Privacy Trailblazer by the National Law Journal and was honored with the Anti-Defamation League’s Gorowitz Institute Service Award. He also received the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award, the NYSBA Pioneer Award, John J. McCloy Award, and the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award. In 2018, Johnson was listed among Savoy magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers; and, in 2019, he received Columbia’s University’s Annual Black Alumni Council Heritage Award. He also has ten honorary degrees.

Jeh C. Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.027

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/8/2019

4/8/2019 |and| 9/18/2019

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C

Schools

Columbia Law School

Morehouse College

P.S. 143 Louis Armstrong School

Poughkeepsie Day School

Sheafe Road Elementary School

Oak Grove Elementary School

Wappinger Falls Junior High School

Roy C. Ketcham High School

First Name

Jeh

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

JOH55

Favorite Season

Late October

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tuscany

Favorite Quote

No Man Can Be Justly Judged Unless You Have Seen The World Through His Eyes

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/11/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Veal Saltimbocca

Short Description

Cabinet officer and lawyer Jeh C. Johnson (1957 - ) was the first African American partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP before serving as general counsel of the Department of the Air Force, general counsel for the Department of Defense, and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

Employment

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Defense

Department of the Air Force

Southern District of New York

Sullivan & Cromwell

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Favorite Color

Orange

Kenneth Standard

Lawyer Kenneth G. Standard is a prominent lawyer and diversity activist. As a child, civil rights activism was an important part of his family life; his elder sister worked for the national office of the NAACP, and from a young age he heard about and met NAACP lawyers like Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston. Standard graduated from Harvard University with his A.B. degree, and went on to receive his LL.B. degree from Harvard School of Law in 1962.

In 1967, Standard was hired as an attorney with the Bristol-Myers pharmaceutical company. In 1968, he was promoted to counsel of the products division; by 1970, he had been promoted again to become the division’s vice president. Standard continued his legal education, receiving his LL.M. degree from New York University’s School of Law in 1971. In 1988, he began working at the Consolidated Edison Company (Con Ed) as the assistant general counsel for labor relations. In 1999, Standard joined the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he served as special counsel. From 2004 to 2005, he served as president of the New York State Bar Association, and focused on increasing diversity within the legal field. In 2004, Standard joined the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green as a member in its National Labor & Employment Practice. During this time, he also developed and chaired the firm’s nationwide diversity committee.

In 2006, the New York State Bar Association created the Kenneth G. Standard Internship program in his honor, which is specifically designed to support law students from a diverse range of backgrounds. In 2011, Standard received the American Bar Association’s Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pipeline Diversity; and, in 2013, he was elected fellow by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Standard and his late wife, Valerie Ann Salmon, have a daughter, Alison, and two sons, Devin and Trevor.

Kenneth Standard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 14, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.003

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/14/2014

Last Name

Standard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 47

P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey Elementary School

P.S. 45 Horace E Greene School

Boys High School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

New York University School of Law

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

STA10

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/4/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Lawyer Kenneth Standard (1936 - ) has been an employment and labor lawyer for over forty years, and served as president of the New York State Bar Association.

Employment

United States Securities & Exchange Commision

New York State

New York Telephone Company

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

New York City Board of Education

ConEdison

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Epstein Becker & Green

Favorite Color

None

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Standard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard talks about his father's service in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about his Bajan heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks briefly about the migration of his paternal aunts from Barbados to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes his older siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard describes his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard describes his childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard recalls his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Kenneth Standard recalls an experience from his elementary school years

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Kenneth Standard talks about the onset of the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Kenneth Standard describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Kenneth Standard remembers his eldest sister, Muriel

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about moving to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about the academic influence of his elder sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes spending time with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his family's Christmas holiday celebration

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard remembers his elder sister, Phyllis Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience as an Eagle Scout and lifeguard

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard lists his favorite school subjects

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard talks about being awarded his Eagle Scout badge as an adult

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard talks about his family's eviction in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience at P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey elementary school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard describes Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard talks about applying to the Naval ROTC program and explains how he financed his college education

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard describes the student body demographic at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1954

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes his suitemates in his freshman dormitory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard remembers his first weeks as an undergraduate student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his freshman academic year at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard explains how he financed his undergraduate and law school education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard describes his personal development during his undergraduate years at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks briefly about playing squash with the Harvard Club of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his introduction and marriage to his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard remembers his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard explains how he avoided the draft

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the class size, faculty and curriculum at Harvard Law School in 1958

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard talks about the black student population at Harvard Law School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard talks about the absence of discriminatory attitudes from Harvard Law faculty

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard describes the academic environment at Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Kenneth Standard describes the black student population at Harvard Law School, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes his jobs between semesters at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard explains the transition from the LL.B. to the J.D. degree within the legal profession

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard talks about the birth of his daughter in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes studying for the bar exam

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an enforcement attorney in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure in the New York State Moreland Act Commission legal department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard explains how he became a trial attorney for the New York Telephone Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience as a trial attorney for the New York Telephone Company, and his introduction to judge George Bundy Smith

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes his final case with the New York Telephone Company in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the legal department at the New York Telephone Company, and joining Bristol-Myers as an assistant staff attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon his career prior to joining Bristol-Myers

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes the size and structure of the legal department at Bristol-Myers

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about the involvement of his children at the Bristol-Myers company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Bristol-Myers, and his contribution to the organization of the Monarch Crown Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes the Monarch Crown Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard describes employee demographics at the Monarch Crown Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about his promotion to division counsel and division vice president at Bristol-Myers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes the nurturing environment at the Bristol-Myers, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes the nurturing environment at Bristol-Myers, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes his proudest accomplishments as an employee at the Bristol-Myers Company

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard talks about a management overhaul and company reorganization at the Bristol-Myers Company

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about his termination from the Bristol-Myers Company in 1984

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the New York City Board of Education as its director of legal services in 1985

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at the New York City Board of Education

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Con Edison

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about resolving an employment discrimination lawsuit filed against Con Edison

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm in 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his volunteer work with BEEP, the Black Executive Exchange Program

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard talks about his involvement with the Harvard Club of New York

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes working at the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion plans, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard explains how the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion of 2003 was financed

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard describes the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion plans, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard talks about settling a lawsuit in opposition of the 2003 Harvard clubhouse expansion

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about the additions to the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse and its membership procedures

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about being elected president of the New York State Bar Association

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard talks about black members of the New York State Bar Association and its first black president, Archibald R. Murray

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure as president of the New York State Bar Association

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard remembers an instance of racial profiling against hiim

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about custodial interrogation and the death of Danroy Henry

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green in 2004

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his role as general counsel at Epstein, Becker & Green

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard considers retirement

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard considers his influence on his children and grandchildren

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon the role his high-quality elementary education played in his success

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard remembers instances of discrimination in elementary school

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American demographic

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard talks about contemporary American social justice efforts

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard critiques the high cost of legal education and suggests reforms to resolve the unmet legal needs of the public

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard considers the factors that contributed to his success

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Kenneth Standard explains how the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion of 2003 was financed
Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Bristol-Myers, and his contribution to the organization of the Monarch Crown Corporation
Transcript
I discovered that we had a painting in the clubhouse [Harvard Club of New York, New York, New York] that was worth in the--in the seven figures. We, we got a--we had talked to some agents, art agents about the possibility of selling it. We found that, that they would sell it for us and then their commission would be--it was 10 or 15 percent; I, I can't recall. Then we--and this is all within the first six months of my taking office. We had retained a lawyer who specialized in representing people who have valuable works of art, and he said that he had been contacted by a gallery that had a client who might want to buy the painting, which was called The Chess Game by [John Singer] Sargent, and that the person wanted to see the painting.$$By John Singer Sargent?$$Yes, wanted to see the painting in his home to see how it went with the decor. So we worked out an agreement for him to get the painting on approval. We didn't know who it was; it was an anonymous person, and the painting was shipped out. A day or two after the painting was shipped out, we started getting calls from some members who said I've seen your painting in the Bellagio in Las Vegas [Nevada]. Why is The Chess Game hanging in the Bellagio in Las Vegas? So we didn't respond right away, but we made inquiries; we had our lawyer make inquiries. And it turned out that the person was Steve Wynn, but he didn't want to see it in his home, he wanted to display it in the Bellagio, which was contrary to the agreement that he had signed with us or that had been signed with us on his behalf because he was on disclose. So we directed them to send it back immediately, so the painting was sent back immediately. But this turned out to be a happy aberrational act because our lawyer then said to us, you know, this reminds me that I have a client I think who might be interested and can afford to buy this painting. Let me approach him and see if he is interested. And this client has a foundation, so he did approach the client, the client was interested. The client agreed to buy the painting, $13,500,000 dollars, no 10 percent commission, so we netted $13,500,000 on this painting, which had been given to us about forty or fifty years earlier. It was hanging in our stairway in the front entrance, very accessible to a thief or thieves, no great security. We had a lot of insurance; we were paying about fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year in insurance on it, but it was underappreciated. So I said to the board, I think we need to sell it. I got them to agree, so we sold it, $13,500,000 less $20,000 dollars in legal fees for everything the lawyer had done for us. And so that gave us about 40 percent of the cost of the expansions, which meant that the mortgage could be much smaller. Through prudent management, we also had built up reserve funds, so we had a couple million dollars in cash available to us, so I said, well, let's go ahead and explore with architects the expansion, so we did that.$I would say within six, probably six months of my arrival [at Bristol-Myers, later, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York, New York]--$$And you joined in nineteen sixty--$$I--August of '67 [1967].$$Seven, okay.$$Yeah. Yes, and it was a far more generous company than New York Telephone Company [later, Verizon Communications, New York, New York]. They--Bristol-Myers paid much, much better, and keep--there were a lot of other fringe benefits that were not available at the Telephone Company, available at Bristol. So I joined--they also had a policy that all the new lawyers would be sent to law school to learn the kinds of--to deal with the kinds of issues that the company was facing. So I enrolled at NYU [New York University, New York, New York] at the firm's expense. I went down a couple nights a week and I took food, drug, and cosmetic law. I think that was probably the first course I, I took there, and, and I took a number of other courses over the years. And I, like some of the--my predecessors, elected to stay long enough to get an LL.M. [Master of Laws], so that's how I happened to get an LL--LL.M. degree in trade regulation. And so I was preparing myself to do the work as, as I went along and the company was very supportive. We had a change relatively quickly. The man who had been counsel for the division as well as for another division lost the Bristol-Myers Products division and was counsel for just one division, and the lawyer who had been in between me and him was promoted to be counsel of the division, so there was just the two of us then doing that work. Around the same time, I was also asked to help set up a new [U.S.] Military sales organization of all of the products, not simply Bristol-Myers but the Clairol products and Drackett products to Military installations. And a man who had been vice president of sales for products division by the name of [F.] Harry Fletcher, he was the man who was then made the president of this new division, which was called--or a subsidiary--Monarch Crown Corporation, so I helped him to organize that division. He became a lifelong friend of me and his family and my family also became lifelong friends.$$So let me understand something, so you come in 1967. What division are you assigned--I mean you said that--$$I'm--I worked for Bristol-Myers company--$$Right.$$--I'm on the Bristol-Myers company payroll, but I'm assigned to the Bristol-Myers Products division as their lawyer.$$Okay, so you stayed with it, so--$$I stayed with that division during my entire career.$$Okay. And then so, Mr. Flet--you said--$$Fletcher.$$Fletcher.$$Fletcher had been a vice president of sales of Bristol-Myers Products and because of political issues and so on, he lost that position, and then he was given the opportunity to create this new business, which he did very successfully called Monarch Crown Corporation.$$Okay.

The Honorable Jock Smith

Attorney, law professor, municipal court judge, and trial lawyer Jock Michael Smith was born on June 10, 1948, in New York City to Betty Lou Nance Bowers and Jacob Smith. Despite the untimely death of his father in 1956, Smith still excelled academically, receiving his B.S. degree from Tuskegee University in 1970 and his J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame’s Law School on May 20, 1973.

After receiving his law degree, Smith then became a legal advisor to the NAACP’s Civil Rights Project in Broome County, New York. A year later, Smith moved to Alabama, and in 1977, he became the assistant attorney general for Montgomery, Alabama. That same year, Smith opened his own law firm in Tuskegee, Alabama where he represented plaintiffs and defendants in both criminal and civil suits until 1998. In 1987, Smith became a city municipal judge in Camp Hill, Alabama, and spent two years on the bench. In 1990, he became County Attorney in Macon County, Alabama. He represented the county in all legal matters for fifteen years. In 1993, Smith worked as an administrative law judge for Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management. The following year, he founded Scoring For Life, Inc., a non-profit organization that encourages teens, children and adults with motivational messages. In 1997, Smith became a principal stockholder and sports agent for Cochran Sports Management while working alongside Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. A year later, Smith joined Cochran at the firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C. in Tuskegee, Alabama as a senior partner. In 1999, he also became a play-by-play announcer for Tuskegee University's Tiger Football and the Tuskegee Community Network. In addition to his legal career, Smith also taught at State University of New York at Binghamton and Tuskegee Institute.

Smith has received numerous awards, including honorary doctorates of Divinity Degrees from the Pentecostal Bible College, Tuskegee, Alabama and the Montgomery Bible Institute and Theological Center, Montgomery, Alabama, and keys to the cities of New Orleans, Louisiana, Memphis, Tennessee and Flint, Michigan. He has been recognized by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association for tireless dedication and unwavering commitment, inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and received the Inaugural Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Journey to Justice Award in 2005 at the National Bar Association Convention. "The Martindale-Hubbell" legal publication has given Smith its highest rating, the AV Rating, and "Lawdragon" Legal Magazine in Los Angeles, California selected him as one of America’s Top 500 Trial Litigators in 2006 and 2007. Smith was inducted onto the President’s Advisory Council of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), making him the first African American to serve on that board. In 2002, he published his autobiography entitled, "Climbing Jacob’s ladder: a Trial Lawyer’s Journey in Behalf of the ‘Least of These’."

Jock Smith passed away on January 8, 2012.

Jock Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.245

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/5/2007

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Michael

Schools

Andrew Jackson High School

P.S. 15 Jackie Robinson School

I.S. 59 Springfield Gardens

Tuskegee University

Norte Dame Law School

First Name

Jock

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SMI20

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Sylvia Dale Cochran

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York, Las Vegas

Favorite Quote

Civility Is Never A Sign Of Weakness And Sincerity Is Always Subject To Scrutiny.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

6/10/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tuskegee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab Legs

Death Date

1/8/2012

Short Description

Law professor, attorney, and municipal court judge The Honorable Jock Smith (1948 - 2012 ) was senior partner at Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C. in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was a former judge for the State of Alabama and wrote his autobiography entitled "Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: a Trial Lawyer’s Journey in Behalf of the ‘Least of These’."

Employment

United States Customs Court

Police Youth Involvement Program

Urban League of South Bend and St. Joseph County

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Civil Rights Project

State University of New York at Binghamton

Tuskegee University

State of Alabama

Camphill Communities of North America

Law offices of Jock M. Smith

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Macon County

Scoring for Life, Inc.

National Law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C.

Tuskegee Community Network

Cochran Sports Management

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Jock Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes lessons from his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his mother's personality and his likeness to her

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his paternal uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father's U.S. military service

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith explains the origin of his name

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father as a young man

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father's life in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his neighbors on Nashville Boulevard in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers P.S. 15 in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes the demographics of his schools in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers J.H.S. 59, Springfield Gardens School in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his experiences at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his decision to attend the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his experiences at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes what he learned at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his classmates at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about Tuskegee Institute President Luther Foster, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his medical exemption from the draft

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his academic success at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his extracurricular activities at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Gwendolyn Patton

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls how he paid for his undergraduate tuition

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers working for Judge James Watson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his experiences of discrimination at the University of Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his graduation from the University of Notre Dame Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his experiences of racism

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls working for the Urban League of South Bend and St. Joseph County

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls working for the NAACP in Binghamton, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers teaching law at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls joining the State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his judgeships

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers the case of the State of Alabama v. Donell Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his historic victory in an insurance fraud case, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his historic victory in an insurance fraud case, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls protecting a client from wrongful eviction

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his motivation as a lawyer

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his recommitment to Christianity

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers joining the Christian Life Church in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers meeting Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers meeting Keith Givens and Sam Cherry

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers establishing the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls the case of Tolbert v. Monsanto Company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Robert Jeter et al. v. Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Robert Jeter et al. v. Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers representing Carolyn Whittaker

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith reflects upon his awards and influences

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers meeting his second wife

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his wife, Yvette Smiley-Smith

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his daughter, Janay Smith

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about Cochran Sports Management, LLC

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his collection of historical artifacts

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about the significance of sports history

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about writing his autobiography

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith shares a message to future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his historic victory in an insurance fraud case, pt. 2
The Honorable Jock Smith remembers establishing the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith
Transcript
And the thing is in closing argument to the jury I remember telling the jury this, "You know normally ladies and gentlemen look at all these lawyers they have over there against me and my client and I would be dwarfed by their presence," I said, "but I'm a Bible toting Christian and I brought my sling shot to court with me, ladies and gentlemen. You know my Bible tells me ladies and gentlemen that Jesus spoke in John 10:10 and told us that the thief would come in the night to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come to give you life and to give you joy abundantly. That must mean that there, that, that, that somewhere there's a robber and a thief somewhere in this courtroom ladies and gentlemen and there they sit." The jury returned a verdict in twenty minutes of $5 million. It was the largest verdict, one of the largest verdicts in the history of the state at the time and the largest verdict an African American lawyer had ever gotten in Alabama. And I rode that verdict for many years. I also remember telling the jury, "Ladies and gentlemen Miller Ephraim has died, but fortunately we were able to read his deposition to you. You know when Knute Rockne went to see George Gipp one day in his hospital room and he was dying, he told him, 'One day when you really need to win a game tell him to win one for me.' Notre Dame [Notre Dame Fighting Irish] was playing in a national championship game against Army [Army West Point Black Knights] and they were behind twelve to nothing at halftime as the story is told. Knute Rockne went into that locker room and told the Fighting Irish what he had to tell them about the story of George Gipp that day and he said, 'Win one for the Gipper.' Ladies and gentlemen, Miller Ephraim is looking down on these proceedings today. He sits with Jesus along the right hand of the Father and expects you to bring him good news based on your verdict; win one for the Miller now." And the jury did. And I sat there for about five or ten minutes after the court was over. A gentleman who was an elected official came to me and said, "Jock [HistoryMaker Jock Smith] do you realize you won the biggest case a black lawyer has ever won in Alabama, but you're sitting there, you haven't moved since the verdict. You should be jumping up and down and be excited." I saw my whole life flash in front of me. I saw my father's [Jacob Smith] death. I heard the edict, "You'll be a good garbage worker." I remember, "You have a gift to speak." All this stuff flashed in front of me and I thanked the Lord for blessing me that day on December 15th, 1988, about four o'clock in the afternoon when the jury not only said $5 million, but said something more important: well done my good and faithful servant. That was the day I knew I had beaten everything that Mr. Stein [ph.] had told my mother [Betty Lou Bowers Nance]. There was no doubt in my mind that was it when the jury, when that foreman of that jury stood up and said $5 million I knew then that I had accomplished something significant. And those were the two cases I most remember before my partnership with Johnnie Cochran. There were some others that I won and settled and made money and it was not making money, it's more to life than that I could tell you about, but it's not gonna tell you about that 'cause that's really not what HistoryMakers [The HistoryMakers] is really about. It's not about money in your pocket, it's about people that you've helped. I've given you some indication.$We started in Columbus, Georgia, because there was a gentleman there named Joe Wiley [Joseph Wiley] that had a preacher, a black preacher who, who was recommending to Givens [Keith Givens]. Though that office only stayed open a year, it didn't live out the true creed of its meaning as the Declaration of Independence says. It still became a cornerstone of the beginnings of Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith [Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith; The Cochran Firm]. We then merged my Tuskegee [Alabama] office, the Dothan [Alabama] office of Cherry and Givens and the Los Angeles [California] office of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. [Johnnie Cochran]. His three other offices in the firm probably six months after the origins of July of '98 [1998], so by January of '99 [1999] we were probably sitting with, we were sitting with four offices, Columbus, Georgia; Tuskegee, Alabama; Dothan Alabama; Los Angeles, California. Johnnie had continued his relationship with Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, the DNA experts, after the O.J. trial [People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson, 1995] and had some kind of arrangement with them in New York [New York]. Six months later after the, so this would have been about a year later, after July of '98 [1998], Johnnie turned over that office to us, so then we had New York as well. He began to trust us, began to entrust more to us based on our earned respect and comradeship together. Cherry [Sam Cherry] and Givens are two white men, so I was the only black, only African American partner in this venture. We began to speak with people in larger cities that we had identified. We kind of redlined the United States, in so called Cochran friendly cities. We had, and the list probably had fifteen, twenty cities on there. We categorized them by priority. Near the top of the list was Atlanta [Georgia]. Chicago [Illinois] was near the top of the list. The District of Columbia [Washington, D.C.] was near the top, and there were some others, I think Memphis [Tennessee] and New Orleans [Louisiana] may have been near the top, Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], some others. And what we began to do was go into these cities and interview these perspective lawyers that we identified based on references that would be good for us and for our operations, to run our operations in these cities. These are lawyers who already had existing firms that were already successful. We didn't take any neophytes on; we took existing lawyers. In, in Atlanta, we selected this Hezekiah Sistrunk [Hezekiah Sistrunk, Jr.] who you know, and in Chicago we selected Jim Montgomery [HistoryMaker James D. Montgomery] who you also know. So, other cities we selected other people. We began to put these offices together. Now I was one of the people that would go and interview these people and I would help make the selections. Like if it got down to a taffy pool I'd go in and say, "You know Johnnie I think we need to go with Jim Montgomery in Chicago. We, we don't, don't need to go with Corboy and Demetrio." Somebody try to say "Ca- ." I said, "No, no, no, no this is an African American firm, no we need to go with Jim Montgomery," and I had to fight for that. I had to fight some of my partners--I won't name them, but I had to fight them 'cause of Jim's age is another thing. They said, "He's too old." "No, no, no, no, no, no this man will be good." Turned out to be right. Same thing in Atlanta, Hezekiah Sistrunk was my choice there. There was another man who was being considered. I said, "No, no we don't need that man. His personal conduct is very questionable. I've seen some things. We don't want this in the firm. Hezekiah Sistrunk." So, we put, we handpicked these people and, and we made some mistakes like any other firm, but we made a lot better choices than we made poor choices and that has sustained the firm and the firm grew to seventeen offices before Johnnie's death. We had opened in New Orleans and St. Louis [Missouri] were the last two offices we opened before Johnnie expired this earth with the Lord--went on to be with the Lord. We had opened D.C. We'd opened Memphis. We'd opened Las Vegas [Nevada]. We, of course as I mentioned already Chicago, Atlanta, and there were others. Los Angeles and New York were already up and running, so we had most of the major cities. We still didn't have Philadelphia. In fact, I would say the only major cities we didn't have at Johnnie's death probably, that I call major African American cities would be probably Philadelphia and Chica- not Chicago, Detroit [Michigan]. We've since opened up in those cities, but we had not at the time of Johnnie's--at the time Johnnie was living.